Day 8: Okavango Delta

Okavango Delta Travel Blog

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relaxing mokoro ride back
We woke up to the sound of the leader of the guides doing his best rooster impression.
We went out for another short walk, but unfortunately we didn't see any animals apart from a couple of wildebeest in the distance.

When we returned to the camp we had a quick breakfast and packed up camp to head back in the mokoros. Once again it was a wonderful, relaxing and very comfortable ride. Though not as dozy as I was the day before, I loved every minute of the three hour trip, listening to some music, reading or just looking around and taking in the surroundings. At one point we saw a small herd of zebras crossing one of the waterways, which once again proved you're never far away from wildlife here.

After returning to our camp in Maun we had some lunch and a well-deserved shower, before returning to the delta late afternoon.
the start of our scenic flight
The only way to truly appreciate the vastness of the delta is to view it from a plane, so that is what we were doing. A 45-minute scenic flight, flying at an altitude of 500 ft, which is low enough to spot the wildlife below.

And wildlife we saw. We saw a huge herd of wildebeest (and when I say huge, I mean huge, they were literally in the thousands). Furthermore we saw some hippos, a few giraffes and elephants, elephants just everywhere. Elephants walking alone, roaming the islands, elephants in groups feeding on the plains, elephants crossing the rivers, elephants, elephants and more elephants, up to the point where it almost became boring. Before this trip I had never dreamt elephants would be the most abundant animals we'd see in Africa.

But it wasn't just a scenic flight we did.
Okavango Delta from the air
We had met a few travellers from a different Acacia group two nights ago, and they had told us that if you'd ask the pilot nicely he would be doing some tricks. I had flown in Cessna planes before and knew some of the tricks that could be done, like switching off the engine and going in a short free-fall, or doing some steep banks. All fun and exciting, but nothing earth shattering.
Well, these guys had a few more tricks up their sleeves. As we out of urban airspace into the delta area our pilot suddenly banked down so steep and hard (and unexpectedly) that we all let out a scream and grabbed on to our seats. We dove down very steeply, only pulling up just above the ground. We continued to fly at breakneck speed just a few metres above the water, so low that we were actually below tree level.
flight over the Okavango delta
We continued to fly directly towards a small island with trees, only pulling up steeply at the last moment. We then continued into a long arc which made us completely weightless for about 20 seconds (which is a very fun, but very nauseating experience I must add).

And he continued to do more stuff like that, each time completely unexpectedly. At one point we were flying really closely to the other plane, wings almost touching. As we were waving to the guys in the other plane and took pictures of each other our pilot suddenly pulled up steeply, before banking down hard again and continuing into a barrel-roll. A barrel-roll! In a flippin' Cessna! I never knew you could even do that with a Cessna. As far as I knew Cessnas were nowhere near fast enough to create enough G-force to keep you in your seats while flying upside down.
Our group with the pilot in front of the plane
Not that I have ever been upside down in a plane before! Unbelievable!

The rest of the flight wasn't as wild though. We did several more near-hits into the other plane, flying really close to it, before banking hard down again. (One of the guys in the other plane took a great video of that manoeuvre).
Robbel was in the other plane (a Cessna only seats 5), and had a smaller, older plane, so her flight wasn't as wild. She did manage to take a couple of good shots of our plane though.

This flight was just absolutely mental! The tricks probably even more fun than the views. When we landed we thanked the pilot, but he said “no, thanks to you! Thanks very much for asking”. I guess doing 10 scenic flights a day can get rather boring, so it seemed he was glad to be able to do something else for a change.
Team B in front of their plane


Back at camp we had another fantastic dinner, a hearty stew made of Kudu (the beautiful deer-like animals we'd seen in Chobe a couple of days earlier).
We ended up in the bar, which wasn't as lively as we'd hoped. One of our group, Neil, had his birthday the next day, but because we will be spending that in a little bushmen village, it wouldn't be appropriate to go out on the piss there, so we celebrated it a night early. At midnight everyone bought him a shot (the bar had 11 different shooters, and there were 11 of us, so that made perfect sense), sang happy birthday, and threw him in the pool. Just the typical thing you do when someone turns 30.

Unfortunately the bar closed at midnight, so we didn't stay out very late (no volleyball match tonight then).

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relaxing mokoro ride back
relaxing mokoro ride back
the start of our scenic flight
the start of our scenic flight
Okavango Delta from the air
Okavango Delta from the air
flight over the Okavango delta
flight over the Okavango delta
Our group with the pilot in front …
Our group with the pilot in front…
Team B in front of their plane
Team B in front of their plane
Maun village
Maun village
Maun village
Maun village
Maun village
Maun village
flight over the Okavango delta
flight over the Okavango delta
Inside our plane
Inside our plane
Robbel and Neil
Robbel and Neil
soaring over the Okavango Delta
soaring over the Okavango Delta
to illustrate just how low we flew
to illustrate just how low we flew
flight over the Okavango Delta
flight over the Okavango Delta
flight over the Okavango Delta
flight over the Okavango Delta
elephant seen from the air
elephant seen from the air
saying hi to my sister in the othe…
saying hi to my sister in the oth…
flight over the Okavango delta
flight over the Okavango delta
flight over the Okavango delta
flight over the Okavango delta
view over the okavango delta
view over the okavango delta
elephants
elephants
large herds of wildebeest
large herds of wildebeest
view over the okavango delta
view over the okavango delta
view over the okavango delta
view over the okavango delta
taking a closer look
taking a closer look
view over the okavango delta
view over the okavango delta
our plane
our plane
sunset seen from the plane
sunset seen from the plane
Okavango Delta
photo by: Biedjee