If you come to the symposium, aa visit into the Okavango Delta is a must. It is unavoidably fairly expensive as most tourism lodges are only accessible by air, but everybody who has done it says the same 'it was fantastic, worth every penny'. The Delta is a large, seasonally flood-pulsed wetland with a mosaic like vegetation pattern of permanent swamps, seasonal flood plains, grasslands, riparian woodlands and savanna woodlands. Interspersed there is a network of stream channels by which guides with dugout canoes bring tourists close to spectacular birdlife and wildlife. Guided walks in the bush are also offered and are an almost unique opportunity in Africa. The abundance of grazing mammals is very high and there are approximately 140 000 impala, 60 000 buffaloes, 60 000 Red Lechwe, 35 000 elephants and many other species, including hippos. All the big African carnivores are common: lions, leopards, hyenas as well as the endangered cheetah and wild dog. The birdlife is spectacular with 444 confirmed species; with a rich variety of wetland and aquatic species such as pelicans, herons, storks, kingfishers, the African Fish Eagle and Pels Fishing Owl.
You can find out more about the Delta and surrounding region from the travel guide section of your local library or bookstore, including these resources:
- Botswana : a quick guide to customs & etiquette / Mike Main, Kuperard.
- Botswana : Africa's last wilderness : the complete guide / Linda Pfotenhauer, Longman Botswana.
- Botswana & Namibia / Paula Hardy, Matthew D. Firestone, Lonely Planet.
- Botswana : the insider's guide / Ian Michler, Struik.
- Botswana : Okavango Delta - Chobe - Northern Kalahari / Chris McIntyre, Bradt Travel Guides.
- Fodor's The complete African safari planner
- Wildlife of Southern Africa : a field guide to the animals and plants of the region / Vincent Carruthers. (ed), Struik.
- Zimbabwe and Botswana: the rough guide / Barbara McCrea et al.
The symposium takes place during the rainy season and the weather will be unpredictable. It will not be cold, but heavy showers might come with short notice. It may equally well be completely dry and then quite hot.
Mosquitoes will be around but not in too disturbing numbers. Malaria prophylaxis is recommended. Bilharzia occurs as well, but only close to Maun and other settlements. By avoiding contact with river water where it flows through settlements (i.e. not swimming or wading in the Thamalakane River, which passes through Maun), there is no risk of infestation.
Water supplied through council mains is treated and safe to drink. Most lodges use this water, and display notices on taps that may use boreholes or wellpoints
There are a number of private practicing medical doctors, and two modern hospitals in Maun. Complicated cases are, however, usually flown to Gaborone or Johannesburg. There is an medical evacuation service in town; however, this can be expensive. Please therefore ensure that you have travel and health insurance in place prior to departure.