WRITTEN by Alexandria Hilton

The Okavango Delta — an iconic destination to say the very least.

If Botswana has ever crossed your mind, The Delta has likely made its way into your dreams — or at least into your Instagram feed… What would we do without the algorithm?

What if we told you there was more than just the Delta?

ATI’s Director of Exclusive Product and Founders Journeys Advisor, Isabelle Finly, recently joined fellow industry professionals for an insider look at some new products in Botswana; this knowledgeable group made their way across three diverse ecosystems, to camps in private concessions, maintaining a sharp target on great value in a notoriously expensive part of the world.

In order to conserve and maintain natural areas for their natural inhabitants, there are intuitive benefits to high prices for truly remote, wild experiences; as we learn more about Botswana, we aim to work with suppliers who align with our desire to make the region more accessible while maintaining a conservationist’s philosophy.

Who will care about this land without experiencing its unique beauty?

As usual, we are pioneers on this charge to find camps we think our travellers would love. On the list this time around were Setari, Karangoma, and Mokete, none owned by the same operator.

Setari stuck out as a birder’s paradise. If you want to wake up late nestled amongst the branches above the tributaries of the Delta, this may be your heaven. If you want to get the heart rate up a bit, jet boat a little bit too close to a hippo and you’ll immediately decide that you were adequately immersed back at camp

Wild Expeditions’ Karangoma, a small, brand new camp “in the guts of the delta” surprised Isabelle with a once-in-a-lifetime experience: “We got to swim in the Selinda spillway… which was…” (if it rendered her speechless, I know it must have been something special!)

With lots to do and an inimitable rawness, this camp represents the welcoming draw of Botswana. Skittish game indicates that the land is recovering from recent heavy poaching activity but with an incredibly experienced team at its helm, it is sure to be producing great content in the near future.

When I spoke with Isabelle about her experience on this educational mission, her enthusiasm about Wilderness Safaris’ Mokete shone brightly: “I mean… what a place!” As her eyes lit up, she extended her arm out far and used her hand as a sort of map of the area to help me understand the key elements of the Mokete equation.

The Mababe Depression is an area newly teeming with an unusual variety of animals in massive numbers as a result of unprecidented tectonic plate movement; a lone dot on an unmarked map, this new Wilderness camp epitomizes right place, right time.

Isabelle said something that struck me as oddly profound when she spoke about the extraordinary game-viewing: “Water is life; It’s astounding what it does for the environment.”

And it made me, mid-interview, pause to think about the incredible power of a place such as this to connect humans with the earth we call home. While we ventured beyond the rounded boundaries of the Okavango Delta, we came back to water — which makes us no different from the animals we are so keen to observe.

As travel professionals, we may become increasingly difficult to please; perhaps it is a risk we knowingly take. For this reason, I must applaud Mokete and Wilderness Safaris for their ability to compel someone with Isabelle’s experience recount to me the water, of all things. Our goal is always to send you somewhere that will remind you of the miracles all around us, to send you home with a newfound sense of appreciation and wonder for everyday epiphanies, for the ordinary vitality of water.

Cover image by Wilderness, photographed by Caroline Culbert