Botswana’s Okavango Delta has become the 1000th site to be included in the list of Unesco World Heritage Site’s around the globe.
Okavango River. By Mark Paxton
The list, which started in 1978, commands strict conservation rules from sites in consideration. According to its selection panel, Botswana’s unique inland delta is ‘an exceptional example of the interaction between climatic, hydrological and biological processes … home to some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammal.’ But of course, you knew that already.
It’s no secret to Southern Africa travellers that the Okavango Delta is wildlife heaven. It is home to Africa’s largest elephant population and provides visitors with the unique opportunity to view wildlife from the water (on a mekoro), and that’s just a start. Over the years, Getaway magazine and its readers have explored the far corners of the Okavango – and it still has the power to overwhelm. So well done, UNESCO, we’re glad you’ve finally recognised one of the top African travel experiences that you have to do at least once for its uniqueness and raw beauty.’
These are just some of the highlights we’ve been lucky enough to see over the past few years.
On a chilly morning in the Okavango, the Boro River and adjacent flood plains are blanketed in layers of mist. Photo by Justin Fox
I took this shot on one of many magical evenings at fish traps in the Okavango Delta. As the floodwaters recede fish are caught in pools of water, a bonanza for water birds. After taking hundreds of crisp golden silhouettes I decided to experiment a bit with my shutter speed, and particularly liked this result. Photo by Jeremy Goss
Sunset over the Okavango Delta. Photo by Claudia Hodkinson
Male lion on Duba Plains in the Okavango Delta. The early morning mist blanketed the whole area to create an incredible mood. Photo by Frirs Hoogedijk
We were overwhelmed watching these two magnificent elephants wading through the shallows while flying over the Okavango Delta. This is when being a wildlife photographer truly is a privilege. Photo by Jay Roode
Clouds reflecting in the water of the Okavango Delta. Photo by Claudia Hodkinson
Fishing along the Caprivi Strip. Photo by Tyson Jopson
Tsessebe welcome the brake of day after a cold night on Duba Plains in the Okavango Delta. Photo by Frits Hoogedijk.
A mekoro ride on Botswana’s Okavango Delta is one of the best ways to explore its wildlife. Photo courtesy of Sun Destinations
To find lions do something other than sleeping is always a bonus. So finding this beautiful male walking in the mist and being side lit by the rising sun made this sighting that much more special – which was taken in the Okavango Botswana. Photo by Greg Anderson
We had spent quite some time with a pride of lions which were following a large herd of buffalo in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. They were obviously waiting for an opportunity to present itself and when the herd crossed over a channel, this cow got herself separated form the herd and they found it. Photo by Greg Anderson
Okavango Delta from above. Photo by Claudia Hodkinson
Cruising the delta on a mekoro. Photo by Claudia Hodkinson
We spotted this male elephant feeding on the riverbank in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Our guide stopped the boat nearby and we watched this tusker pulling up, cleaning and munching on vegetation for 20 minutes. The elephant then took a few steps towards us and turned its head. Fixed in its gaze I stayed still, looking for any sign that it might charge. It didn’t, but sprayed water at me, buckled its legs and entered the river to cross to the other side. Photo by Steve Benjamin
How many of these World Heritage Sites in South Africa have you visited?
10 top World Heritage Sites in Africa