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Kayaking in the Boondocks of...Botswana
"To meet Africa in silence that's broken only by the drip of a paddle, the call of birds and the rustle of wildlife in the reeds is a wilderness experience available to very few modern-day safari-goers,"
We all have those buddies who gallivant around the globe paddling. Now you can one-up them by actually paddling in, yes, Botswana. This summer, Boulder, Colo.'s Natural Habitat Adventures debuts its first-ever paddling trip across the country's Okavango Delta, promising wildlife, wetlands and a coveted stamp in your passport...
Led by famed paddler Olaf Malver, Natural Habitat's African paddling safari involves a point-to-point kayaking expedition across 120 miles of Botswana's Okavango Delta. The trip will be offered twice in 2014: July 29-August 5, and August 12-19. Malver, an acclaimed global adventurer and member of the Explorers Club, designed the one-of-kind wildlife adventure in conjunction with local partners in Botswana.
The 7-night, 8-day trip, which accommodates a maximum of 10 travelers, includes five nights of wilderness tent camping, with a night on either end at a deluxe safari camp. Paddlers should expect to kayak for an average of 5-7 hours per day over the course of six days in the delta, with one layover day. Malver seeks to return travelers to the era of Africa's early explorers on a secluded voyage through some of the continent's last, best wilderness. The expedition will traverse the delta's varied habitats, from permanently flooded wetlands and clear-flowing channels to dry islands and seasonal floodplains home to big game and predators.
"What's unique about this trip is the opportunity to do something active away from the typical safari crowds, in one of the most wildlife-intense areas in Africa," says Malver. "The adventure holds special appeal for seasoned safari-goers who have done the 'circling' thing - one dusty lion in the middle of 15 Land Rovers - and are ready for a chance to feel alone in the vastness of the great African wild."
Wildlife is the Okavango is prolific. Paddlers who sign on can expect to see hippo, crocodile, buffalo, elephant, giraffe, zebra, warthog, kudu, impala, reedbuck, bushbuck, waterbuck, red lechwe, sitatunga, lion, leopard and more - perhaps even the cheetah, sable and wild dog.
"To meet Africa in silence that's broken only by the drip of a paddle, the call of birds and the rustle of wildlife in the reeds is a wilderness experience available to very few modern-day safari-goers," maintains Malver. "This is a chance to meet nature in a humbling and rewarding way, for those willing to work for it."
The expedition begins with a short chartered flight from Maun to Nguma Island in the permanently flooded northwestern Okavango Delta. It finishes at Moremi Crossing, followed by a return flight to Maun. A 4-day, 3-night luxury safari camp extension is also offered in conjunction with the trip.
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