A Little bit of Magic from Above

Aug 14, 2013 |  Conservation & Wildlife
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A charted helicopter scenic across the picturesque Okavango Delta is one of those beautiful, rare experiences that can only be compared to a dream in which you stretch out your arms and fly…

Curving with the rivers and channels just metres above the crystal clear Okavango waters, watching enormous crocodiles swimming below like a squacco heron searching for fish, or climbing high to get a better view of the horizons, islands and sprawling water-world below, like an eagle, eyeing out the world.

Unlike the already beautiful flights in fixed-wing charters, these helicopter scenics allow you to remove the doors, leaving no boundaries between you and the beautiful African plains below. The amazing ability to move sideways, back and forth, and up or down and get closer to the things on the ground, gives you a more natural feeling and brings you that much closer to feeling you too can soar!

On a recent flight with Mitch Gameren from Helicopter Horizons, we took off from Mombo Camp on Chief’s Island, hoping to get a new perspective of the delta and take in the breathtaking splendor created by the autumn sunset. We were not disappointed. Flying above the waterways we encountered a large bull elephant having a swim, totally unperturbed by the large buzzing bird above. Pods of hippos looked up lazily as we flew by and crocodiles continued their basking in the last hours of sunlight.

The islands provided us with even more to ‘ahhh’ about. Buffalo moved in herds creating clouds of dust that spoke of their power and mass, journeys of giraffe showed off their graceful gait as they moved between the trees, feeding on succulent leaves and zebra, lechwe and impala filled all areas inbetween. We had the feeling that most of the animals we saw had never before seen a person, way out there in the middle of nowhere, where vehicles cannot go and boats cannot reach. Suddenly we circled to the right, and there below us was a sitatunga. one of the rarest antelope in the Delta! That, paired with the fact that they spend all of their time in the water, makes them extremely difficult to see. Most visitors to Botswana will leave having not even glimpsed one. But here in the air, hovering over the water, this rare antelope looked casually up at us before continuing to feed on the tender grasses in the water.

As we made our way back toward the airstrip to land, the setting sun threw its glorious orange beams across the wilderness and created long shadows from the trees.  This aerial impression of the Delta in all its splendour is marked into our memories forever. If there is only one thing you do on your next visit to Botswana – make it a helicopter scenic. |We never wanted it to end!

Cay

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By Cayley Christos

After glamming it up in the diamond industry for a while, Cayley handed in her glittering Laboutins to enjoy a sweeter life in the African bush. As founder and supporter of the I.A.I.T (Impala Are Important Too) initiative, she spends her days giving impalas the attention they crave, while leopards, aardvark, elephants and the occasional Pel’s fishing owl pass by.

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