There’s lots to see but not that much to say about the Delta, so this post will be light on words and heavy on pictures (also because I am sick of being three weeks behind so trying to cut down on the long-winded posts, which I’m sure everyone besides my immediate family will be grateful for).
We flew into the Delta on this tiny five-seater:
There are also eight-seaters that fly into this part of the Delta, but you can’t use a bigger plane than that because this is the “airport”:
The place that we stayed at the Delta was amazing, with beautiful permanent tents that have outdoor showers and balconies overlooking the water. At night, you can hear the hippos grunting, and once the sun starts coming up you hear them splashing their way back to the water, along with a full chorus of birds and frogs. At night, you have to be walked back to your tent in case you run into animals on the way, and on our first night we did see elephants in the camp on our way back from dinner. Here are some more shots of the Delta, from the hotel and from the motor boat that we mostly used to get around:
In addition to the motorboats, we took a ride in a mokoro, which is a dug-out canoe that is traditionally used for transportation in the shallow channels of the Delta. The mokoros are operated by “polers,” who stand at the back end (exhibiting very impressive balance) and use a long pole to dig into the ground underneath the water and propel and direct the mokoro.
We saw a few giraffes and elephants in the Delta — but mostly, tons of hippos. The Delta is a great environment for hippos because there is so much shallow water. Hippos have very sensitive skin and so they spend most of the daylight hours under water — but they can’t breathe under water and are not very good swimmers, so they need to find shallow water where they can stand or kneel on the ground but easily poke their heads out to breathe.
This is Luckson, our guide in the Delta, teaching us about something (I can’t remember what at the moment, but I’m sure it was very interesting!) during a walk that we went on during our second day.
And, possibly my favorite part of being in the Delta: the sunsets.
After two days and nights in the Delta, we flew back to Maun. Our next big stop — and last stop in Botswana — was Kasane, near Chobe National Park, which is believed to have the highest concentration of elephants in Africa. On our way there, we saw this one wandering along the side of the highway:
We went on a drive and a boat cruise in the national park and saw elephants galore, along with more giraffes and hippos, impala, and water buffalo.
This guy was digging a hole in the mud and then splashing himself with it to cool down:
In this video, you can see a big herd of elephants coming into the water to drink:
To break up the elephant photos, here are some shots of the other animals that we saw at Chobe. We were lucky to see hippos that were partially out of the water, and birds hanging out on top of water buffalo and hippos. These animals tolerate birds perching on them in part because birds will eat certain insects and parasites off of them. We also got really close to the giraffes, which was exciting because giraffes are one of my favorites.
And finally, back to the elephants (check out all of the babies, too! the one in the last photo was only a few weeks old):
After Chobe, we crossed the border into Zimbabwe and drove to Victoria Falls, which I’ll post about next. In the meantime, I’m off to happy hour with Juliet at our hotel on Lake Tana in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. I’ve worked my way up from three weeks behind on posting to only two weeks, so will hopefully start updating on the Ethiopia trip soon!