Changing Planet

Latest Okavango Wilderness Project Expedition About to Kick Off

Photo courtesy Liz Hilton

When they put the sticker on the Land Cruiser, you know things are about to get good.

The first expedition for 2017 of the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project is about to begin, and the final preparations are being made as the team loads up gear for a new season of exploration and outreach in the Angolan highlands.

This is the latest leg of a multi-year effort to explore and protect the headwaters of the rivers that drive the annual explosion of life in the legendary Okavango Delta.

This month, the crew is heading to the source lakes of the Cuito and Cuanavale Rivers. Led by Chris Boyes and Adjany and Kerllen Costa (sister-and-brother team members from Angola), they’ll be diving in the lakes, biking across the countryside, checking on camera traps, and getting to know the people who call this area home.

With the bikes and gear loaded up, the team has been making their way up to the highlands, where the real activity will begin next week. Follow along for the latest photo, video, and written updates from the field.

Share your questions and comments for the expedition team anywhere on social media using #intotheokavango and be a part of the journey for each expedition this year.


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.

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