Wildlife for lunch

Our first meal in Botswana is interrupted by a pair of leopards. Two days later we lunch alongside a trio of elephants. The Okavango Delta regularly serves up the unexpected!

We’d arrived at Chief’s Camp in the Delta around noon. As we sat down to eat two male leopards appeared from the surrounding bush. Our meal immediately forgotten we rose swiftly from the table to watch these lithesome cats pad leisurely through the dry grass.

On reaching a small clearing the two cats paused to study the far horizon, then slunk behind the cover of an thorny thicket without so much as a glance our way. Less than an hour in the Okavango and already the wildlife was centre stage, just as it should be! A week later, however, we’d probably not have seen those leopards quite so exposed.

Chief’s is a seasonal “wet” camp, which means much of the surrounding land lies under water between June and October when the Okavango River annually floods the delta. Within a week or so of our time there guests would likely be viewing wildlife from a makoro (dugout canoe).

Unlike most rivers the Okavango flows into a desert, the Kalahari, and not to the sea. During our flight from Maun, the transport hub of the region, we’d seen the floodwaters seeping steadily across the delta from the north, where the river enters Botswana from Namibia.

This seasonal inundation transforms the landscape. Sandy grasslands, punctuated by clusters of palms and towering termite mounds, become shallow wetlands supporting an unrivalled aggregation of migratory and resident wildlife. When the waters retreat, the delta reverts to grasslands separated by ponds, marshes and lagoons. Contact me for full article

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