Okavango. A Journey, by Adrian Bailey and Robyn Keene-Young

Okavango. A Journey, by Adrian Bailey and Robyn Keene-Young. ISBN 9781770072718 / ISBN 978-1-77-007271-8

Okavango. A Journey, by Adrian Bailey and Robyn Keene-Young. ISBN 9781770072718 / ISBN 978-1-77-007271-8

Okavango. A Journey is a small but masterful work by Adrian Bailey and Robyn Keene-Young and well complemented by the informative text.

Robyn Keene-Young  Adrian Bailey  

SUMMON THE COURAGE TO LEAN OUT OF THE OPEN COCKPIT AND peer down at the scene below. Three hundred feet beneath me the Okavango River is doodling large lazy loops across a green backdrop of papyrus swamp. It is late July, the flood has been and gone, exposing the sandy river walls where Southern Carmine Bee-eaters will flock to nest and raise chicks in the coming months. I’m flying over the Panhandle in a daisy-yellow Tigermoth biplane, sharing this patch of sky with pilot Shane and a squadron of vultures and Marabou Storks that are loitering in the thermals alongside the aircraft. They are also studying the ground, with far keener vision, waiting for a meal to present itself. I have entered the domain of those with wings, where birds and dragonflies rule by day, bats and mosquitoes by night. When I look down again I realise we have crossed an invisible line, the narrow river has widened into a messy sprawl of channels and lagoons. Here, in the Permanent Delta, a thin sheet of water, fuzzy with reeds and mended by patches of green and yellow islands, reaches all the way to the horizon. The islands range in size from small barren termite mounds to sinuous land-masses, sprouting forests of palms, jackalberry and fig trees. In a quiet backwater a lone fisherman is hauling in nets from his mokoro, ignoring us as we pass overhead. Behind him a pod of hippos loll in a channel the colour of weak tea. Threads of hippo trails wander everywhere, randomly connecting flood plains, islands and sequins of pools. We attract more attention from a flock of flamingos perched on an island. They rise up, flashing crimson as they bank in unison. On the far side of the same island, a two-tone elephant extends his trunk toward the fruits of a real fan palm tree. His broad back and massive head are dusted light grey, but he glistens black from the belly down, white tusks sparkling after a dip in the delta. The landscape takes on a paisley pattern as we edge nearer the Seasonal Delta. Abandoned channels draw pale flourishes that curve around clumps of trees, the ghosts of islands from wetter years. It hasn’t rained in months and the earth looks anaemic and weary. Skeletons of torched trees lie on the ground in piles of white ash. Tracks, deeply etched in the dirt, converge like wheel spokes on a parched depression that held rainwater until two moons ago. But relief is on its way. The Okavango tide is slowly trickling in, like a balm to the scabs of burnt vegetation and fields of yellow grass that it washes over. A dust cloud materialises into a herd of buffalo making its way to the water’s edge. Soon other animals will follow their noses, and their thirst, to congregate on these shores. In the distance, smoky plumes drift across the horizon. I take them for bush fires or dust devils. They are, in fact, flocks of Red-billed Queleas, thousands of them swarming in languid ripples between land and water. For many of the delta’s avian inhabitants the air doubles as a highway and a restaurant. Tawny, and African Fish eagles incite mass hysteria by plunging into the waves of queleas, picking off confused stragglers.Up ahead, I see a dirt airstrip hugging the edge of an island and we begin our descent. From the open cockpit I can feel the wind on my face and smell the smoke of wood fires. The last thing I see is a Secretary bird perched on its nest in the crown of a small tree. Then I shut my eyes and prepare for a dusty, bumpy landing. We touch down like a butterfly. [...]

This is an excerpt from the book: Okavango. A Journey, by Adrian Bailey and Robyn Keene-Young.

Title: Okavango. A Journey
Authors: Adrian Bailey; Robyn Keene-Young
Struik Publishers
Cape Town, South Africa 2006
ISBN 9781770072718 / ISBN 978-1-77-007271-8
Paperback, 21x21 cm, 144 pages, throughout colour photos, 1 map

Bailey, Adrian und Keene-Young, Robyn im Namibiana-Buchangebot

Okavango. A Journey

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