Observing Okavango Delta from the Air

A Bird’s Eye View of the Okavango Delta‎ in Botswana

A Different Perspective

Date: July 27, 2016 After our relaxing Okavango Delta Tour on the water in a Mokoro Boat the previous day, we wanted to have a different view this time. From a cessna. That was the only thing we planned to do that day, so it was a very relaxing morning. We ate breakfast as if we all the time in the world. The meals where we stayed, Thamalakane Lodge, were extremely yummy too!

Speedy Tanya

With the world’s best driver and caretaker, Tanya, we rode to the airport in Maun, officially called ‘Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana’. The drive took about 20 minutes. We had an appointment and arrived about 15 minutes early.

Well, silly me forgot my passport and I couldn’t board the plane. I have the mindset that all important documents should be kept safe in my room, not on my person. The hotel staff booked this months before our trip, but just forgot to tell me once we arrived…

BUT, do not fear, Tanya is here! He couldn’t have sprung up more quickly to cater to our needs. He took me back to the lodge to get it and would you believe we arrived back to the airport right on time? I, to this day, do not know how we managed to do it, but I believe Tanya carries fairy dust with him!

Up, Up, Up in the Air

We all piled into this teeny tiny Cessna to enjoy an hour’s ride. I got in the back so that I could take pictures. Smart idea, I thought at the time. We lifted off and got a good glimpse of the airport before heading over the Okavango Delta.

Elephants, Giraffes, Antelopes, oh my!

So that I could get as many good shots as I could, my husband, who was up in front next to the pilot, yelled out what he saw. Unfortunately, he did the shortly after HE passed them, so that by the time I was able to focus on the animal/s, it was too late. In fact, I didn’t see any animal for most of the trip.

My daughter then chimed in to help me out a little more, so for about 10 minutes, both were shouting out NOT in unison: ‘Elephants to the right’, ‘Antelope to the left’, ‘Giraffes straight ahead’!!! ACK!

Mind you, I had this HUGE objective attached to my Nikon, which was a bit of a handicap. I had to use a monopod because I can’t carry that monster without one and since I was in the back, I didn’t have room to fully zoom in and kept hitting some part of the plane. I also could not move quickly.

Regardless, with me being challenged like this, I still managed to get a few shots. Unfortunately most of them are without animals.

Approximately 70% of the islands in the Okavango Delta started out as termite mounds

Approximately 70% of the islands in the Okavango Delta started out as termite mounds

Enjoy the Ride

After about 45 minutes, I had to stop and put the camera down. I was getting very dizzy and even feeling a bit nauseous. It must have been the turbulence of the small plane and the camera craziness, I guess… I then just observed and listened to the pilot who told us about life in Botswana as an expat from England.

About the Okavango Delta: An Oasis in the Desert

One thing I clearly remember is being in awe about the beauty and vast open space. We didn’t see the end of it, but no wonder, the Okavango Delta is the world’s largest inland delta and covers an area of more than 15,000 km2 and get this, it is visible from space! Check out the image taken from the ISS (International Space Station) in 2014 here.

The Okavango Delta is formed by a river that flows into the desert but dies in the sands. Before it it gets engulfed by the sand, it forms a great inland wetland, making it one of Africa’s greatest wilderness areas, rich with flora and fauna.

Back on the Ground

I was a bit happy once we landed because my stomach was just not happy with me for about an entire hour. But, I was ok. We did a little shopping at a few craft stores across the street where I got a rhino figurine and 2 soapstone bowls. I did learn my lesson though and took a vow to leave high altitude photography work to the professionals at National Geographic!

[quote align=”center”]Word to the wise: When you get that bird’s eye view from a Cessna, just observe and let someone else take pictures.[/quote]

Seeing Things from all Different Angles

My take on day 8 of our tour: Experiencing the Okavango Delta from the water and in the air is a must-do activity. Even with the little queasiness, it was well worth the trip!

Keep an eye out on our next adventure: The Chobe River!

Follow the shenanigans of three generations going on a safari and connect with us on our social channels! I’ve hashtagged my posts: #jessicainafrica

Facebook | Twitter | G+ | Instagram | YouTube | LinkedIn

Happy traveling,

Wanna go on an Okavango Delta Tour?

Yes, Let’s Go!