A scenic helicopter flight over the Delta might seem like an excessive add-on to pay for when you’re already forking out for a luxury safari camp in one of the most pricey parts of Africa but until you’ve experienced it you will have no idea what you’d be missing out on if you gave it a pass.
Flights usually last around half an hour, within minutes you will be soaring high above the ground and the sights are wondrous. Enormous great elephants can look like small specks below you as the pilot takes you higher to give you the best panoramic views of the Delta.
Then you’ll be lowered down over land and watery channels so the animals became easier to see and you can start game viewing from the air. It is amazing to discover how some species reacted to the helicopter and others didn’t at all. On a recent heli-safari we noticed that the plains game and birds didn’t even acknowledge us, elephants tended to glance up in curiosity, whereas the hippos on the other hand would sink immediately beneath the water, or if they were grazing up on the grass, make a mad dash for the water and splash their way in.
After a while species spotting became a real competition as we strained our eyes and camera lenses trying to spot the more difficult and camouflaged animals. Crocodiles seemed to be a real challenge to spot until we saw one fine specimen having a lovely time sunning himself on an island beneath us.
Different lodges will have different helicopters, but the one we were in, belonging to Belmond Eagle Island Lodge, was utterly fantastic, with open sides to enable us to dangle our legs and lenses out and capture some incredible photos.
Belmond Eagle Island Lodge incidentally is the only lodge in the Delta to have a helicopter on site permanently, and they offer some fantastic deals to make it a really affordable and unforgettable adventure.
We’d recommend it to anyone going to the Okavango Delta as it really will be the highlight of your holiday and if you’re not planning on going anytime in the near future then most certainly add it to your bucket-list for when you do.