Exploration | Research | Photography | Sharing | Inspiration | Surf | Africa.
Exploration | Research | Photography | Sharing | Inspiration | Surf | Africa.
Fire painting swathes of the Cuito River floodplains, Angola, black, bringing out the texture of past iterations of the river’s course. Fire is a very important part of many ecosystems, but unseasonal fires caused by human activities damage vital components of the ecology that make these places work. Fires are a great responsibilities, think hard before you light one for any reason. The work of the @intotheokavango project in Angola is striving to help open up this region to conservation and develop alternate strategies to destructive practices like over-burning.
Living in harmony with your environment. We came across beehive on a Sausage Tree, and noticed how it had been cut open with an axe a long, long time ago! Communities have not been utilizing this area of the Okavango Delta for over 30 years. Water Setlabosha, our friend and teacher, loves honey more than anyone else I know, and has sought them out his entire life. Following the honeyguide birds, understanding the bees, not harming the source. This is Water investigativing the hive we found, he decided this one was too young and had too little honey to share. Documenting the traditional knowledge of living in harmony with this wild place will be the only way we will learn to truly conserve it for everybody. @intotheokavango #okavango19 #insidenatgeo #natgeo #intotheokavango
The beating heart of the expedition! We are 16 days into our 10th annual scientific survey #okavango19 across the entire Okavango Delta system using traditional mekoro (6m standup canoes ). This year is different though! We are exploring a new route down the eastern side of the delta, arguably the remotest area in the region. Each day at around 3pm we find an island to set camp and make a home for 12 people who have been pushing and pulling themselves through this dense wetland wilderness for the previous 6 hours. Our home is around the campfire, where ever it might be, our sanctuary nestled in our tents, where ever they might be. The sense of community and mutual caring that develops and binds an expedition team makes any place a place of nourishment, security, and society. This is what keeps us focused, alert and safe during the day. Balance. An amazing sunset to milkyway to full moon rise, on yet another magic island, just reminds us of what a privilege it is to in a wild place like this! The @intotheokavango National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project has been working tirelessly over the past 10 years documenting the biodiversity and health of all the waters of the Okavango River System, traversing over 6500km (4000 miles ) of river in just the past 4 years. All this to build the knowledge base to show the government of the region and the world of how important it is to protect this pristine river basin, especially in this time of global freshwater insecurity. Posted on @natgeoadventure @intotheokavango #okavango19 #insidenatgeo #natgeo
Eagle’s eye of the Okavango! We had the amazing opportunity with @helicopterhorizons to spend 3 hours soaring above the delta scouting out routes down the eastern side of the Okavango, specifically the Gueka, Gomoti and Santatadibe channels! These are some of the most remote areas in the system, and are brim full of life in the wilderness. We found beauty, but more importantly we found water to travel on in this year of historically low flood water. We are embarking on our next crossing of the delta on makoro on the 19th July, #okavango19 . This is a new route through the delta for the team, after completing the 9 year survey of the Jao-Boro system on the western side of the delta last year, we start our next 9 year survey of the east, join us for the exploration and discovery! #insidenatgeo #natgeo #natgeoadventure #intotheokavango
Traveling back from a month of running around the United States, reflecting on the amazing connections made and inspirational time spent with amazing people, I still just can’t wait to get back home! This is Hogsback, Eastern Cape, South Africa the location of our family home and the epicenter of my heart in this wondrous region of Southern Africa! I hold only a South African passport, but call this entire region home, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia. This region is the only place on earth I feel truly at home and fully understand the communities around me. My wish is for these borders to drop and everyone realize we are one and can find the best future for people, fresh water, natural resources and wildlife! I feel we are already on this path, let’s keep going together!
The early morning commute across the Tempué River. After the war years, no major road infrastructure, such as bridges, were left intact in the Lisima landscape, only what the local communities had built to keep the economy flowing. Many of these community made foot (such as this one ), motorbike and a few vehicle bridges connect the villages in this landscape now, formalizing this network and making more permanent structures will aid the development of a sustainable conservation economy in the area. @intotheokavango #lisima19 #intotheokavango #insidenatgeo #natgeo
Back in the forest of wondrous creatures! Amazing to be back in largest unfragmented Miombo forest in the world, in the central eastern highlands of Angola. What a privilege it is to spend time in this place and have breath-taking creatures like this mantis pay a visit in your day and then carry on with theirs. Life is beautiful! @intotheokavango #insidenatgeo #natgeo #mantis #intotheokavango
The boiling lakes of the mornings! Nights in the highlands of Angola get extremely cold in the winter months, dropping below -4C at times, with the days still reaching over 30C. The deep waters of the lakes hold this daytime temperature through the coldest early hours of the morning, and as the sun starts approaching the horizon, the still air starts rousing, bringing the cold, moisture laden air and the warm lake water in contact, creation the streaming mists from the lakes. A time of such beauty, a time we miss so much when away! @intotheokavango #lisima19 #insidenatgeo #natgeo #intotheokavango #mistymornings
On the road to Angola again! 🇦🇴 How we long for the beautiful misty morning, thick with moisture, grass drenching your pants on the walk to the morning coffee around the fire! This is our first morning coming into the landscape of the central eastern highlands of Angola, camping along the railway tracks near Cuemba, Bié, Angola! So good to be back! @intotheokavango @insidenatgeo #lisima19 #intotheokavango #insidenatgeo #natgeo #mistymornings
War is not to be forgotten, we have to remember, process and learn! The scars of war are still fresh and tender in Angola, and its effects deeply ingrained in the national consciousness. And from these memories one of the most positive, hard working, community orientated societies has emerged to do everything they can to avoid this conflict again. Monuments have been built, like this one in Cuito Cuanavale, to make sure the lessons of these painful memories don’t fade away, and people embrace the peace and prosperity the country deserves! @intotheokavango #cuitocuanavale #angola #war #peace
Retired too early to the wash station. Once a magnificent hard wood in the great Miombo woodland of central eastern Angola, cut down too early, repurposed into a beautiful makoro (dugout canoe ), only to serve the fisherman that made it for 2-4 years before losing its ability to keep the water out. Another valuable hard wood’s life cut way too short. This cycle of cutting down the forest can not be sustainable, especially with a growing population living off the rivers. We need to look for a more sustainable, environmentally friendly means of river transport with the fisherman. You can see the patch work of pieces of plastic being pasted on this old makoro to try extend its short life, but now it has become the village wash station. Our trees need to be valued for more than this, we need them! And notice the Spotted Eagle Owl land near the right of the makoro near the end of the clip. @intotheokavango #intotheokavango #insidenatgeo #natgeo #timelapse #moonrise #nightlapse
3D Scanning the Delta. We had the incredible opportunity to have the @virtualwondersllc crew come apply their expertise in 3D high definition scanning on the central Okavango Delta. This collaboration between @virtualwondersllc and #natgeolabs will create some of the highest definition imagery of this region as an valuable snapshot of the current state of this wetland wilderness for future comparison to monitor natural and anthropogenic changes to this amazing sanctuary! This is the state of the art camera system hard at work flying detailed transects over the Okavango. #intotheokavango @intotheokavango @natgeo @insidenatgeo
Sharing our space with Giants! With love, respect and understanding we can live in harmony with our giants, our perceived foes, our own demons. Let us all use this New Year, 2019, to identify and learn about our giants, not shy away and fear them, and bring on the harmony we all need to survive and flourish, both internally and externally. 📸 @sandesh_kadur #intotheokavango
Beauty and survival, two factors resonating in the harsh landscapes of southern Namibia. A once vibrant manor house near Grünau, abandoned, crumbles away faster than the timeless environment it stands in. This hyper-arid environment, nestled in between the succulent winter rainfall vegetation of the Succulent Karoo and the woody summer rainfall vegetation of the Nama Karoo, has a stark beauty and vastness that allures, but life is extremely unpredictable and harsh, and few non-native species will find their niche to survive here, humans included. Some places we are just meant to be visitor, let’s try leave them to the species that happily call them home!
The Starry nights of Namaqualand! The crystal clear skies of the Succulent Karoo Biome of Namaqualand, Northern Cape, South Africa, make for some dreamy evenings. This arid region can not support great human populations, therefore very little light pollution, but supports one of the most diverse and interesting floral kingdoms. The succulent slows in this photo make for an incredible landscape, but when you get on your hands and knees and explore the multitude of small succulent plants, the real-life science fiction starts!
Chasing Light! Light brings life to this world! From plants photosynthesizing it into useable energy for all, to bringing the world around us into our reality by burning images onto our retinas and photographic sensors! Chasing beautiful moments of light brings me such deep gratitude in the world around us, and a wonderful challenge to attempt to freeze these moments in time to share. Today the ability of people to capture moments of light is like none other before, and what a world we are all sharing and seeing!
The Fish River Canyon, Namibia! After spending the year in the flat landscapes of the Okavango-Cuando-Zambezi system, a little road trip to breath taking topography and vistas is truly inspiring! This world has so much beauty and inspiration to find in natural wilderness areas, get your maps out, scour Google Earth images, and get out there an explore! #fishrivercanyon #inspiration #explore
Tonight in LA!! So excited to be screening the @intotheokavango film in LA tonight! So great to be back this side of the world, and I finally get to see this incredible work by @neilgelinas on the big screen with an amazing audience! And not long not to sharing it with everyone on NatGeo Wild @natgeowild from the 14/15th Dec, depending on where in the world you are.
It’s raining in Angola! The temperature is rising, water is evaporating, the sky is beginning to boil and the water is beginning to move from the sky to the Okavango system! This is a time of excitement, hope and expectations! When this landscape is dry, it is so dry! No one knows when the rains will come and how they will be. Every drop is to be celebrated, every drop must be valued. Clean, potable water is becoming a scarcer commodity on our planet, we need to value areas that capture it! The eastern highlands of Angola is a water tower, a place that harvests the water from the skies, a place we all need to remain the way it is now! Let’s all educate ourselves on areas like these on this world, and work to guarantee their survival!
Pushing the limits at the Inaugural Ngashi Classic makoro race! On the 6th October this year we, at the Botswana Wild Bird Trust, hosted the first annual Ngashi Classic. An event to celebrate the makoro, a tradition standup canoe, and the culture around using this watercraft of the Okavango Delta, and the Ngashi, the traditional pole made from Silver Clusterleaf , Terminalia sericea, used to propel the makoro effortlessly across this wetland wilderness! We at @intotheokavango have designed all our surveys of over 6500km of river within the Okavango and Cuando System around this beautiful craft and the knowledge of the people who grew up on them. Being able to carry up to 450kg of gear, we can really push the limits in what is possible in research and media production. Here a Bayeyi poler show us exactly how to take a corner at speed at the turning point of the race. #botswanawildbirdtrust #ngashiclassic #intotheokavango
Rays of hope for an incredible future in West Papua! Last year I had the amazing opportunity to go to a land I had only dreamt of, only visualized while reading books, and images thereof halt me in my tracks, the land of Papua. We went on an expedition to West Papua, a far flung province of Indonesia, spent some time up in the remote, forested highlands on the eastern border, and then down to the area around Palau Waigeo in Raja Ampat. What we saw was a place of boundless biodiversity, protected to this point in time largely by remoteness and inaccessibility. But today our capabilities and need for resources have increased so much, no part of our earth is impossible to exploit. So to hear through @shawnheinrichs @sealegacy @bluespherefoundation @conservationid @paulnicklen @cristinamittermeier that we are on the brink of a law being passed declaring West Papua the world’s first Conservation Province, or “Provinsi Konservasi”, with conservation being at the forefront of policy decision making, is just incredible. These organizations and individuals are doing everything they can to support and encourage the adoption of this law! Please go to any of their profiles and learn more about this initiative and how we can all get involved! It’s moments like these we all need to feel the urgency, get together and contribute to the voice, wilderness areas worldwide are disappearing at an alarming rate, and when opportunities like these are created and are standing there, it is our obligation to get involved!! This photo is of a fishing village on Palau Gam, Raja Ampat, the community here has incredible environmental ethics, let’s see if we can help protect the world around them, so the environment they protect and utilize everyday will always remain this way! #provinsikonservasi #protectwestpapua
The Magic of the Rio Kembo! After following over 6000kms of river within the Okavango and Cuando catchments over the past 4 years, the 260km of Kembo River truly stands out clearly in my mind as some of the most dream-like stretches of water! This was the only little step-down rapid of the Kembo where we found some really interesting rock deposits. In this deep Kalahari sand basin, rock is incredibly rare, so I does excite when we find some. But just look at that water!?! #kembo18 #cuando18 @intotheokavango #insidenatgeo #natgeo
The Remembrances of War. Here Elias Ngunga from Kutiti village, at the confluence of the Kembo and Cuando Rivers, walks past an old Viscount plane that was downed in the floodplains of the Cuando River in 1984 during the devastating 40 years of civil war in Angola. Elias grew up in an area ravaged by war, near the stronghold of the opposition forces, and from an extremely young age was brought into involvement running weapons and supplies. Elias is one of the most incredible, intelligent characters we have ever met, and wise way beyond his 28 years. We, at the Okavango Wilderness Project @intotheokavango , are privileged to have met and worked with Elias on the #cuando18 expedition, and look forward to continuing our work with him and his community, to help provide all the opportunity the world surrounding him did not offer in the past, so that he can decide where his future will lie. It is now a time to realize the world is one place, one system with incredible imbalances due to the ways of the past, and we all need to work together to stabilize these imbalances for the perpetual health, survival and well being of everyone and everything! #intotheokavango @insidenatgeo @natgeo
An amazing 30 minutes that everything was just perfect! With the rains starting to build over the Okavango Delta, it makes me think of this moment from January this year and how we wait to see how this season is going to be with such great anticipation! I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited as when I walked to the other side of an island we were camping on, to check what the rumbling was all about, and laid eyes on this incredible scene! A super active thunder storm on the horizon, with starry skies above, and a full moon rising lighting up the tops of the clouds, a whole lot of elements coming together beautifully. This cues the mad scrambling for gear, site selection, camera settings, do not want to miss this! This is the third post I have done from this amazing moment, scroll back to check the other ones, the first one was the day after on 6 January 2017. Just mind blowing the beauty that is out there waiting for us, let’s get out there and find it!