Starting in Angola, the Kavango river meanders 1,600 kilometers southeastward, forming the border between Namibia and Angola, and eventually petering out into the Kalahari desert in Botswana. Forming the largest inland delta, the Okavango Delta, the river carries 11 cubic kilometers of water into an area of 15,000 km sq. This boon of fresh water in an otherwise arid region makes life possible for thousands of animals and miles upon miles of reeds, grasses and other flora. Spending three days in the delta—reached by native Mokoro, or dugout canoe—and taking a flight overhead, we were able to get a true scope of the breadth and diversity inside this natural wonder.
A Tswana woman pushes her Mokoro through the flooded reeds of the Okavango Delta, sliding through shallow water. Mokoros have been used traditionally by the Tswana tribe to fish, collect firewood, and gather thatching for their roofs within the Delta.
Reeds and the main Mokoro channel, carved by hippos, at sunset.
Islands within the Okavango delta, growing and shrinking with high- and low-water, support numerous grasses and trees which in turn give life to thousands of game animals.
The skeleton of a cape buffalo, exposed on a small island in the middle of the Delta.
The flooded plains of the Delta.
Game trails through the Delta.
Game trails leading through flooded plains from a hippo-hole.
A hippo ripples in the dawn light.