Into the Okavango @intotheokavango

The National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project is dedicated to securing the protection and sustainable future of the Okavango system. Join us!

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Into the Okavango photos and videos


Hippos inhabit most of sub-Saharan Africa’s freshwater systems. But despite their stature and geographical ubiquity, they are under represented in the symbology of the region. While most African megafauna is featured on state seals or bank notes, hippos have had to occupy the emblematic backwaters. This one did seem somewhat crestfallen, but it was probably because we had camped on the grass he hoped to eat for dinner 📷 : @mauro_s3rgio #intotheokavango #okavango19


Moonrise over a giant baobab and palms on a recent island we camped on. As we’ve moved through the delta, we’ve encountered all sorts of islands. Some are sand and scrub, others have hardwood forests, and some look like tropical paradises. We only ever stay one night, and some are more memorable than others. Sleeping under this gorgeous tree certainly will be hard for forget 📷 : @christurtleboyes #intotheokavango #okavango19 @natgeo @insidenatgeo

3 days ago

Dawn is always a moment of anticipation. A new day in front of us, a new part of the river to discover. We’re drawing to a close and getting close to our goal: when we finish this route, we will have surveyed every major river and channel in the Okavango Delta. A bench mark that’s taken years, but just the first on many ambitious plans for understanding this region we are so privileged to explore 📷 : @goetzneef #intotheokavango #okavango19 @natgeo @insidenatgeo

4 days ago

For the last two days we’ve been in buffalo territory. We woke this dugga boy up from his afternoon nap as we passed by on a channel 📷 : @goetzneef #intotheokavango #okavango19

5 days ago

A pair of damsel flies (catshead sprites ) on a waterlily. These tiny gems of color are constantly flying by us, but it’s rare to have them land long enough to take a photo 📷 : @goetzneef #intotheokavango #okavango19 @natgeo @insidenatgeo

6 days ago

The incredible Mauro Sérgio ( @mauro_s3rgio ) is a National Geographic Explorer and photographer from Angola. He’s been key to telling the story of this first expedition to the eastern side of the Okavango Delta — a story of hippos, historically low water, abundant wildlife, and difficulty of finding a route somewhere explored 📷 : @christurtleboyes #intotheokavango #okavango19 @natgeo @insidenatgeo

2 weeks ago

We saw this elephant wading across the channel to spend his evening on a neighboring island and find his dinner 📷 : @uniquelyfrustrating #intotheokavango #okavango19 @natgeo @insidenatgeo

2 weeks ago

Yesterday we got close to our first giraffe of the expedition, who was checking us out from behind a termite mound 📷 : @uniquelyfrustrating #intotheokavango #okavango19

2 weeks ago

The stars on the delta are unspoiled by light pollution. Every evening they fill the night above us and we watch the Milky Way rise and trace a path across the sky 📷 : @christurtleboyes #intotheokavango #okavango19 @natgeo @insidenatgeo

2 weeks ago

Watching this herd come to the channel for an evening drink was the perfect way to end a day 📷 : @christurtleboyes #intotheokavango #okavango19 @natgeo @insidenatgeo

2 weeks ago

We’re seeing more lechwe. Often you hear these guys running before you see them, they blend in so perfectly 📷 : @uniquelyfrustrating #intotheokavango #okavango19 @insidenatgeo @natgeo

2 weeks ago

Water is the captain of the lead boat, and is the first set of eyes looking for hippos, crocs and our next turn 📷 : @uniquelyfrustrating #intotheokavango #okavango19 @natgeo @insidenatgeo

2 weeks ago

Some elephants enjoyed walking around our tents, chewing and snuffling and farting late into night. Apparently this guy couldn’t get enough of us, because he came by the next morning for his breakfast 📷 : @goetzneef #intotheokavango #okavango19 @natgeo @insidenatgeo

3 weeks ago

Don’t skip leg day! Between finding a new route through the eastern half of the delta and historically low water we’ve spent a lot of time pulling our six mokoros over dry land and around angsty hippos. @natgeo #okavango19 #intotheokavango @insidenatgeo 📷 : @christurtleboyes

4 weeks ago

We were surprised and delighted to spot a Pel’s fishing owl yesterday! These birds are rarely seen, since they are generally nocturnal hunters. #okavango19 #intotheokavango #pelsfishingowl 📷 : @goetzneef

4 weeks ago

A beautiful second day of #okavango19 We poled 10km before lunch and made over 500 observations for the survey. At the end of the day, we got to our first major portage, which means dragging our boats overland to get to the next section of water. After a very dry season, this region is experiencing a drought. This is a new route for the team, but we scouted it in advance and found the shortest route to water was 1km — which isn’t long, but it is when you have two tones of gear and six mokoros to carry. 📷 : @thalefang charles @natgeo @insidenatgeo #intotheokavango

last month

Mokoros are ready and so are we. Today we set off from Maun, driving to our launch point. On the morning of the 19th we begin the next expedition, exploring a new route down the eastern side of the delta. We’re doing it with the help of two local elders who are returning to this section of the delta for the first time in thirty years. With them, we hope to document the cultural knowledge of this area and recording data which will help us better understand the Okavango wilderness. 📷 and caption by @uniquelyfrustrating

May 2019

The early morning commute across the Tempué River. After the war years, no major road infrastructure, such as bridges, were left intact in the Lisima landscape, only what the local communities had built to keep the economy flowing. Many of these community made foot (such as this one ), motorbike and a few vehicle bridges connect the villages in this landscape now, formalizing this network and making more permanent structures will aid the development of a sustainable conservation economy in the area. Photo/text by @christurtleboyes #lisima19 #intotheokavango #insidenatgeo #natgeo

May 2019

Convening the meeting of the administrators and sobas (chiefs ) of the Tempué region under the big fig tree in the heart of the village. After an amazing meeting with the entire community, there is an incredible amount of enthusiasm for the potential future development in the village and the area. The next few years are going to see some beautiful, positive changes for the region, join us for this journey! Photo/text by @christurtleboyes #lisima19 #insidenatgeo #natgeo #intotheokavango #meetingtree

May 2019

The boiling lakes of the mornings! Nights in the highlands of Angola get extremely cold in the winter months, dropping below -4C at times, with the days still reaching over 30C. The deep waters of the lakes hold this daytime temperature through the coldest early hours of the morning, and as the sun starts approaching the horizon, the still air starts rousing, bringing the cold, moisture laden air and the warm lake water in contact, creation the streaming mists from the lakes. A time of such beauty, a time we miss so much when away! Timelapse/text by @christurtleboyes #lisima19 #insidenatgeo #natgeo #intotheokavango #mistymornings #djiglobal #dji

May 2019

Back in the forest of wondrous creatures! Amazing to be back in largest unfragmented Miombo forest in the world, in the central eastern highlands of Angola. What a privilege it is to spend time in this place and have breath-taking creatures like this mantis pay a visit in your day and then carry on with theirs. Life is beautiful! Photo/text by @christurtleboyes #insidenatgeo #natgeo #mantis #intotheokavango

May 2019

On the road to Angola again! 🇦🇴 How we long for the beautiful misty morning, thick with moisture, grass drenching your pants on the walk to the morning coffee around the fire! This is our first morning coming into the landscape of the central eastern highlands of Angola, camping along the railway tracks near Cuemba, Bié, Angola! So good to be back! Photo/text by @christurtleboyes #lisima19 #intotheokavango #insidenatgeo #natgeo #mistymornings

May 2019

News this week...We have been awarded the 2019 Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year. This award is given to those whose actions, achievements and spirit personify leadership in exploration and storytelling. The team are currently in Angola and Botswana but they will congregate in Washington DC in June to accept this award and share some stories. We are immensely grateful to the entire team and all our supporters, partners and collaborators without which we could not continue this important work. #intotheokavango #InsideNatGeo #Explorers #teamwork

March 2019

The beauty of nature’s infinite structures, forms and purpose. The diversity of the aquatic vegetation in a pristine system like the Okavango Delta is integral in its functioning and dynamic equilibrium. Too many freshwater ecosystems have been disrupted beyond a point of recovery, with the extinction of vital species, we need to find the last healthy freshwater habitats, learn everything about them, and make sure they are safe from this irreversible damage experienced by so many other systems! This bladderwort, a carnivorous, aquatic plant, is part of this beautiful balancing act of diversity, providing ecosystem functions in nutrient-poor areas of this environment, we need to protect the world around it, so it can carry on functioning as it has been for the past millennia! Photo by @anandavarma , text by @christurtleboyes #intotheokavango #bladderwort #aquaticvegetation #natgeo #insidenatgeo

December 2018

🇬🇧 The clear and clean waters of the Kembo river meander gently and slowly in a steady flow through the Moxico province in the Angolan highlands - the Water Tower of Southern Africa. From here originate many other rivers that flow in an identical fashion and in all directions, swirling through unspoiled valleys, vast flooded fields covered in reeds and tall grass, surrounded by untouched Miombo forests that stretch for hundreds of kilometres. All our efforts seek to bring global awareness about the existence of this precious, vast, pure wilderness and through our expeditions, studies and observations that we share with you, we aspire to contribute to the sustainable conservation of the area for the long term benefit for Angola and the rest of the Planet.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ••• 🇦🇴 As águas cristalinas e limpas do rio Kembo serpenteiam suave e lentamente num fluxo constante através da província do Moxico, no planalto de Angola - a Torre de Água da África Austral. Daqui originam-se muitos outros rios que fluem de forma idêntica e em todas as direcções, rodopiando através de vales intocados, vastos campos inundados cobertos de juncos e capim alto, rodeados por florestas de Miombo intocadas que se estendem por centenas de quilómetros. Todos os nossos esforços buscam conscientizar globalmente sobre a existência desta região selvagem tão preciosa, vasta e pura, e através das nossas expedições, estudos e observações que compartilhamos com vocês, aspiramos contribuir para a conservação sustentável desta área para o benefício a longo prazo para Angola e para o resto do Planeta.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ••• 📷 & ✏️ by @kodilu during expedition #Kembo18 & #Cuando18 for @NatGeo / @insidenatgeo @intotheokavango ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ••• #Africa #Angola #Moxico #Kembo #Intotheokavango #NatGeo #Insidenatgeo #exploration #expedition #conservation #natureconservation #adventure #river #forest #floodplains #windingriver #wilderness #miombo #travel #wildlife #delicate #mist #aerial #drone

November 2018

The feature length documentary Into the Okavango has been nominated for best documentary of 2018 by the Producers Guild of America, and you'll be able to watch it from the comfort of your home in a couple weeks. On December 14, the film airs on Nat Geo WILD in the US, and will air around the world around that same day. Please check your local listings or post by @neilgelinas #shotonred #natgeo

November 2018

🇬🇧 At sunrise, a group of zebras lifts the dust while crossing a dry floodplain on the way to the river in search of what is most essential for life: water! Okavango Delta, Botswana. 〰️ 🇦🇴 Ao nascer-do-sol, um grupo de zebras levanta poeira ao atravessar uma chana a caminho do rio em busca do que é mais essencial para a vida: água! Delta do Okavango, Botswana. 〰️ 📷 by @kodilu during expedition #Okavango18 for @NatGeo @intotheokavango 〰️ #Africa #Botswana #OkavangoDelta #IntoTheOkavango #NatGeo #Okavango18 #InsideNatGeo #Zebra #Animals #Wilderness #Fauna #Wild #Travel #Sunrise #Wildlife #WildBirdTrust #OkavangoWildernessProject #Exploration #Expedition #Conservation #Natureconservation #Adventure #Okavango

November 2018

🇬🇧 To celebrate the @NatGeoWild premiere of INTO THE OKAVANGO on December 14th 2018, we’ve teamed up with Omaze to bring a lucky winner and their friend out to the Okavango Delta! Your flights, lodging and ground transportation will all be covered. Plus, you’ll even get to meet some of our team! ENTER through our bio link or at #onlyatomaze 〰 🇦🇴 Para celebrar a estreia do filme INTO THE OKAVANGO da @NatGeoWild no dia 14 de Dezembro de 2018, juntamos forças com Omaze para escolher um vencedor sortudo e seu amigo a visitarem o Delta do Okavango! A vossa viagem, alojamento e transporte terrestre serão assegurados. E ainda terão a oportunidade de conhecer alguns dos membros da equipa. INSCREVAM-SE através do link na nossa Bio ou seguindo o link #onlyatomaze 〰️ 📷 by @kodilu during expedition #Okavango18 for @NatGeo @intotheokavango 〰️ #Africa #Botswana #okavangodelta #Intotheokavango #NatGeo #okavango18 #Insidenatgeo #exploration #expedition #conservation #natureconservation #adventure #okavango #elephant #animals #wilderness #waterlily #travel #wildlife #delicate #fauna #omaze @omazeworld

November 2018

🇬🇧 When navigating African rivers and two heads of hippos are sighted above the water, one can be sure that below the water there are 10 times more of them. Cubango river, Cuando-Cubango province, Angola 〰️ 🇦🇴 Quando se navega por rios em África e avistam-se duas cabeças de hipopótamos acima da água, pode ter-se a certeza de que por baixo da água haverá 10 vezes mais deles. Rio Cubango, província do Cuando-Cubango, Angola 〰️ 📷 by @kodilu taken on expedition #Cubango17 for @NatGeo @intotheokavango 〰️ #Africa #Angola #CuandoCubango #Cubango #river #rio #hippo #hipopotamos #hippopotamus #furtividade #Intotheokavango #NatGeo #Insidenatgeo #exploration #expedition #conservation #natureconservation #adventure #wild #wilderness #animal #fauna #travel #drone #aerial #djiglobal #djip4p

November 2018

🇬🇧 The cycle of life! An elephant scull next to a hippo path on one of the many islands that we camped on during the 9th and last Delta Crossing #Okavango18 aiming to survey the wetland birds of the Delta, among other wildlife and nature conservation work. 〰️
🇦🇴 O ciclo da vida! O crânio de um elefante ao lado de uma trilha de hipopótamos em uma das ilhas em que acampamos durante a 9ª e última travessia da Delta #Okavango18 com o objetivo de fazer a contagem das aves aquáticas do Delta, entre outros trabalhos relacionados com a conservação da vida selvagem e da natureza.
〰️ Photo by @kodilu / @angolaimagebank for the @NatGeo @intotheokavango project 〰️ #Africa #Botswana #Okavango #Intotheokavango #Delta #OkavangoDelta #NatGeo #Insidenatgeo #owp #wildbirdtrust #okavangowildernessproject #ngowp #exploration #expedition #conservation #natureconservation #adventure #okavango #landscape #scull #elephant #wilderness #camp #travel #adventure

November 2018

🇬🇧 Gathered around the campfire with a plate of beans & rice - it’s almost impossible to describe with words how rewarding it is to get to this point after a long, hard, hot and sweaty day of slow progress through rivers, streams, mud and tall reeds, recording wildlife numbers along the way and signs of human impact too. This is an adventure and an expedition with a purpose! I hope the image can “speak” the remaining 925 words for itself and convey the mood and feel from one of many such rewarding moments | Photo by @kodilu during  #Okavango18 for  @intotheokavango 〰️ 🇦🇴 Reunidos ao redor da fogueira com um prato de feijão e arroz - é quase impossível descrever com palavras o quão recompensador é chegar a este ponto depois de um dia longo, duro, quente e suado de avanço lento através de rios, riachos, lama e capim alto, gravando números da vida selvagem pelo caminho e sinais de impacto humano também. Esta é uma aventura e uma expedição com propósito! Espero que a imagem possa “falar” por si as restantes 922 palavras e transmitir o clima e a sensação dum dos muitos momentos gratificantes | Foto por @kodilu durante  #okavango18 para  @intotheokavango 〰️ #Africa #Botswana #Okavango #Intotheokavango #Delta #OkavangoDelta #NatGeo #Insidenatgeo #owp #wildbirdtrust #okavangowildernessproject #ngowp #exploration #expedition #conservation #natureconservation #adventure #landscape #camp #camping #wilderness #campfire #travel #team #moonlight #longexposure

October 2018

And so we made it - the #Okavango18 is complete as of October 2nd, 2018. After a grueling 10 hour day on the Boro river, our team pulled into Maun’s Okavango River Lodge, exhausted. And so that completes the 9th and last annual Okavango Delta crossing transect, involving research data sets of a variety of flora and fauna. Our team spent the last 11 days unpacking gear, sorting data & imagery, resting and then the team members flew out to their different countries of origin all over the World. From left to right, row one (standing ): Sandesh ( @sandesh_kadur ), Mia ( @miamaestro ), Eric ( @soundofericpotter ), Sam ( @mrwolson ), Schnapps, Kerllen, Tom, Ralph, Chris ( @christurtleboyes ), Steve ( @drsteveboyes ), Götz ( @goetzneef ), Bally, Kyle ( @kyle_n_gordon ), Koketso ( @koketsomookodi ), Luke ( @lukemanson ), John ( @rustictoad ). From left to right, row two (sitting ): Comet, Judge, G.B., Kostadin ( @kodilu ), Water, Anand ( @anandvarma ), Carmen ( @rocksoon_ ). Also special thanks to everyone who was part of this effort, but was not present at the time when the group photo was taken. An epic group effort: together we stand, divided we fall... —— Photo kindly by @taniamuche —— #Africa #Botswana #okavangodelta #Intotheokavango @intotheokavango #NatGeo #okavango18 #Insidenatgeo @insidenatgeo #owp #wildbirdtrust #okavangowildernessproject #ngowp #exploration #expedition #conservation #natureconservation #adventure #okavango #team #science

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