Video: Floating in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

Posted on December 19, 2011 by

It’s barely dawn and the sky is already striated with purple streaks and wispy clouds. After a night of torrential rain, the air smells wet and fresh. Animals in the delta are quickly awaking, croaking away amidst the reeds. In the water around us, I spot a pair of eyes.  The creature is watching us intently, wriggling its ears as it senses our presence. It dives underwater but resurfaces minutes later, with its ears, eyes and nostrils now in full view: we are just meters away from a hippopotamus. Its chubby and clumsy demeanors can be deceiving – under that big blubber is one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. It can run up to 40km/hour and kill a human being with its sheer weight.

We are gliding through the Okavango Delta in Botswana on a mokoro, a wooden dugout canoe traditionally used by locals to get around the delta. Earlier that morning, we’d set off from Maun, the gateway of Okavango, to meander through the canals and waterways in search of raw wilderness. This was one place I’d long dreamt of visiting and it definitely didn’t disappoint. What we found was pristine beauty, extreme tranquility and a tinge of authenticity – it was almost as if we’d entered a completely different planet, one that had been forgotten by the world. Here’s a video shot from my mokoro – listen to the sounds in the background and you’ll understand what I mean.



The hippo poking its head out above the water lilies…

It makes an appearance as we slowly glide by.

Floating on the glassy water surface in our mokoros.

Dawn in the delta.

Disclaimer: This experience was made possible by G Adventures (as part of the Dune, Deltas and Falls tour), but all opinions expressed above are my own. Read more about my Southern Africa adventures here or follow my updates on twitter and facebook.

About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

10 Responses to “Video: Floating in the Okavango Delta, Botswana”

  1. Bret @ GGT December 20, 2011 2:36 am #

    Nice work, Nellie! Botswana is totally in our Top 5. Hope you'll have more posts about your experience.

  2. TheWorldOrBust December 20, 2011 7:35 am #

    I feel like an anaconda is going to jump out at any second!

  3. Nancy & Shawn Power December 21, 2011 9:10 am #

    Wow! That sounds amazing. Thanks for the video. Was that hippo in the same waters you were travelling on? And if so, they just stay calmly in the waters and don't bother you?

    Nancy & Shawn

    • Nellie December 23, 2011 6:00 pm #

      Yes the hippo was just 10m away from us! They usually stay calmly in the waters as long as you're not in their way. According to our guide, hippos only attack humans when they stand between them and the water.

  4. techincal writer August 6, 2012 4:21 pm #

    I admire your talent, amazing photos and i love the sound in the video

  5. Greg November 13, 2012 8:12 am #

    Wow Nellie, I'v just got flash backs from when i did the same thing in 2008!!

    Oh how i miss the Delta! This has inspired me to start saving up for another Botswana adventure! :)

    Oh, BTW, do you think you could write a guide based on your travels in the Delta? I have found a few like this on… but would love your input as well..


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