Okavango - Reserves
In his book, The River Okavango
, the Victorian-era explorer and trader Charles John Andersson wrote:On every side as far as the eye could see, lay stretched a
sea of fresh water, in many places concealed from sight by a covering of reeds and rushes of every shade and hue; whilst numerous islands, spread over its whole surface, and adorned with rich vegetation, gave to the whole an indescribably beautiful appearance.
For modern visitors the Okavango Delta has lost none of its beauty. However, finding reliable information on the various areas from brochures can be as challenging as Andersson's expedition. This chapter aims to demystify these areas, and to identify some of the strengths and weaknesses of the areas and their camps.
It aims to cover all of the private reserves around the Okavango and the main camps within these. But before you read any of my comments, here are a few general observations on the chapter:
-- I've covered the reserves in the order of their concession numbers, from NG12 to NG34.
-- There are virtually no fences between these areas, so the game flows freely between them. It's won't always be where I suggest it is.
-- Remember that differences in environment and game can be as great within a reserve as they are between one reserve and its neighbour. Despite this some trends are evident, which I've tried to draw out.
-- The marketing leaflets of the reserves usually claim that every animal/bird is found in their particular areas – particularly the 'sexy' ones like wild dogs and Pel's fishing owls! There is some truth in this, in that virtually all the animals/birds do occur in all the reserves. However, I've tried to get behind the spin with a realistic assessment of what you're most likely to see, and where you're most likely to see it. I've tried to make my comments reflect realistic probabilities; but they can't be definitive.
-- I've made comments largely from my own first-hand experience, informed when in these areas by guides and experts. Occasionally, I have used reliable local sources. That said, I have not spent a year in each reserve, so my observations have been snap-shots from the times that I've visited, augmented by comments from travellers sent by my travel company. They don't pretend to be comprehensive, systematic surveys – but I do believe that they're broadly representative.
-- Under each reserve I've tried to cover the basics of the wildlife and the practicalities. This has necessitated some repetition, but it's a reflection of the fact that there are more similarities between the various reserves in the Delta than there are differences.