acacia blossoms

acacia blossoms

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

water world

Water - bright bands of blue threading their silken way between spikey
grasses, filling up sandy burrows, wrapping round tree trunks,
spilling onto roads. Floodwaters from heavy rain in Angolan highlands
are pushing into Botswana's northern waterways. Channel beds that
have been dry for more than twenty years are being tickled into life
by fingers, arms, whole torsos of clean clear water. Flocks of birds
mark the headway. Bands of marabou storks stand sentinel - a flock of
pelicans wheels in settling amongst the marabou, waiting for the fish
that must follow.

The Okavango River forms the worlds only inland delta in the kalahari
basin of Botswana. It is a miracle of life as a whole pulsing vibrant
river fans out forming islands and oxbows before disappearing into the
sand. From space it looks something like a birds foot. From the air
it is a wonderland of blues, greens, white sand, herds of animals -
great and small, patterned and plain, and great flocks of birds.

Water is life and here a myriad of life forms exist under the water,
on the water, at the edges, in the forests and plains surrounding the
water, and in the air above.
In all the old photograph albums of people who have lived for years in
Botswana there are the inevitable photos of floodwaters - saturated
grasslands and forests, overflowing pans; in a desert country the
arrival of new water is far more interesting than the world events
happening far away. It has to be recorded, measured, discussed.

To the east of the Okavango is the Kwando River that flows through the
Selinda area into Lake Zibidianja and then on to Linyanti and the
Savuti Channel.
The two rivers are linked by a dry channel bed known as the Selinda
With recent water levels rising water has been pushing into the
Spillway again from both sides. Speculation is rife as to whether the
two shall meet again this year. It is 27 years since the Spillway last
flowed in any direction. The tradition is to light a fire in the
middle - when they are close - and let the floodwaters put out the
fire. Progress is being watched carefully and wagers are being taken.

ok geography lesson over for today. I hope i can upload some pictures
of water, then we are off to the Spillway to see how far the water is.


NanU said...

you just make me want to quit the day job and go wandering around Africa for the rest of my life!

Pseudo said...

Thanks for taking us there.

Rosaria Williams said...

Wow! National Geographic could use your observational skills. This is a superb description: I'm there.

karen said...

great, looking forward to the Spillway updates... it is totally fascinating the way that water arrives. Lucky you to be there to experience it!

Angela said...

And I was recently told that the Okavango Delta is on the verge of drying up! Now I see wonderful evidence that this is not so! Thanks, Val! You are taking us to places we usually only get to see on TV, or in National Geographic. You BEING there is such a treat for us! Keep on talking!

Lauri said...

How lovely! I wonder if all this new water is connected to any of this cold weather. Is this global warming Botswana style?

Anonymous said...

I'm going to stop visiting your blog for a while. It makes me agitated!!!!


I watched BBC's The Great Flood this weekend which was great, but it was "only on TV" and then my friend, a real person to me, goes and puts up this post - making the whole thing REAL for me.
Sigh. . .

Love this post

Lori ann said...

i'm with Janet. no, not really :) it is so great to be there through you Val. i would love to see some of those old photoalbums. see how it was pictured back then.

i love your photos, the reflection is so beautiful.

it's not's not fair.
sorry. ☺

have fun checking the spillway, i hope you get some photos of the fire going out. so exciting!

Reya Mellicker said...

The picture of the winter trees with the reflection is truly exquisite, Val.

Water IS life, definitely. After the long drought (was that last year?) how wonderful to have plenty of water.

Reya Mellicker said...

Or do you have a drought every year?

Lorac said...

I want to hear more! Let us know if the water meets in the spillway. Your description and pictures as always tickles the imagination so I can close my eyes and visualize! It is so nice to have friends in distant places. To be able to understand the geography and lifestyles of others. Thank you.