Excitement reaches fever pitch as water reaches Maun
Around January this year, floods hit many parts of Angola, destroying people’s lives, homes and crops.
Two months later, in March, the same destruction was reported in Zambia where houses, church buildings, bridges and crops were ravaged as the river made its way into Botswana’s North West District.
The Angolan floods were the beginning of a more than 2000 kilometres long journey of the water into Botswana’s world heritage site, the magnificent Okavango Delta.
People living in settlements along the Delta in Botswana have now been issued with warnings to move away from the river as the water is slowly creeping into their homes.
Flying over the Okavango Delta last week Wednesday, the blue water streams snaking around the tall green trees were a marvel to watch.
For me the excitement was to see how far the water was from Maun’s Thamalakane River.
“This place is very beautiful and it is worth every penny to visit. True magic is in timing the floods and the marvel will simply take your breath away. It has that healing effect, and it exudes a sense of serenity. Every one better experiment and describe it in their own words because it is more than amazing,” said Wilderness Air acting Manager, Kago Paul.
The water was moving at a snail’s pace into Boro DRC mokoro station.
Of late, people have defied the extreme social distancing regulations and gone out to see the much-anticipated arrival of the water.
Videos and photographs of people taking a dip into the first flow and canoeing along the river are being shared on social media prompting the North West District council to issue a warning against this practice.
The district commissioner, Keotshepile Leipego warned people that they risk to be charged if they are found roaming around the river without proper movement permits.
“The public is hereby reminded that the country is still in the COVID 19 lockdown period and therefore, everybody should be observing the lockdown rules especially to stay at home,” Leipego stated.
The Okavango River is a lifeline for many people who live in settlements along its water channels. It is a source of food and employment for many and as such there is always excitement within these communities when the water arrives. Some believe bathing or taking a dip into the first flow can bring them better luck.
By Wednesday this week, this water from Cuito and Cubango River in Angola was left with just about fourteen kilometers to reach Maun’s Thamalakane River, a tourism town, which is a gateway into the Okavango Delta.
The two rivers connect at the Namibian and Angola River to create a river that flows into Botswana through Namibia’s Caprivi Strip.
It then enters Botswana through Okavango River, which spreads through many channels that forms the Okavango Delta.
Some of these streams from the delta flow into Boro and Kunyere channels that feeds Thamalakane river and it were these particular streams that I wanted to see from a bird eye’s view when Wilderness Safaris Air offered us a ride above the delta. But we were headed to Seronga, which takes us away from the Gomoti, so I was not able to see this stream.
Nonetheless, from the ground, reports are that Xudum that feeds Kunyere is flowing fast, making it a two-river race to feed Thamalakane.
But where does all this water eventually go? According to Water Affairs department most of the water is seeped into the dry and thirsty sand of Ngamiland and when there is too much water, the rest of it ends in Lake Ngami and Makgadikgadi pans.