Perched in the middle of the southern part of the African continent is the Okavango Delta – an inspiring mosaic of wet and dry, with an abundance of wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, and grasses that would blow your socks off (and probably get attached to them given half a chance).
Last month, I was one of 24 lucky souls to spend about 10 days submersed in the Delta – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Ramsar wetland that is formed when the Okavango River, flowing from Angola and Namibia, reaches a tectonic trough in Botswana where is it spills over the land to form a 15,000 sq km delta.
King’s Geography, in collaboration with the University of New South Wales and Arizona State University via PLuS Alliance, run a river basin management field course there, which is expertly led by Richard Kingsford from UNSW.
We had staff and students from all three universities plus the University of Botswana, so it was a wonderful melting pot of experience, expertise, backgrounds and interests – all set against the backdrop of this amazing system and river basin.
It was an unusually a dry year, but that didn’t detract from the place. The many, many highlights included:
- elephants regularly wandering through our camp (run by aptly-named Elephants Without Borders),
- watching hyenas and vultures feast on a dead elephant,
- measuring water quality in floodwaters that were rolling down the system (unnervingly close to crocodiles and hippos…),
- some mighty magnificent grasses,
- trotting warthogs and graceful impala, and
- the company of the students and staff on the trip.