Wilderness Safaris, Preferred, Recommended, Offical, Premier, Travel, Agency

Journeys with Insight
Oddballs Palm Island

Oddballs Palm Island

The legendary drama of Botswana’s Okavango Delta is re-created each year as millions of gallons of water gush down from the Angolan highlands and into northern Botswana. Two Angolan rivers converge to form the Okavango River which in turn spills its water into approximately 5,800 square miles of the Kalahari Desert . . . and the delta is born!

There is some amount of permanent water here, but without seeing it first-hand, it is difficult to imagine the transformation that occurs when water floods the arid terrain. This anomaly of wetland and desert cohabiting for a time is what makes the delta extraordinary. The seemingly impossible concentration and diversity of plants, amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles is what draws tourists here year after year.

The delta is home to wildlife including lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, hippo, giraffe, lechwe (rare), tsessebe (rare), sitatunga (rare), otter, honey-badgers, pangolin, and many smaller cat and cat-like animals such as civets, cerval, and genets. Reptiles include crocodile, tortoise, terrapin, lizard, skink, and chameleon. Not surprisingly, the bird life in these wetlands is particularly spectacular. The more than 450 species will have you reaching for your book to identify them all and scanning the skies, trees, and marshes for the rarer ones.

It is one thing to list the animals and to discuss the riverine terrain, but it is an altogether different matter to experience it in person. At first, it will overwhelm you, robbing you speech, and then when you recover the words will need to tumble out as you try to explain it all at once!

Oddballs Palm Island has fourteen en-suite dome tents, each one slightly raised off the ground on a platform and protected from the weather by overhead shelter or shady trees. The tents have bedding, storage in a trunk, and lovely outside showers and toilets. The main area has a bar and lounge area with cozy chairs and sofas, a selection of books and games, and a great viewing deck. The deck is the ideal place to relax, admire the locale, and enjoy a drink as you wonder at the incredible sunset, spot wildlife in the surrounding bush, or stargaze in the southern skies.

Activities at Palm Island are a real luxury as they are conducted by a professional guide who takes no more than two guests per excursions. The guide is a man of the delta, born and bred here. He will lead you along the winding channels and into the Moremi Game Reserve, which well known for its abundance of bird and animal life. It might even be possible to visit his village, Sedibana, and be introduced to his family.

When the water levels permit, an excellent way to maximize a visit here is to take a mokoro (traditional dug-out canoe) trail into the deeper reaches of the delta. Bringing only your own sleeping bag, all the other equipment is provided by the camp and is packed into the boat. You will camp under the stars and experience something that creates memories for years to come.

If you are ready to get started planning your journey, click here to fill out our travel questionaire.