Photographer's Note

From the Chobe National Park we flew to the Okavango Delta on board of a small Cessna airplane (see it in WS1) with just six seats including the pilot. It was a very quite journey and a great opportunity to see the Delta from above. Air travel is the only way to have access to the delta’s heart.

The Okavango Delta is the world's largest inland delta with a labyrinth of lagoons, lakes and hidden channels. As it has no outlet to the sea the Okavango River empties its waters onto the sands of the Kalahari Desert, irrigating some 17,000 km² of the desert. Each year, approximately 11 km3 of water reach the delta. The overall length of the delta is approximately 200km from end to end.

The water entering the delta is unusually pure, due to the lack of agriculture and industry along the Okavango River. It arrives from the high plateau of central Angola, crosses the narrow Namibian Caprivi Band, passes through the sand aquifers of the numerous delta islands and evaporates by leaving enormous quantities of salt behind. The process is so strong that the vegetation disappears in the center of the islands and thick salt crusts are formed.

The waters of the Okavango Delta are subject to seasonal flooding, which begins about mid-summer in the north and six months later in the south (May/June). The water from the delta is evaporated relatively rapidly by the high temperatures, resulting in a cycle of cresting and dropping water in the south. Islands can disappear completely during the peak flood, and then reappear at the end of the season.

The Okavango is home to a large variety of wildlife and provides a seasonal habitat to numerous different species. Among these are African elephants, African Buffalo, Hippopotanus, antilopes like the Lechwe, the Blue Wildebeest, the Impala, Giraffes, Crocodiles, Lions, Cheetahs, Rhinoceros (black and white), just to mention some. The delta is also a bird’s paradise which counts over 400 species, including the African Fish Eagle, the Crested Crane and the Sacred Ibis.

Finally, let me say that Botswana is a very arid and flat country. In WS2 is a picture of what you can expect to see when leaving Kasane, the country’s most north-eastern town.

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Additional Photos by Antonio Ribeiro (ribeiroantonio) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4806 W: 470 N: 6473] (22730)
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