Essex Central Magazine - Dec 18

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GO WILD

"CHIF.I'.DB<G AI:FAE 4DHGE@EG+BC9I<F;CEDBHA3 !FEA=GCGIBAIGI?GC>?F<+H> 47I0F;E@I'.DB<GIEFIE@H AF;E@IGC>IAF;E@HGAE3 G:B4BGIEFIE@HI=HAEIGC> CFDE@3IGC>I B:4G4=HIEFIE@H CFDE@HGAE8 Incredible scenery, extraordinary wildlife viewing opportunities and a friendly culture means there are endless reasons to visit. From December to March, Botswana is at the height of the Green Season when its temperature is high, plant life ourishes and many species give birth. The water recedes on the ood plains and more of the land can be explored on foot or in a game vehicle. In April the inundation begins, transforming the land into oodplains. The delta is at its height in June to October and Botswana becomes unlike any other landscape. Best viewed by air, visitors can marvel at the spectacular beauty when ying from camp to camp. As many as 580 bird species have been recorded here, with 75 larger mammal species known to occur and more than 80 ďŹ sh species identiďŹ ed in the Okavango. But it is often the sense of wilderness and pristine

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functioning ecosystems that has the most signiďŹ cant impact on visitors. It is an ideal destination for those who want to see sunsets that burn across salt pans, river deltas, long carpets of veldt (grassland) and some of the richest wildlife concentrations in the world. From the north west, the landscape shifts from the soggy, buzzing wetlands of the Okavango Delta to the dried-out crystalline cakes of the Nxai Pan salt ats. In a country full of stunning natural beauty, the Okavango Delta stands out, perhaps because Botswana is such a thirsty, dry country, where much of the rest of the landscape its between desert and semi-desert. The Okavango is one of the last remaining unspoiled wilderness areas of Africa. It is fed by the oodwaters of central Africa and covers an area of approx. 16,000 square kilometers. These waters fan out into the Delta forming a wetland system of beautiful palm-fringed channels, a myriad of twisting papyrus-ďŹ lled waterways, lagoons and palm-fringed islands where herds of elephants come to drink and that support a wealth of fauna and ora. Nowhere on Earth that comes remotely similar to this wonderful ecosystem, so much so that it

became the 1000th site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2014. The exciting way to explore is by dugout canoe, locally called a mokoro. You are gently propelled through this magical wonderland by your own knowledgeable guide normally whilst sipping a gin and watching the sunset, a truly once in a lifetime experience. Game drives are another fantastic way view wildlife. Each day at sunrise and again in the afternoon, following a sumptuous high tea, you set out in open-top Land Rovers, which are durable enough to navigate the most rugged terrain and deep water. The