Hangout From the Okavango Delta in Africa

Modern technology over the past few years has allowed us to bring you deeper into expeditions than ever before. Using Google+ Hangouts, we’ve connected people around the world at home, (probably also at work), on desktops, laptops, and mobile phones and tablets, with explorers deep in a Maya cave, at Base Camp on Everest, in the Aquarius underwater lab, on all seven continents, and even had a message from the International Space Station.

This summer, we’re going not only deeper into the wilderness, but back in time, as a group of four National Geographic Emerging Explorers make a classic expedition into the Okavango river delta, the vast inland wetland that is the pulsing heart of Africa’s remaining wilderness.

Join us for a Google+ Hangout on Air at 10:00am EDT on Friday, August 22, 2014 to be a part of the conversation and see this hidden Eden for yourself.

A giraffe stands silhouetted against the palm trees and setting sun in the Okavango Delta. (Photo by Jodi Cobb/National Geographic Creative)

While Africa is where we find the earliest traces of human activity, it is also the place where the large animals that once roamed widely on all continents now make their last stand. Mammoths once shaped the landscape of North America. Lions ruled the night from Spain to India. Rhinos staged their titanic face-offs where European teenagers dance the night away. Around the world, very few of these large wild animals survive. In the Okavango, they not only survive, they thrive. This is one of the last places on Earth where modern humans can witness the balance of wild animals and landscape that preceded our era of construction and domestication.

The expedition will be led by South African conservationist Steve Boyes, and include Adventurers & Scientists for Conservation founder Gregg Treinish, data artist and educator Jer Thorp, and engineer and ocean conservationist Shah Selbe. These four creative pioneers in different fields all came together when named National Geographic Emerging Explorers in 2013. Steve’s passion and years-long dedication to the Okavango inspired the others, who soon realized that together they could make an even bigger impact to explore and protect this land while educating the world about its wonders.

This kind of dedication paid off earlier this year when the Okavango was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Learn more and follow the preparations and adventures in the Okavango blog here on NationalGeographic.com.

Send in your questions for these National Geographic Explorers and guests and they may be asked on air. Submit your questions by…

  • Uploading a video question to YouTube with hashtag #LetsExplore
  • Posting a question on Google+ or Twitter with hashtag #LetsExplore or
  • Commenting directly on this blog post

Follow National Geographic on Google+ or return to this blog post to watch the Google+ Hangout Friday, August 22nd at 10:00 a.m. EDT (2:00 p.m. UTC) to ask your burning questions and hear them answered by our explorers live!



Andrew Howley is a longtime contributor to the National Geographic blog, with a particular focus on archaeology and paleoanthropology generally, and ancient rock art in particular. In 2018 he became Communications Director at Adventure Scientists, founded by Nat Geo Explorer Gregg Treinish. Over 11 years at the National Geographic Society, Andrew worked in various ways to share the stories of NG explorers and grantees online. He also produced the Home Page of nationalgeographic.com for several years, and helped manage the Society's Facebook page during its breakout year of 2010. He studied Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He has covered expeditions with NG Explorers-in-Residence Mike Fay, Enric Sala, and Lee Berger. His personal interests include painting, running, and reading about history. You can follow him on Twitter @anderhowl and on Instagram @andrewjhowley.
  • Robert

    Would be good to have the lead officer from the Botswana team which coordinated the successful UNESCO nomination

  • Vera A. Walsh

    I want to see this very much and will borrow a computer to do so. Thanks for the work.

  • Ahmed Vania

    What is heavier a rhino or a hippo

  • Will Guerlain

    Why don’t we fund a spot in America to save the Elephants? It seems the poachers don’t care if the Elephants are extinct or not! So why don’t we bring a few to America where they will be safe from extinction? I would join and send money to save them!

  • Liliya


    My questions are:

    – what are kind of dangers that is suffering the wetland? How is it protected? Is the community that lives near is aware of the importance of the wetland?

    – as I understood, the wetland is the place where we can find elephants, so are there study of the genetic of this animals, such as inbreeding, to maintain this species?

    – how do the elephants are protected from the hunting/people?

  • Paul Sibson

    As a birdwatcher when would be the best time to visit?

  • Lorna

    A month from now I will be in the Okavongo Delta. Wow. I can’t wait to watch this program!

  • Leslie Topus

    I feel your excitement on this expedition! What has been the most exhilarating part of this trip so far?

  • Alice

    Despite all the beauty and wonders of the Okavango Delta… do you find it important (and interesting) to explore the ethnic groups of Botswana ( ok.delta:Hambukushu etc). They have unique cultures and as far as i know only very few anthropologists worked with Kavango peoples.
    Now these peoples are standing on the edge of death. They loose their languages, traditions,tribal customs (for example 100 years ago Hambukushu had a coming of age ceremony for boys. The task for future men of 13 was to kill an elephant)
    Most young people leave their villages for “big cities” in order to find job, actually in the sphere of tourism.
    So my question is
    How do you see the future of these peoples?
    Thank you
    All the best! Wish you luck!

  • Luis Meza

    Where are the damn poachers who are exterminating elephants in Africa

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