Please don’t ask me to pick my favourite landscape – it’s impossible. I love the drama of high mountain ranges, and of rocky coastlines; the haunting light that illuminates the lands close to our poles, and grassy savannahs strewn with baobab trees; gentle green rolling hills, and roaring waterfalls.
But certainly there is something particularly irresistible for me in landscapes with vast open skies, such as deserts and wetlands. And wetlands don’t come much bigger or more impressive than Botswana’s Okavango Delta.
The Okavango Delta is a unique landscape and eco-system. It is formed by the Okavango River flowing from Angola into the Kalahari Dessert, where it disperses across a wide flood plain, forming a myriad of channels. These are interspersed with small islands, which are created by vegetation gathering around termite mounds.
The channels are kept open by hippopotami and other animals. They are lined with papyrus, creating a fascinating pattern of vivid greens and blues when seen from above, and a wonderful haven of wildlife to explore. In the dry season of winter, when we visited (July), the delta is like a massive oasis, as surprisingly that is when it is at its fullest; the rains that fall in Angola in the early part of the year arrive here in the winter months when the rest of the Kalahari is at its driest.
I will share some images of the wildlife here in a later post. For now, and for this week’s Sunday Stills challenge, I am posting some of my favourite landscape shots of the delta.
These shots were taken during two evening mokoro rides. Mokoros are the traditional boat of the Okavango, and in the past were made by digging out the trunk of a large straight tree. These days most are made from fibreglass which, while not so traditional, is much better for the environment as fewer trees are felled.
A mokoro ride is a very peaceful experience. Low down in the water and without an engine, you drift through the narrow channels of water and get a great close-up viewpoint.
On both rides the sky was perfect for some landscape shots and I also shot some video footage. Every time I watch it I am transported back to this magical spot.
I visited the Okavango Delta in 2018