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Fabulous Kanana Camp in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

Your safari days spent exploring the palm filled islands include a morning game drive and a short walk on an island, an afternoon relaxing in a mokoro (canoe) and an evening sipping sundowners over the African Plains listening to the chirping crickets and frogs.

Kanana Camp in Botswana’s Okavango Delta is a little piece of paradise and a favourite safari camp of ours. This is a perfect if you want a genuine safari camp, with fabulous and very knowledgeable guides, and you like comfort but do not need ‘gold taps’ and also appreciate the fact that because the camp is small and exclusive, you are known by name and not by room number!

Kanana’s location is remote and you must fly there by light aircraft. You can easily start or end your safari there and is only 25 minutes flight from Maun, yet about as far away and inaccessible as you can get in what is a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

One of the key reasons why we love Kanana so much, is that there is lots to see and do. Not all safari camps in the famed Okavango give you the opportunity to do all activities, but this one does – so you can do a game drive, mokoro ride, motor boat excursion or walk, but one night during your stay you could also have a sleepout, away from everyone, peaceful and at one with nature.

Sitting out on an open grassy floodplain is a raised platform which has a four-poster double bed on top under a mosquito clad net and is surrounded by lanterns. So romantic and just fabulous to sleep out under the stars!  As you drift off to sleep you are serenaded by the painted reed frogs and bell frogs at night and the snorting hippos far away, or perhaps hear a hyena passing by or the rasping sound of a leopard as he calls out from the nearby fig and palm trees. 

Back in camp, are huge individual canvas topped rooms sitting on top wooden platforms and all with a lovely en-suite bathroom. Each bedroom is located right on the edge of the water and has beautiful furnishings and small extra details such as sherry decanters placed in the room for your return in the evenings.

The camp is on the edge of a lagoon ringed with mangosteen, fig and jackalberry trees which provide home, and welcome food and shelter to the wonderful birdlife.  Though there is ‘big’ wildlife here – such as hippo, elephant, and lion, as well as the antelope – kudu, sitatunga and the comical warthog, the birdlife makes this a sought-after destination.

One of the over-riding reasons to visit this area of the Okavango is to see the heronry; probably one of Botswana’s best! Visits to the heronry are by motorboat and over the breeding period late June through October, you can see marabou, white/abdim and open-billed storks, egrets (little and great), kingfishers, pelicans, and African jacana.

The heronry is used for both breeding and roosting of several species of birds. Mid-July sees the arrival of pink-backed pelicans, closely followed by the cormorants, darters, and white egrets. You may see rufous-bellied heron’s with fledged chicks and night herons too. 

Take time to watch the amazing weaver birds, where the males have a really hard time. They spend a long time building the nest, finding the right grass, weaving it into the most beautiful of homes with different weavers build different styles and shapes. There is a great amount of effort involved and this is no ordinary house build. He is architect and builder, a superman with feathers but has a super crotchety picky partner!  Palm leaves and twigs, grasses with the correct flexibility properties, and maybe a leaf or two, he weaves and knots them all to fit in the right dimensions and measurements.

Just when everything is ‘perfect’, the building inspector aka - the partner, comes along and scrutinizes it thoroughly. If not up to scratch, then she snaps it right down again, and he must rebuild or make significant home improvements.

The vegetation of the Okavango is special and the Kanana’s area is so typical of this region and comprises of open shallow floodplains covered with a mosaic of Lily pads, Cyperus grasses and assorted floating sedges with small crystal clear channels and pools of open water. Scattered randomly throughout the area are Gomoti figs (Ficus verruculosa), waterberry and papyrus reeds.

A most wonderful way to start your mornings at Kanana is with a walk on one of the islands. You can slowly walk under a canopy of trees, always escorted by your professional guide, looking for the small stuff. You may follow the spoor of a lion or just enjoy the wildflowers, trees, and grasses at close hand, perhaps see a dung beetle rolling his ball along and follow him. He makes such an enormous effort to find the right place to bury it for his young to feed on later.

Your guide will encourage you to listen and test your senses - the chirping birds, a baboon in the distance sounding an alarm or lechwe splashing away through the water as they cross to another island. Maybe a new smell indicates something ahead to watch for. Walking in the bush will awake your senses and bring the Okavango to life.

You can also visit local communities and witness first-hand how the support from the tourism industry is sustainably improving their lives. Your trip will be contributing enormously to these various charitable projects. This transforms your journey into a once-in-a-lifetime conservation inspired safari where there is a direct contribution.

For further information, please do feel free to contact Kate directly The Explorations Company for further inspiration and unforgettable safaris and holidays to Africa, Asia, and Latin America

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