During our group tour of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, we had the opportunity to take in a scenic flight over the Okavango Delta in Botswana. I don’t really like flying, especially in a little airplane. But was I going to let the butterflies in my stomach stop me from this cool adventure? Heck, no!
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The flight company our tour operator used was Mack Air, based out of Maun. The company opened in 1994, so it has a long history and a good reputation, which should ease the fears of any nervous flyers out there. They offer tourist transfers, scenic flights, supply runs to and from game lodges, and evacuation services when needed.
The plane we took was a little Cessna. I believe it was a Cessna 210 Centurion, based on information from Mack Air’s website and the number of seats the plane had. Unfortunately I don’t have a great penchant for technical specifications like this! But I do have a photo:
Before we took off, our pilot asked if we wanted him to fly nicely, or if we wanted a more thrilling flight. I asked him to please fly nicely because I didn’t know whether airsickness would be an issue for me or not. This was the smallest plane I had ever flown in! Luckily the pilot was accommodating and true to his word. The flight was surprisingly smooth.
UNESCO added the Okavango Delta to the World Heritage List in 2014. The delta is produced by seasonal floods. Water from the Okavango River surges and spreads over the delta between the months of March and June. The floods peak between June and August, which draws a huge number of animals to the area each year.
As one would imagine, this sort of tour isn’t great for spotting small animals. But we were lucky enough to see some giraffes and of course, elephants from the air. Quite a few, actually. Botswana actually has the highest population of elephants in Africa. If your camera has a good zoom lens, you’ll also be able to see lions, rhinos and hippos.
It was wonderful to see so many elephants in one place, even if they looked really tiny from the sky!
On the way back we got some nice aerial views of Maun, which is the fifth largest town in Botswana. It has a population of approximately 56,000, so it’s not a huge town. But it offers the necessities, if you decide to stay for a night or two:
I was actually sad to see the scenic flight over the Okavango Delta come to an end. It was really fun! And, as it turned out, I was wise to ask the pilot to go easy on us. A woman from our tour that was on one of the other planes apparently wasn’t so lucky: she needed an airsick bag!
How to Book a Flight Over the Okavango Delta
Several companies offer scenic flights over the Okavango Delta. If you’re taking a group tour, a scenic flight may already be included as part of your tour package. If not, here are a few companies to try:
Scenic flights over the Okavango Delta usually depart from Maun International Airport. Most flights last approximately 45 minutes to an hour, including take off and landing.
Where to Stay
Staying in the town of Maun is the best option for booking a scenic flight over the Okavango Delta. Start your search here: