26 years ago we left London for a year of backpacking and overlanding.
With 10 others in a converted military truck, we traveled through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and eventually Zimbabwe.
We arrived in Botswana during the annual flood of The Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and massive marshland region near the Kalahari basin.
During the flood, wildlife large and small migrate to the delta. As the waters rise, they are increasingly concentrated on the higher-elevation islands:
"The Okavango Delta...displays an extraordinary juxtaposition of a vibrant wetland in an arid landscape and the miraculous transformation of huge sandy, dry and brown depressions by winter season floods triggers spectacular wildlife displays: large herds of African Elephant, Buffalo, Red Lechwe, Zebra and other large animals splashing, playing, and drinking the clear waters of the Okavango having survived the dry autumn season or their weeks’ long migration across the Kalahari Desert."*
We were pretty green and we learned a lot:
- Don't paddle between a hippo and the shore
- When being chased by a charging water buffalo, zig zag!
- Don't look for a lion in tall grass
- Don't drop your flashlight into a croc-infested river in the dark of night
In remote areas teeming with wildlife, we had to depend on our vehicle.
Decades later, while building our GR GEAR 4x4 gear-hauling dual-slider Sprinter — the name "OKAVANGO" seemed like the obvious choice.
*Source: UNESCO World Heritage Centre