Okavango Sekwana Concession
, also known as NG12
, is a private safari area located to the north-west of the Okavango Delta
in northern Botswana
For many years this Sekwana area was considered to be rather peripheral to the Okavango experience, being a very dry area, fringed by human habitation to the north and west and lying outside the Veterinary Fence which supposedly separates wildlife from domestic stock. But this is definitely no longer the case.
Actually Sekwana is an incredibly beautiful place, with magnificent long grass plains dotted with scenic islands shaded by impressive leadwood, sausage and knobthorn trees. Since the extremely high flood of 2009 the area has also been able to offer some wonderful water-based safari amongst a network of intensely attractive channels and floodplains.
Because the area has historically been very lightly used for safari, the wildlife here is less well habituated to vehicles and guides typically need to work a little harder finding predators than in the prime concessions in the heart of the delta. But this is changing fast, with sightings of leopards, lions and wild-dogs all being on the up. Additionally the Vet Fence is also no longer an issue as it is dilapidated and extremely porous and wildlife is free to wander.
Of more concern is the behaviour of the local elephants, which are presently experiencing conflict with local villages as they migrate north into the great mopane forest each year. The matriarchs in particular can be rather skittish and are renowned for aggressively chasing vehicles. Some good people are working on resolving this elephant/human conflict right now and tensions are already easing.
Perhaps the most unique thing about the Sekwana area is that it is home to a top class hot air balloon operation, presently the only one the region and worth going out of your way to experience, it truly is magnificent and much less commercial than in most other safari areas, with pleasantly small four and eight guest baskets.
It is also worth noting that the flood arrives early on this western side of the delta, which makes it a particularly interesting option during the early dry season in Apr/May.
When it comes to accommodation, until recently the area contained something of a ragtag selection of camps, but this too is changing fast, with some of the best safari operators in Botswana finally arriving here and bringing with them the investment, knowledge and experience needed to transform Sekwana into a really high quality safari area.
Whilst this transition takes place, the lodges are all offering much reduced rates compared with the averages for Okavango, so the area really does offer a fabulous safari experience at an unusually good price level.