The filmmakers at National Geographic offer a unique exploration of the effect that mankind has on his environment with this documentary that asks exactly how much waste a single person will generate, as well as how much fuel a single person will use over the course of their entire lifetime. Not knowing where you are in the vastness of the Okavango Delta can be overwhelming as you go deeper and deeper into the unknown wilderness. The 2014 Okavango Expedition will be used to test research and survey techniques for the 2015 Okavango River Expedition. This feature documentary film, Okavango, is the centerpiece of the Okavango Wilderness Project. Without a film we have no hope of achieving our goal to preserve one of the world’s most valuable wildernesses. Our universal message is that the irreversible loss of our last true wilderness areas will be the greatest tragedy of our time. This is the iconic, unfilmed narrative of what is happening on the African continent. A view from the live representation of the 2013 Okavango Expedition that was updated every 20 minutes and shared all research data every day. We share all research data, tracks, habitat photographs, sound recordings and biometrics (e.g.
Africa’s last-remaining wetland wilderness, Botswana’s Okavango Delta, depends on pristine floodwaters from the world’s largest undeveloped river catchment, the Kavango Basin, in Angola and Namibia.
The unique wonderland and wildlife sanctuary that still exists in the Okavango Delta is the direct result of 34 years of war and instability. From a country in turmoil with heavily-armed militias and foreign powers meddling in government and natural resource management, Angola is now a rapidly-developing Africa state with accumulating oil revenue and development partners ready to stimulate economic growth and development. The Okavango Delta is the beating heart of the Kalahari Desert and an important part of our global heritage visible from space.
Okavango Delta and the entire Okavango River up to Huambo, the source of the Okavango River. The Okavango Delta and the river system is under stress already and any interventions must be carefully considered. We need to discuss adaptation funding to minimise social and environmental impacts by maintaining rapid flow in the river and minimising off-take for irrigation, canals or cultivation of floodplains.
Annual flow rates of the floodwaters entering the top of the Okavango Delta as a measure of the magnitude of the annual flood over time (1984-2014). The 2014 expedition will coincide with the lowest possible flood levels without making passage impossible.
Every year our hardships in crossing the Okavango Delta due to lack of floodwaters highlights the immediate impacts of global warming. The 2015 Okavango River Expedition will explore the Cuito Subcatchment in the Angolan highlands, passing just over 1,200 miles down the length of the river through Namibia’s Caprivi Strip and across the Okavango Delta over 3 months. Steve poling past a large pod of hippos, some elephant, lechwe and abundant birdlife near Mombo Camp in the heart of the Okavango Delta.
This is the world’s most important conservation opportunities and one of our last chance to save a vast untouched landscape representative of our ancient past. There are few places on Earth that are so grand, so magnificent because of the resident wildlife.
High resolution satellite imagery of the Kavango Basin will be used to prioritise areas along the river for exploration and survey work.
We hope to create an indigenous knowledge network along the entire length of the Okavango River that enables networking and information-sharing. Our aim is to create a strong, active network of local stakeholders able to represent the interests of local communities as a voice for the river itself. The Okavango Delta is so amazing and filled with wonder, because it is so delicate and improbable. There are most likely diamonds, uranium, and rare earth minerals in those Kalahari sands, and both Angola and Namibia needs food and water.


2013 Okavango Expedition Team after an epic 340km journey across a very dry and difficult Okavango Delta for the annual wetland bird survey. The mission of the Okavango Wilderness Project is to secure the Okavango Delta and its vast untouched catchment in perpetuity. The Okavango 2014 team joined viewers around the world for a Google+ Hangout on Air on Friday, August 22, 2014, answering questions, showing off their amazing surroundings, and telling stories of their adventure. Born and raised in South Africa, National Geographic Emerging Explorer Steve Boyes has dedicated his life to restoring and preserving Africa's wilderness areas and the species that call them home. Okavango Delta Traverse (August 2014)For the first time ever a group of National Geographic explorers will be sharing their every move, their research, what they are seeing, what they are hearing, their very heartbeats, and their thoughts and tweets in real-time via satellite while exploring one of the world’s richest wilderness areas, Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Into the OkavangoFollow the Okavango expedition via data uploaded daily to satellite by the team in the Delta.
Groundbreaking computer graphics and detailed studies combine to highlight the long-term impact that our lives have on the world we inhabit. Africa is rising and needs to be wary of what happened to Europe, America and China when they put economic growth and development above wilderness and our natural heritage. This is an independent film about a once-in-a-lifetime expedition down an unexplored river within one of the world’s last-remaining true wilderness areas.
In 2014, we will be on the water by mid-August conducting the 5th Okavango Wetland Bird Survey by poling 300-340km over 18 days along a transect route through the remote central wilderness of the Okavango Delta. All data, biometrics, sights, sounds and thoughts will be uploaded in real-time on the 2014 Okavango Expedition. The dry, ashy floodplains named for their grey peat ash create the enigmatic red and orange sunsets in the central delta. Irrigation schemes, rice, mining, dams, logging, plantations, charcoal, settlements, bushmeat, and hydro-electric weirs in the remote catchment are coming with (and most likely funded by) new roads and railways built by Chinese contractors and entrepreneurs. Now, bizarrely, peace and progress threaten this unique, almost anachronistic, wilderness that should not exist. The Kavango Basin was the location of the biggest battles of the South African Border War (1968-89) and Angolan Civil War (1975-2002).
Note the two sub-catchments in what is one of the remotest regions of southern Africa, inaccessible by road, aircraft or boat.
We urgently need to survey and study the length of the main river, sub-catchments and tributaries to identify areas of conservation importance around which to build new protected areas. This timing concentrates most of the wildlife along the last flowing channels we are finding and poling down.
It is getting so hot in winter now that more and more of the water is evaporating from the river before reaching the delta. There will be seven experts on the 2015 expedition, focussing on gathering the environmental, biodiversity and social data necessary to motivate the establishment of new protected areas. Bespoke Apps linked to automated cameras and microphones, satellite connectivity and WiFi, advanced GPS and satellite imagery, and a team of experts make the ground survey and exploration of the Cuito Sub-catchment possible.
Local communities see large mining, industrial and agricultural developments very differently from the developers and politician in Luando or Windhoek looking to increase GDP and broker foreign investment.
It is unbelievable that, in our day-and-age, such a place still exists. There are, however, currently no protected areas in a vast catchment the size of Texas. Mining exploration, agricultural development, infrastructure, energy projects and population increase march onward in a prosperous Angola.
The National Geographic film Okavango is a rallying point for the global community of stakeholders, government officials, researchers, activists, tourism operators, community members, conservationists and guides that support the protection of the Angolan catchment. This team of baYei River Bushmen, scientists, data artists, writers, photographers, bloggers, naturalists and conservation engineers will be taking the very pulse of Africa’s last-remaining wetland wilderness.
Data is also available through a public API, allowing anyone to re-mix, analyze, or visualize the collected information.


Everyone knows that our time on Earth is limited, and in this documentary environmentally conscious viewers are offered a playful yet thought provoking look at our unique role in the grand scheme of things. The purpose is to undertake the most in-depth biodiversity survery ever undertaken in this delicate ecosystem. We will be unarmed, have minimal food rations, and no possessions, living like baYei River Bushmen as we pole our traditional dug-out canoes from “source to sand”. Angola is now Africa’s 5th largest oil producer and wants to invest in food and water security in their remote eastern highlands. Blown our tanks, helicopters, fighter jets and armoured vehicles are scattered across the catchment.
It is going to take a multi-national effort to conserve one of the world’s last functioning wilderness areas. This one-of-a-kind alluvial fan will hopefully be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in June this year. A unique opportunity to census wildlife and survey biodiversity on a transect through the inaccessible central delta. Saving the Okavango Delta is our responsibility of all of us as global citizens and agents in the demise of this delicate wilderness.
The Okavango Wilderness Project is a long-term community-based conservation project that aims to establish a well-protected landscape within a multi-national UNESCO World Heritage Site. Slow, careful passage down the river on traditional dug-out canoes will introduce us to the people of the river. Rapid development will come to the Kavango Basin and we need the local villages and communities along the river to be ready. Readers can help build up to our 8-week expedition over 1,000 miles down the length of the Okavango River in 2015 by sharing this epic, once-in-a-lifetime research and conservation expedition down the full length of the Okavango River through an abandoned wilderness into the Delta.
This ground-breaking expedition launches on the 17th August and will most likely finish on the 3rd September… Join us and meet the expedition team at intotheokavango.org. They will travel like baYei River Bushmen and be subject to the dangers of encountering the worlds largest-remaining populations of elephants, thousands of hippos, 15–foot crocodiles, and some of the last–remaining super–prides of lions on Earth.Click here for more information. We are, in essence, benchmarking this wilderness so that we can notice any significant changes in the future.
Water is scarce in Namibia and planned irrigation schemes from the Okavango River could double their water consumption as a country.
In the Kavango Basin, we have one of our last opportunity to preserve history out of the ashes of decades of war at a time when Africa was being stripped of natural resources in the post-colonial period. We will trade with them, learn their language, and hold community meetings along the way to measure support for conservation.
If we protect elephant corridors along the main tributaries of the Zambezi, Kwando and Kavango catchments, we may be able to protect ancient migration routes for the world’s largest-remaining elephant population and other wildlife.
What happened to the Colorado Delta in just decades, could happen to the Okavango Delta in years.
This is a wild landscape of unparalleled beauty dependent on pristine floodwaters from a remote undeveloped, unprotected river catchment in Angola and Namibia.
Our baYei guides and mentors from the Okavango Delta will meet the community upriver that have heritage rights to the catchments that keeps their delta alive.
Please watch this new Okavango Film Project promotional video for the 2014 Okavango Expedition!



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