World Heritage #1432 – Okavango Delta

Jul 28, 2018Botswana, Middle East and Africa, World Heritage Sites

The Okavango delta is the world’s largest inland delta. Unlike other deltas it does not empty into an ocean. Water just drains in the desert or evaporates. Some call it Africa’s last Eden.

The UNESCO World Heritage List includes more than a thousand properties with outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

 

Official facts

Country: Botswana

Date of Inscription: 2014

Category: Natural site

UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s short description of site no. 1432:

This delta in north-west Botswana comprises permanent marshlands and seasonally flooded plains. It is one of the very few major interior delta systems that do not flow into a sea or ocean, with a wetland system that is almost intact. One of the unique characteristics of the site is that the annual flooding from the River Okavango occurs during the dry season, with the result that the native plants and animals have synchronized their biological cycles with these seasonal rains and floods. It is an exceptional example of the interaction between climatic, hydrological and biological processes. The Okavango Delta is home to some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammal, such as the cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog and lion.

 

My visit

We came in from the north, parked our vehicle and boarded a fast boat. After that we got lost in a maze of canals and lakes for a couple of days. The fortunate thing was that we were on a guided tour and the boat drivers and guides knew where we were going. 

The boat ride from the car park to the place where we pitched our tents took us several hours. From here, on a small island, we would venture on foot. We would pass grazing elephants, making sure not to disturb them. We would climb aboard dug-out canoes and move into even more shallow parts of the delta, amidst papyrus and reed rafts. Hippos, crocodiles and vast amounts of birds. This was a great visit. I’ll return with an article with more text and more images. Here is a link to an article describing the context of my visit, and a few images below as well. 

Read my introduction to the safari in southern Africa.

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