Aerial view of green swampland with river channels
Botswana,  Friendly Friday,  Landscape,  Video

Video: flying to the Okavango Delta

Sometimes how you travel to a place can be as much fun as the place itself.

The small planes that serve the various camps in Botswana’s Okavango Delta operate much like buses, dropping off and picking up passengers along the way. For some people, a flight in a small prop plane would be their worst nightmare; for me it was almost as much of an attraction as the destination itself!

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.

Ernest Hemingway

The planes fly low over the landscape, affording wonderful views to anyone who, like me, manages to secure a window seat. I enjoyed watching as the landscape below changed as we moved from bush to delta. The contrast between the dryness of Chobe National Park, which we had just left, and the green lushness of the Okavango Delta region was very apparent.

As we flew south over the bush I spotted elephants at some of the water holes, looking tiny from this height. We were even low enough at times for me to see termite mounds scattered among the trees.

Our flight took us from Kasane in the north of the country, via Camp Moremi and Camp Okavango, to our beautiful ‘away from it all’ lodge on Xugana Island.

For the latest Friendly Friday, Sandy has challenged us to come with Something Different. I didn’t want to stray too far from my usual themes of travel and photography, so I decided instead to have a go at creating a video from a series of shots I took on this flight. This is my first attempt at adding music to a video so please turn on your audio and let me know what you think!

I’m also trying a different layout for this page – again, all views welcome!

I travelled to the Okavango Delta in Botswana in 2018


  • Ju-Lyn

    Oh my goodness! You are brave. I don’t know if I could get into a small plane like that, no matter how stunning the views are (and they are in yout vLog). I have trouble getting in to a A380! And that is why I love vicariously traveling through BlogFrriends like yourself!

    The choice of your music is inspired – I am very taken particularly by the long sustained repeat at the end which builds suspense as we reach the end of the flight. Very dramatic!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you for the kind words about the photos and music Ju-Lyn ☺ I’m not a naturally brave person but as I’m not particularly scared of flying I don’t consider that I’m being brave when I do so! In fact, I enjoy a small plane flight like this because it feels more like flying, rather than sitting in a huge tin box detached from the earth. The views are better and you get a sense of where you are going 🙂

  • Tina Schell

    I had to laugh at this one Sarah. I so distinctly remember our small plane flight to the Okavango Delta. It was the first small-plane leg of our journey. We flew low enough to see a very large herd of elephants crossing the delta and were SOOOOO excited to see them. Little did we know that in a few hours we’d be nearly close enough to reach out and touch them, and that they’d be strolling up to our deck pool to have a drink by snaking their trunks through the slats LOL. We laughed about how excited we’d been to see them from above with no understanding whatsoever of how close we’d soon be. Thanks for the very fond memory.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Gosh, how do I let great comments like these slip through the net?! I do apologise Tina. That sounds like a wonderful experience with the elephants at your pool 😀 We didn’t get quite that close in the Okavango, although we had a memorable morning’s walking safari when we got a little closer to a bull than I’d anticipated doing on foot 😆 I do really love elephants and could fill quite a few posts with various encounters we’ve had over the years!

  • wetanddustyroads

    I really like your video – it just give another perspective on the Okavango Delta. To be honest, I am a little bit afraid of small planes, but I will brace myself for a trip on this one to see the beauty of this magical place from another angle ☺️.

  • Nemorino

    Nice photos and music. I don’t really like flying on commercial airlines (haven’t done it since my return flight from Edinburgh in 2005), but in Vietnam always I enjoyed flying in helicopters and small planes. Once in a one-engine observation plane I had a seat with two windows, right and left, because there were only two seats in the whole plane: the pilot in front and me right behind him, with my elbows out both open windows.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Wow, that sounds amazing! I have done a couple of flights in a very tiny plane. Chris bought his father a couple of ‘pilot a plane’ experiences years ago and both times he was allowed to take two passengers. The first time he took me and Chris and the second time Chris gave his seat to his mother. We flew over the north east coast and Tyne valley and it was great fun recognising all the familar landmarks from above!

  • SandyL

    This is lovely Sarah! Scenes from an airplane is a perfect match for a video like this.

    Individually the photos are ok but pulled together they give a wonderful sense of motion and place. Your audio choice was interesting too … what instrument is that?

    I hope you had fun compiling the video and I’d enjoy seeing more 🙂

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Sandy 😀 I’ll certainly have a go at this sort of thing in the future, but it will depend on the subject matter and the selection of photos I have. As Simone and I discussed below, there are plusses and minuses to presenting them in this fashion.

      I have no idea what instrument that is! I just did a search on a free ‘music for videos’ site under ‘Africa’. I believe this piece is from North Africa rather than sub-Saharan but it seemed to suit the mood for flying. It’s called Sacred Sound by Youssoupha Sidibe.

      • SandyL

        A quick look-up says that he’s a Senegalese West African Kora (African Harp) player. It does sound like a harp. I thought that it might have been a marimba but wounded more complex than that. I’m glad to learn something new today

  • Simone

    Maybe I am weird, but I actually like flying in a small prop plane better than in a big one, lol. You never disappoint with your pages Sarah, aaah, this is another spot on my must do list! Great to see the photos from the sky!
    Although the video concept works, I do like the ‘old-fashioned’ way better, as I sometimes want some more time to enjoy a photo and that cannot be done in a video.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      I don’t think that’s weird at all, I 100% agree 🙂 And I feel the same when it comes to boats btw!

      You would love the Okavango I know 🙂 I see what you mean about having time to look at the photos. I did lengthen the default duration (from 2 seconds to 4). I think this works best when you want to give a sense of what a place looks and feels like, rather than show the details. And I used several photos that I probably wouldn’t have included in a ‘normal’ post because they’re either too much like some of the others and/or not as good. But as part of a sequence they seemed to fit!

      • Simone

        Yes, better now! I think it is great that you keep experimenting with diffent layouts and ideas. After a second look I have to agree with your comment, you probably would have had another selection of photos in a normal posts, but as part of a sequence they fit!

Do share your thoughts, I'd love to hear from you! And please include your name in case WP marks you 'anonymous' - thank you