Into the Wild: Adventures Among Hippos and Zebras in the Okavango Delta

Nestled in the heart of the Kalahari basin in the north of Botswana, the Okavango Delta is a natural wonder of unparalleled beauty. Spanning an area of up to 15,000 square kilometres, it ranks as Africa’s third-largest inland river delta. What sets this delta apart is its seasonal flooding, which shapes the movements and biological cycles of its diverse plant and animal life in harmony with the rains.

Described by UNESCO as “an exceptional example of the interaction between climate, hydrological, and biological processes,” the Okavango Delta is a wildlife sanctuary, earning its place as one of Africa’s last remaining true wilderness areas. Unlike typical river deltas that empty into the sea, the Okavango forms an “alluvial fan,” with its rivers dissipating into the sands of the Kalahari desert, creating an inland oasis of unparalleled ecological richness.

As we’re told, one of the most remarkable aspects of the Okavango Delta is the minimal human impact it has endured. Indigenous communities living on its fringes have long embraced sustainable lifestyles, preserving the integrity of the delta’s diverse ecosystems.

During our journey, which lasted just 337 kilometres, Marsel encountered the delta firsthand, including a heart-stopping moment when a mule unexpectedly crossed our path. Thankfully, the encounter ended with just a brush—perhaps a testament to the resilience of the delta’s inhabitants?

As night fell, we indulged in a unique culinary experience, savouring zebra steak—a delicacy sourced from the delta’s abundant wildlife. Here, as in many parts of Africa, wildlife management practices include culling to maintain ecological balance and ensure the sustainability of the delta’s precious resources.