Human Journey

Okavango Delta Voted 1,000th UNESCO World Heritage Site!

Botswana’s Okavango Delta was voted in as the planet’s 1,000th UNESCO World Heritage Site today. Our project partner Dr Karen Ross and the Minister for Environment Tshekedi Khama were present at the announcement and are celebrating this momentous achievement in Doha.Here is the official UNESCO press release:

The human experience in this wilderness is nothing short of exhilarating and life-giving, showing us our path to a better future. (Paul Steyn)
The human experience in this wilderness is nothing short of exhilarating and life-giving, showing us our path to a better future. (Paul Steyn)

Please share this news with as many people as possible and write comments in support of this long overdue listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the bottom of this blog. The next step is to engage the Angolan governments on the establishment of the first protected areas in the Okavango River’s catchment to preserve local wildlife and ancient elephant migration paths. The Okavango Wilderness Project aims to gather the scientific and survey data necessary to establish new protected areas in Namibia and Angola within a multi-national World Heritage Site that celebrates the world’s largest undeveloped river catchment and inland delta. The region is Africa’s most important unprotected landscape and represents the most significant ecotourism development opportunity on the continent. We need to do everything we can to preserve Africa’s last-remaining wetland wilderness for thousands more years… Go to:

Steve Boyes has dedicated his life to conserving Africa's wilderness areas and the species that depend upon them. After having worked as a camp manager and wilderness guide in the Okavango Delta and doing his PhD field work on the little-known Meyer's Parrot, Steve took up a position as a Centre of Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. He has since been appointed the Scientific Director of the Wild Bird Trust and is a 2014 TED Fellow. His work takes him all over Africa, but his day-to-day activities are committed to South Africa's endemic and Critically Endangered Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus). Based in Hogsback Village in the Eastern Cape (South Africa), Steve runs the Cape Parrot Project, which aims to stimulate positive change for the species through high-quality research and community-based conservation action. When not in Hogsback, Steve can be found in the Okavango Delta where he explores remote areas of this wetland wilderness on "mokoros" or dug-out canoes to study endangered bird species in areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Steve is a 2013 National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work in the Okavango Delta and on the Cape Parrot Project.
  • Thea Khama

    Victory- History-Legacy – A great and very important first step. Congratulations to my husband, Botswana, and all the key players involved for making this a reality and committing to our future and the generations to come.

  • Daniela

    Congratulations on this great achievement! Good news for this unique wetland and hoping that this new status helps to preserve it for future generations.

  • Anderson Kambimba

    Good work! Best wishes, for the delta.

  • stuart

    Fantastic news and well done to all that made this possible.

  • Vipin Sharma

    Congratulations on this great achievement!

  • Stacey Human

    Excellent work, congratulations!

  • Lennart Hessel

    Great news

    Keep up the good work


    Lennart Hessel

  • Bas

    Yeah! That’s great news! Years of hard work finally paying off, although this is just the beginning. I really am proud of all the good-hearted who contributed. Hopefully I’ll join in soon. Keep up the good work!

  • Harold Bloch

    Being a committed traveller to this unique world for 40 yrs +. I can only congratulate those who have made this possible.
    This is a pristine wetland which I hope will endure for ever {what ever that may be]
    Thank you for all the hard work

  • Debbie

    This is fantastic news – well done to all those who worked so hard to achieve this.
    The Delta rocks!

  • Pako Lesejane

    I left my heart in the Okavango Delta and im so happy this beautiful place has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. If you have never been to the Okavango delta then you aint seen nothing yet

  • ® tony eliott

    Fantastic news – well done to all those involved in achieving this !

  • ® tony eliott

    Fantastic news – well done to all those involved in achieving this milestone.

  • Elsa Steyn

    Well done!

  • Helena Atkinson

    As someone who worked in the Delta this is incredible news and something that a lot of people worked towards. Well done to everyone involved and may this beautiful place remain protected and sustainably utilised forever!

  • Dr.C.M.Seth

    We support this unique landscape and ecosystem for UNSECO World Heritage site.

  • Lucas de Clercq

    Great news. Congrats to those that made this happen. And success with achieving all the additional attention and decisions to ensure preservation of one of the most beautiful environments on the planet.

  • Lucas de Clercq

    Great news. Congrats to all involved and success in achieving all additional recognistion for this phenominal place on earth so it will be preserved as long as possible

  • Mel Tripp

    Congratulations to Steve and everyone involved. My hope is that with this high distinction and recognition, any threats towards the Okavango delta are now diminished or gone!

  • Evelyn Sennanyana

    A giant step for Botswana indeed!! Congratulations to everybody who made a contribution to this project.

  • Marty Montgomery

    i can not be happier to see the hard work, patience and diligence of so many dedicated people finally being acknowledged in the fact that our wildlife is being destroyed around the world. What was once the “Pearl of the world”–Africa, in the rich diversity of wildlife and expanse, is now threatened with destroyed habitats barren and dry, poaching and the encroachment of mankind. Without the intervention of caring, hardworking, knowledgeable people such as these there these and many other places would have disappeared long ago. If not for the preservation of these precious areas, we must preserve as much and as many of these areas as possible for many reasons, but mostly for the life blood of our world. For without them, we would suffer the consequences in due time in too many ways. Their beauty alone is enough to warrant it, but their over all value has priority.

  • Anna Nenchev

    Great news!!! Congratulations to everyone involved in achieving the UNESCO status for the DELTA. Hopefully the future generations can enjoy the beauty of this unique gem on the earth.

  • Moreri Mabote

    A little step in the right direction.

  • Mana Brightman

    This is truly a great achievement and wonderful to have some POSITIVE news for once!!

  • Morkel Erasmus

    This is GREAT news and the culmination of years of hard work by those spearheading this initiative. Well done!!

  • Ann M Higuet

    Amazing news and a big relief !. Congrats to all of you – grand job. But please remember the work doesnt end here. This title is ofcourse a giant achiefment which secures in many aspects the protection status but it does not keep off the strain on the watersupply by an exploding population in the Delta nor illegal activities like poaching etc etc – Bio – Socio- econom and financ Integrated managmentplans which are supported by national and international are a must and a condition – but they can not remain words on paper nor a great sounding title. as UNESCO World Heritage site – it didnt help another one either – Selous Game reserve received the status in 2012, it didnt stop the ruination of this beautiful wilderness which becomes in an accelerated tempo a killing fields for many animals

  • Nina Stavlund

    Congratulations, this is fantastic news!

  • Peter Comley

    Congratulations to Tshekedi, Steve, Karen and all the others who were involved. This will go a long way in ensuring that the world’s newest and best World Heritage site remains pristine for generations to come. Pula!!

  • Dikoma Moediemang

    It’s great achievement indeed, but for such achievement to be preserved local communities need to play a meaningful role and need to understand the whole concept behind the listing. Only a few people understand it and to my own view, there was not enough and no consultations were as evidence by relocation of communities living in this area against their will. The local communities in the Okavango should also benefit from it in a meaningful way then they will have the reason to protect this wonderful area of wilderness. I am from this area and understanding very well that the whole project is not transparent and there are many questions than answers to it.

  • Belinda Fernandez

    Congratulations! Amazing news, all the hard work coming together.

  • Mike and Sharyn Vincent

    Wonderful news!!! Well done to all concerned. It gives us hope for the future.

  • Blanca Mejía

    This is great news and the culmination of years of hard work. Congratulations

  • Carolyn

    This is great news, thank you to everyone working to protect the Okavango.

  • Marlene & John Feneley

    Great news. As regular visitors to the Okavango over the last 14 years, it is rewarding that its many assets have now been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and particularly the 1,000th. Congratulations to all those persons who have made this happen. We must not forget that it is thanks to the wildlife also that this reward has been received. A wonderful achievement. We look forward to returning to the Okavango again and again in the future. Marlene & John Feneley.

  • .Maria Ilda Malheiro Dias Ferreira Pinto Bravo

    Maravilhosa expedição. Adorei fiquei com muitas saudades de África. Já fui de automóvel de Angola para Moçambique , passei por Okavango vi muitos animais tivemos que atravessar o rio numa jangada. Com estes maravilhosos vídeos recordei tanto aquilo que já tinha visto. Muito obrigada pela oportunidade. Parabéns aventureiros. As vossas expedições são fantásticas. Ilda

  • Gopsie

    Great news indeed..its good to see the natural jewels of the world being recognized. Congrats Botswana and Batswana!
    -Proud citizen

  • Shopein Tolumide

    Wow…..this is really beautiful

  • madbiologist

    Fantastic news. This is one of the places I have seen on TV repeatedly throughout my life and I look forward to visiting one day with the knowledge that it’s beauty, dynamism and grandeur will be maintained in the meantime.

  • tattur

    Just great, UNESCO shld NT hv waited tis long!

  • Patrick Green

    Great news.

    Hopefully this cans the mining stories I have heard.

  • Tig Warne

    This is wonderful news. I have spent a number of marvellous holidays in the delta. It would be tragic if mining for coal or diamonds spoiled this unique wilderness. Let us hope it can be preserved for all the wildlife and gives more people the chance to spend time in this pristine place.

  • Sue Kroning

    Delighted with this news! Now this unique ecosystem will be protected in perpetuity. What a privilege to be able to experience this wondrous wild place.

  • Eddie Mosarwe

    Great work indeed your Honour TK & team. This has taken Botswana to another level. Our tourism will never be the same. We need an increased participation of locals in the industry to benefit from all of these gains.

  • Prof. Subhendu Chaudhuri

    A small job done; the larger job, preservation of the ‘Heritage’, remains …….. ‘We will overcome someday …………’

  • jaggappa

    Thanks unesco

  • Hennie Welman

    This is great news! Congratulations Steve on this achievement and all the great work you are doing. I’ve been to the Delta a couple of weeks ago and can’t wait to return as soon as possible.

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