The Okavango from Above

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

In a handful of sky and earth there is no empty space. All existence is a teeming sea of infinite life

If you want to touch the soul of Africa, and really get a better understanding of the Okavango Delta, do it from the seat of a light aircraft. There is no experience I can think of that so connects one to the timeless raw sense of this vast wilderness than flying.

Viewing the wild solitude of this watery wonderland from above is one that permeates body and soul and creates a visceral memory that endures for a lifetime. Flying, I find, brings with it a strange sort of shared intimacy with the wild places of Africa.

The Okavango Delta is seemingly boundless, vast and teeming with life. It has one of the most intense concentrations of wildlife on the planet and is an escapists utopia. Herds of lechwe crowd small water bound islands, hippos languish in deep pools, crocodiles lurk in the loops of oxbows and colossal herds of buffalo kick up billowing plumes of dust. The Okavango delivers everything in abundance.

I will never forget the first time we flew over the Delta; it was a golden afternoon and it seemed as if the Okavango had taken a long deep breath and slowly exhaled elephants. The herd appeared out of the palm lined fringes and walked the way only elephants can walk…in that calm measured pace, giant metronomes for the rhythm of Africa.

Following their own magical laws, guided by intuition and directives of spirit they continued onto the flood plains where they waded through the crystal clear waters in dreamy contemplation, sending concentric ripples of light quivering across the surface and water lilies bobbing in their wake. The sun and sky gazed down upon the vast mirror of water and as we orbited the herd they seemed to appear and disappear in flashes of white and blue as if we were passing from one dream into another.

Set on the vast canvas of the Delta these herds seemed almost fragile wandering across this bold and uncompromising landscape. And yet, what magnificence, what majesty, grace and power.