Thursday, March 03, 2016

Flying Over the Okavango Delta

Yesterday, we stopped at Mack Air for reasons quite unrelated, casually asked about the availability for scenic flights over the Okavango Delta, and the next thing we know they are making arrangements. So, at 3:30 we were waiting in the air conditioned lobby ready to go. We showed our passports, bought our tickets, and walked across the street to the airport. All quite laid back here.

In the airport we, of course, had to go through the metal detector. I had forgotten that I had my pocket knife with me attached to my belt as usual, so the alarm sounded. After a few minutes, it was agreed that my knife would be held for me back at Mack Air and I could get it when we return. Cool.

We moved on to the waiting lounge. There our escort came over and told us that as soon as the pilot has serviced the plane, Godfrey would come pick us up to take us to the plane. Also, Godfrey would return my knife to me once we were out of the airport. Sure enough, we got into the back of the van and my knife was returned! If you are still looking for ways that Botswana is not like the US for some reason, here's one for you.

The land we flew over was as flat as any I'm seen. To the horizon in any direction was simply featureless on the large scale. However, looking below us was a wonderland of bogs, rivers, lakes, grass tussocks, Mopane trees, and giant termite mounds.

Although difficult to see in these photos, there were also numerous animal tracks running from the trees to the edge of the water everywhere.

In the photo above you can see the marshy delta with what appears to be trees in the distance just at the horizon. No sure if you can see it here on these smaller images, but with the larger versions filling the computer screen, it is clear that the curvature of the earth is visible. We were flying at about 3700 feet and could make this out. If you have a photo to analyze, you don't need sub-orbital flights to see that we live on a round ball.

This view of the delta beggars description. It is endless, beautiful, filled with life and, more than a little humbling. It really puts our place in the world in an adjusted perspective. This is the world before us and may well be what there is after us. We are passing through a landscape that is timeless. We would do well to remember our place in it.