Getting your feet wet

Water crossings in the Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta is about to show its uniqueness. For weeks there has been a sense of anticipation – birds start coming back into the areas that have been dry since the previous summer. The time has come – the arrival of the flood waters from the highlands of Angola.

Although it is called a Flood, in reality the water arrives in small trickles along the dusty, sandy furrows. It can be measured in hours, not minutes. It quietly and relentlessly moves in, flowing around the slightly higher ground and the ever-present termite mounds, to fill the flood plains.

While managing the beautiful andBeyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp we were lucky enough to enjoy hosting our guests on game drives with a difference.

The flood waters divide the large expanse of land into islands separated by channels of water which makes a game drive while the delta is flooded a really special and unique experience. To drive onto a neighbouring island it is necessary to cross through the water of the Okavango Delta and nothing can prepare guests for the first experience as a passenger in one of the Lodge’s vehicles!

Your guide stops the vehicle and turns to you, asking you to please lift your feet and not leave anything on the floor. Diligently you do as you are told and raise your feet onto the seat next to you.

He then slowly moves the vehicle towards the river in front of you. As you enter the water you see steam evaporating off the hot metal of the bonnet of the land cruiser. With dropping jaw and widening eyes you watch as the whole front of the vehicle starts to disappear. You hear a gurgle and a slosh accompanied by a light splash. As you glance down you see the water of the delta rushing in through the doors of the vehicle, covering the floor.
Beneath you the water is rising higher and higher and you cannot help but notice that the tyres are totally under water.

Just as you start wondering how deep the river is you start to reach the incline and exit the river.
Your guide opens his side door to let a torrent of water escape from the well at his feet.
The water then seeps through the holes in the floor of the cruiser and other than having a slightly damp base the vehicle is unscathed and you continue on your adventure.

It is one of those magical experiences that quickly becomes a highlight of your safari. With each crossing you remember why it is so special to be on safari in the Okavango Delta…

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Seranne Slaviero

&Beyond Travel Specialist

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