Flood Waters Return to the Okavango Delta
April 2020 – It is a truly wondrous thing that the cycle of nature continues regardless, despite what may be happening in the world. After a challenging, but not necessarily unusually dry year in the Okavango Delta, the annual inundation has finally arrived. Bringing life back into the system, water levels are rising on Wilderness Safaris’ Abu, Jao, Mombo and Vumbura concessions. Over the past weeks water has been flowing in to fill up dry river beds and replenish floodplains – with water reaching the riverine forest edges.
“The process started seven months ago in September 2019 with the start of the rainy season in the highlands of Angola, from where the Okavango Delta sources its life-giving waters. Satellite rainfall data for the catchment shows that average to above average rainfall has fallen in the highlands over this season. The Cuito and Cubango rivers, the two main tributaries feeding the Kavango River, transfer rain water first through peat wetlands and source lakes and then through narrow steams, and rivers, until it arrives in Namibia and Botswana several months later”, comments Rob Taylor, Wilderness Safaris Conservation Ecologist in Botswana.
In addition to supporting the myriad wildlife and specialist species that exist within the protected wildlife areas of the Delta, this miracle of nature is also crucial to the survival of the people of Botswana. As Rob adds, “Community-owned livestock can drink, ground water is replenished, refilling water wells, and water is made available to subsistence and small commercial agriculture on the outskirts of the World heritage Site and close to the villages that surround the Okavango Delta. With the arrival of the floods, the fish start to breed in the warm, shallow waters where access to nutrients allows life to flourish”. While it is a spectacle that some guests will miss witnessing in person this year, Wilderness Safaris will continue to document and share the highlights of this year’s flood via their online platforms. When travel restrictions are finally lifted, a revitalised and rejuvenated wilderness experience will be ready and waiting for our guests.
10 Life-Changing Wilderness Safaris Adventures
Adventure is in all the things that you do which require no coaxing to engage in. They are the journeys you can barely wait to start, yet they are also the ones where you are never really sure of their outcome. Uncertainty is the signature of an adventure.
Travelling on an African safari is full of adventure – just being in a wilderness area is an adventure in itself. There are all kinds of thrilling ways to explore the bush – think hot air balloon rides, water activities, walking safaris and more… These are just a few of the activities offered in our Wilderness Safaris camps – ways for you to get up close to and truly immerse yourself in the feeling of Africa’s wild areas.
Hot Air Ballooning – the Ride of a Lifetime
Busanga Sunrise Ballooning
Gaze upon hundreds of wildebeest as they canter across vast open plains or watch pods of hippo, grunting and snorting in the waters below… This wildlife-rich experience offers you a bird’s-eye view over untouched wilderness at our camps in the Kafue’s Busanga Plains in Zambia. Your thrilling adventure ends with a champagne breakfast, surrounded by 360-degree views of pristine grassland, dotted with large herds of puku and lechwe.
Soar Above the Oldest Desert on Earth
At Little Kulala and Kulala Desert Lodge, our two camps situated in the dramatic Kulala Wilderness Reserve, guests can enjoy a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the ancient dunes of Sossusvlei. If you’re lucky, you may even catch sight of an oryx walking along the dunes. Have your camera ready as you’ll be spoilt for incredible scenery…
Float Above the Okavango Delta
Take to the skies in style and soar effortlessly over the rich ecosystem of the Okavango Delta. Hot air balloon rides can be arranged for guests staying at Vumbura Plains and Little Vumbura – an opportunity to scan the serpentine channels of the Delta –looking carefully for wildlife both on land and in the water.
Walking Safaris – Get up Close to Nature
Our camps in Botswana and Zimbabwe offer guided walks in the company of an armed guide – an opportunity to stretch your legs and fully appreciate the many creatures of the bush, from the hard-working dung beetle to majestic trees, the spoor of animals and the scents of plants. Take your time to admire the smaller, and often less observed, animals – while your guide relates fascinating facts that will broaden your understanding of Africa’s wild areas.
Meet a Relative in Rwanda
The opportunity to spend time with a group of mountain gorillas is worth every effort to experience this life-changing safari. Bisate Lodge, adjacent to Volcanoes National Park, is within easy driving distance of the Park Headquarters, from where gorilla treks depart daily. Mountain gorillas are social and gregarious, intelligent and curious. Their similarity to humans often means that encountering them can be a profoundly moving experience.
Sleep Under African Stars
At a selection of our camps in Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe you can choose to sleep out – whether on the rooftop of your room, or at one of our Star Beds. Listen to the many sounds of the night, a jackal’s cry in the distance or the gentle rumbling of elephants. Be soothed to sleep by the sounds you hear, before waking to see what wildlife may be visiting nearby. Read more.
Take to the Water
A large number of our camps, particularly in Botswana, offer water-based adventures – from traditional mokoro rides (a dug-out canoe) along the crystal-clear waters of the Okavango to boat rides where you can also enjoy catch-and-release fishing. At King’s Pool you can opt for a ride on the Queen Silvia barge – a relaxing way to end the day. Watch the flurry of wildlife activity unfold around you – from water birds to the antics of hippo, and ponderous elephant coming to drink.
Hide Out in the Wild
There’s something incredibly thrilling about being hidden out of sight while animals like elephant go about their day, splashing in the waters and drinking, completely oblivious to your presence. Our hides are the ideal place to set up for an afternoon, a secret spot to watch the comings and goings of wildlife. Have your bird books, camera and binoculars ready…
Explore the Bush on a Game Drive
Game drives in the bush open up a whole new world of adventure. Our expert guides have years of experience and look forward to sharing their knowledge and passion with you. No one sighting is ever guaranteed and that’s what makes a game drive so exciting, you never know what you’ll see next. Enjoy looking out for tracks and listening for alarm calls that may alert you to a nearby predator – there’s so much to see, and being the first to spot something brings a whole new level of satisfaction to your day!
Storytelling around the Campfire
Settle in for the night around a crackling campfire under open skies. For many safari goers, this is often the best time of day, a chance to reflect through shared stories on the highlights of your day. Enjoy chatting to our guides and learning more about our different cultures and countries. This is also a great time to do some stargazing before enjoying dinner in the open-air boma, where the music, dancing and storytelling continues. Dinners are also served in the camp dining area or in the privacy of your room.
Travelling on safari is not only about the places you visit. Meeting interesting people from backgrounds very different to your own makes this an even greater adventure. Learn about fascinating tribes such as the Himba, a nomadic people, whom you can meet at Serra Cafema in Namibia. At Kalahari Plains Camp, the resident San Bushman family love to share their wisdom. Take part in a morning or afternoon activity with them to learn more about their ancient culture. Wherever you go, whether it’s to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia or Namibia, you will encounter many different people, all with fascinating stories to share – people who are just as eagerly looking forward to meeting you and hearing your story too.
Contribute to Conservation
When you journey with us, you are helping make a difference – to Africa, its people and its wildlife. A portion of every bednight booked is dedicated to conservation. A percentage goes to the Wilderness Wildlife Trust, our non-profit entity that supports a wide variety of projects throughout Africa: from research and conservation to wildlife management and educational bursaries. We invite you to join us on a journey that truly makes a difference. Staying at our camps also offers you the chance to partake in conservation-related activities whether tracking desert-adapted rhino in Namibia or planting trees for Bisate Lodge’s Reforestation Project… Learn more about Botswana’s rhino population at Mombo or meet the young learners of Children in the Wilderness in Zimbabwe. Our journeys really do change lives.
Written by Kate MacWilliam