The week before last I went a shade of envy-green…. After finishing up at Earth Hour after 11 years with WWF, my husband Andy Ridley, who, as you all know, I love and adore, travelled to the Okavango Delta in Botswana – without moi! There he experienced the pure magic that only this part of Africa offers. There is simply nowhere like the Delta. Take a look at his photos to see why I was so jealous…. Andy has written the captions below each photo. If you’d like to join Andy or me in Botswana next year, or if you’d like me to arrange your own personalised African safari through Matson & Ridley Safaris, drop me a line now! Remember that safari camps in the Okavango are incredibly popular, so if you want your choice of camps it’s best to start planning a year in advance.
Heading out into the Delta from Vumburra Plains Camp, we came across this herd of elephants playing.
The Okavango was full of predators that we could see at very close range, including this cheetah at Chitabe
The previous night, near Little Tubu camp, we watched a big female leopard catch an impala ram. We returned in the morning to find the kill still there, and the mother had brought her cub to join her.
This shot was taken on my last game drive at Kings Pool in the Linyanti Concession. This lion was lame and had obviously been in a big fight, possibly with two other lions in his territory. He was resting next to the carcass of a male elephant.
One of the most striking things about flying over the Okavango is that you can actually see the animal tracks in the water between islands. This is the only way to get around the Delta because of all the water – but flying also gives you an amazing perspective of this incredible landscape.
This leopard cub came to check us out and walked right up to within a couple of metres of the Land Rover. What an amazing thing to see – this is one of the big cats that is so rarely seen out in the open and during daylight hours.
I took this shot at Little Tubu while balancing on a mokoro (wooden canoe), one of the best ways to see some of the smaller wildlife in the Delta.
There’s no more dramatic way to realise the scale and beauty of the Okavango Delta than when flying in a small plane over the waterways and islands during the seasonal flood.
This lioness and her sister were stalking a warthog when the warthog startled an elephant, which trumpeted at the warthog, sending it fleeing into the bush. That was the end of the hunt!
We’d been tracking this leopard since dawn at Vumburra Plains. Two hours later we came across him resting in the long grass. At the sight of us, he backed off and made a run for it.
Heading out of the Delta towards Kings Pool Camp, the pilot flew low at 500 feet and gave us an amazing sighting of these elephants from above.
For all the amazing animals that you see, there is something very special about experiencing sunset at the water level in a mokoro. This shot was taken at Little Tubu, one of my favourite camps in the Delta.