Firstly, plenty of life-giving water. That’s important, of course. The water of the Okavango Delta has taken the trouble to make its way down from Angola before spreading out across the flat desert sands of Botswana. At this point the water slows down so much that it drops all the good stuff it scooped up on its way – nutrients we call them, because they nourish the soil in which they land.
There’s plenty of soil too. Much of the Delta has more water than land, but Mombo stands on the largest landmass in this wetland – fittingly called Chief’s Island – so there’s plenty of dry land for the soil to work with the water and sun to create a fertile ecosystem.
But, there’s more. The original wetlands and papyrus that covered this area long ago formed a mass of decaying vegetation that burnt and smouldered underground (known as ‘mombo’ in seYei). The result? Plenty of nutrient-rich ash … the very basis of this Eden.
With such a large buffet laid on, concentrations of herbivore hordes are high. And when we say hordes… impala, giraffe, buffalo, wildebeest, zebra are there in their hundreds if not thousands. In fact, in a scientific study, zebra densities are 13 times higher in this area than anywhere else in the Moremi (we have the PhD dissertation to prove it too).