It’s a vast wild place. As dry and dusty as can be. Then silently, as billions of litres of water from distant Angola flow over the parched earth, it turns into a lush green eden where lions, elephants, hippos, fish eagles and many other species revel in days of plenty.
The Okavango Delta in northern Botswana is formed where the Okavango River flows into a tectonic trough. Some 11 cubic kms of water spread out over as much as 15 000 square kms of the Kalahari, creating a vast inland delta, the water simply evaporating and transpiring. This annual flooding depends very much on the extent of the summer (December to February) rains in the Angolan Highlands, about 1 200 km to the north west of Botswana.
This year Angola did not get much rain and the little that they did get arrived late. So when we pitched up in mid July to photograph African Horseback Safaris’ Macatoo Camp for their marketing program, only a tiny trickle of water had reached the area.
Extensive wild fires had decimated much of the grazing in the region, but almost all of the 200 000 ha African Horseback Safaris concession had been spared. As a result, when the flooding started there was plenty of food and water about and buffaloes in their thousands arrived. In their hurry to get to the water the herds created huge dust clouds that could be seen from miles away.
Obviously, at African Horseback Safaris one can explore the wilds from the back of a horse, accompanied by experienced local guides. But there are also games drives available for non-riders or for those just feeling like a break from the action.
Guests are accommodated in 8 large safari tents with en suite bathrooms. Tent 8, in all its glory, doubles as a honeymoon suite, set a little further apart from the others.
Meals are communal affairs, breakfast eaten around the camp fire before the morning's outride and lunches and dinners around a large table. The food is always delicious and plentiful - with hungry horse riders kept in mind.
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© 2018 Roger and Pat de la Harpe. All Rights Reserved