The Okavango Delta
Tumbling out of the Angolan highlands two rivers converge to form the Okavango river, which spills itself onto the great sea of sand that is Botswana’s Kalahari Desert. An average of 10 million cubic metres of water annually floods 15,000 sq km of Kalahari, forming the world-famous Okavango Delta, largest inland delta in the world. The contrast of desert and wetland is what makes the Okavango unique, and fosters the bewildering variety of life that it supports. Dry land and wetland species cohabit, creating unique and startling associations of plants, amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles. Our premise is that the Okavango was, in its prehistoric form, pristine, and that every intervention comes at a cost to that pristine natural and cultural environment. We strive to ensure that our every action has a mitigating factor and a concomitant benefit, with each ‘pro’ weighed carefully against its ‘con’, whilst recognizing the need to offer our guests the highest standards of comfort consistent with the environment we are in.
Overlooking the confluence of the Boro and Metsematsweu channels of the Okavango, Delta Camp’s lounge and dining area is well elevated to command the spectacular vista of swamp and riverine forest that lies before it. A variety of game can usually be seen from the deck, with elephant frequent visitors, and cavorting hippo and basking crocodile common sights. Lion, leopard and Cape Hunting Dogs have all been observed from the deck. Three excellent meals per day ensure that our guests are well prepared for their walks; tea and coffee are available at all times, and the open bar is always open.
Delta Camp’s is located on a small island in the heart of the Okavango Delta and the lodge is accessed by light aircraft from Maun, Botswana. The camp's chalets are designed and built to take advantage of the many indigenous, old-growth trees of the island forest. Our buildings cannot improve upon the natural landscape; they must therefore blend into it as unobtrusively as possible. This sometimes means that a tree grows through a roof or a floor, it always means that you will find no glass in our windows, and it very often means that the building itself is elevated onto a deck, to minimize our disturbance of the earth and vegetation below. We import the bare minimum – locally grown reed and grass are our principal means of construction where feasible. Where it is not we use easily removable canvas. Our furniture is locally made from, wherever possible, locally grown material. We support local artists and artisans. Each chalet is en suite with hot and cold running water, a shower with a view, a variety of beds and areas in which to relax, mosquito netting and solar-powered electric lighting. The chalets are situated around the property to take advantage of the views of the surrounding bush and flood-plains.
Delta Camp offers twice daily walking safaris and mokoro (dug-out canoe) excursions in the Moremi Game Reserve. While visiting you will have your own private guide who will be caring just for you and will be listening to your needs as well as those of the surrounding bush. Whilst at Delta Camp you will have an intimate experience walking in the dynamic eco-systems of the Okavango Delta. While traveling on foot with your private professional guide, you will learn about tracking animals, how they behave and live, as well as helping you to becoming aware of the plants and trees that surround you. Village walks are available and a chance to go to the local village is fascinating and entirely unadulterated. You will have the freedom to explore the Okavango with your private guide independent of other guests and to plan your days according to whim. A day relaxing with a book followed by a short jaunt to the sunset deck is easy to arrange and sometimes just what you need after the active pace of safari.
Born in the Okavango, raised in the Okavango, Delta Camp’s guides take you deep into the Okavang in hand-made dug-out canoes. They will also take you walking on the many islands in the area. Your guide joins you on your arrival and remains exclusively yours for the duration of your stay. Armed with a lifetime’s experience and eyes like a hawk, he will accompany you on all your excursions, be they brief forays from the comfort of the lodge, full-day outings with a picnic lunch, or extended camping expeditions into the Okavango. The Delta Camp experience is cultural as well as being a wildlife and wilderness one, and spending time in the company of a man who has lived his life in this wild place, and perhaps even visiting his home, is a revelation to many visitors, and a lesson in differing values and perceptions.
Another unique offering from Delta Camp is the opportunity for an extended, fully serviced and catered camping expedition by dug-out into the further reaches of the Okavango. By pre-arrangement, and after spending a night in the lodge to acclimatize, you will set out with all your equipment, guides and camp hands by mekoro into the Okavango for a minimum of two nights, but up to eight, camping in one of the world's last great wildernesses, before returning for one last night in the lodge.
Game of all sorts abounds: lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, hippopotamus, crocodile, giraffe, antelope including the rare lechwe, tsessebe and sitatunga, otters, honey-badgers, the shy pangolin, and a variety of the smaller wild cats such as civets, servals and genets are amongst the many mammal species that visit the delta. Reptiles are well represented – many species of snakes (most of them harmless) occur, as do several of tortoise, terrapin, lizard, skinks, chameleon and gecko – not forgetting, of course, the Nile crocodile. Then of course there are the birds, well over 450 species, that bring the forests, rivers and flood-plains of the Okavango to life. Many rare and endangered species call the Okavango home, and birders come from all around the world come in search of them. Bird-song heralds each Okavango dawn.
In Consideration of the Wilds
Our power is generated by solar panels, and where possible our water heated in similar fashion. As unsightly as they may be, demanding as they are of exposure to sunlight, our solar arrays compromise our aesthetic, or at least challenge a re-evaluation of an aesthetic. We compromise our ability to give our visitors air-conditioning and unlimited supplies of ice in this way, but large four- and six-wheel-drive fuel tankers do not cross floodplains and streams and cut through forests to deliver diesel for our generators, and the generators we don’t have do not spew filth and noise. We hope you prefer it that way.