Torrential rains flood the Angolan mountains in November with a fury that is better described of hurricanes. Over this continent that is known most by its massive deserts and seemingly unending droughts, this area rivals Hawaii in rainfall. It comes quickly and destructively, eroding aeon-old mountains with the force of a buzz jaw and giving little hope to either agriculture or forestry. As it flows south and east, it meets the pure drain-off of the sparse rains that sprinkle the great Kalahari Desert, increasing even more its awesome flow.
As the water drains east, some of Africa’s greatest rivers form: The Okavango, the Kwando, the Linyanti and finally, the Zambezi. In the efforts to form this one great Zambezi, as much as half the water spills back onto the desert. And as the desert draws unbelievable amounts of water into its deep sands only to be eventually percolated back out of the porous earth, it produces a delta of the most beautiful and mysterious proportions imaginable.
The Okavango Delta is the temporary refugee of this deluge of water before it disappears back into the rivers or evaporates over the heat of the desert, and as such is ever changing, constantly beautiful and fecund, truly Africa’s Garden of Eden.
With the rise and fall of the water level, islands are formed and disappear, change and move as bogs through a marshland the size of Texas. Africa’s most beautiful flowers and grasses, water-based trees like the mango, and bird life is found here. On the many islands is much big game, like buffalo and puku, red lechwe and sitatunga. But what is clearly the most magnificent impressions of the delta is the foliage and many rivers that weave a dynamic and fluid maize through this enormous wilderness.