Into the Okavango: follow the team on the last days of their epic 4 month journey

Posted by James Kydd on 15 September 2015

The Okavango Delta is the beating heart of Africa and one of the last great wildernesses in the world: home to the largest populations of hippo and buffalo, and almost half of our continent’s elephant. Last year it was declared UNESCO’s 1000th World Heritage Site, a long overdue accolade.

Campsite before Mombo Island.

Campsite before Mombo Island.

Yet the two source rivers that feed the Okavango remain unprotected. In fact the catchment of the Cuito, the longer of the two, is considered botanically to be one of the least explored stretches of river in the world. Outside of the military it had not been studied scientifically since the early 1900’s.

On May 22, our team, in partnership with National Geographic, began a 2400km expedition, (lead by Capetonian Steve Boyes) a “megatransect,” starting at the source of the Cuito River in the Angolan Highlands and ending in the Makgadikgadi Pans of Botswana.

Chris and Steve in the lillies.

Chris and Steve in the lillies.

It’s a 4 month journey on mekoros (dugout canoes) to conduct the most in-depth biodiversity survey ever undertaken in this river basin. Our purpose is to better understand the intricacies of this wetland wilderness and how to protect it against present and future threats of damming, oil and mineral exploration, road expansion, and population growth. The team consists of scientists and explorers who are offering a live data expedition for anyone to experience by sharing all biometrics, sights, sounds, scientific findings, and movements in real-time via satellite and uploaded to our website: intotheokavango.org.

Jame Kydd - Into the Okavango
Jame Kydd - Into the Okavango

Our journey has been incredibly testing and full of twists and turns. We found a beautiful unmapped waterfall, have had 6 capsizes including one caused by a hippo, found a possible 8 new species of fish, met people that had not seen outsiders since 1974, and much more.

Shooting star.

Shooting star.

We are now in the fourth month of our journey, 2250km in, and camped on the banks of the Boteti River, Botswana. If you would like to follow the last few days of the story, please find us on Instagram (one of their recommended accounts) and Twitter which we are updating via satellite. And for incredible audio on the entire trip, you can find all the audio clips as podcasts on iTunes or at podcastchart.com

 

Elephants from the air.

Elephants from the air.

 

For more stories, images, and news from the guides of Africa, visit RangerDiaries.com.






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tcat - Conservation
tcat_slug - conservation-environment
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tcat_final - environment