If I didn’t remember a lot about Zimbabwe, I even remember less about my three or four days in the Okavango delta, in Botswana, at the end of 1989. The Okavango delta is probably the only delta in the world that doesn’t reach a sea: the Okavango river, which originates in Angola and mostly drains the summer rains, just ends in the Kalahari desert, the delta being mostly swamp land, and the water ultimately evaporating entirely. Which creates a unique, fabulous ecosystem, attracting not only lots of game, but also numerous birds.

I took a small plane from Victoria Falls to one of the camps inside the delta, all very comfortable, and spent the days touring in a small canoe – powered by a peddling guide, no engines – through the various creeks, large and small. Watching birds, mostly, something I had never done before, but enjoyable enough, in the peaceful silence of the delta. Occasionally we met some fishermen, or a few huts in the dryer parts of the delta, but mostly it was me and my guide, and the kingfishers – and all the other birds we encountered, and of which no doubt my guide told me all the names, which by now I have completely forgotten again. Luckily, I still got some of the pictures; slides, some of which have discoloured before I had the chance to scan them. But they come in handy.

the water of the Okavango delta, under the brilliant sunshine
the delta from above, mostly flooded terrain
although parts are dry enough to support roads, and the occasional village
containing round huts with thached roofs
this was the type of narrow creeks we negotiated with the canoe
sometimes, wider creeks, always under a brilliant blue sky
hidden in the reeds, a kingfisher
finding birds, disturbed by our presence
a fish eagle hunting
also in the delta, fishermen checking their nets
obviously already having been succesfull
more colourful birds
even in full flight
some of the kingfishers were just waiting to be photographed
many water birds, obviously
some just walk on water, it looks
and lots of sunsets – that I remember
never got enough of them
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