The Panhandle is the main Okavango river before it fans out into the Delta Okavango Panhandle –
One theory has it that millions of years ago the Okavango, Chobe and Upper Zambezi flowed as one majestic river across the middle Kalahari.
This huge river later joined the Limpopo river and emptied into the Indian ocean
Earth movements however stopped this flow and caused a damming effect of the river and the formation of the Linyanti swamp and Okavango delta
The Panhandle is a stretch of 70km of the Okavango River with tall reeds, deep water
This section of the delta is the main watercourse supplying the Okavango.
Good value accommodation is available with fishing boats for hire. Birding is excellent although wildlife viewing is limited. Close by are the historic Tsodilo Hills (ancient rock art sits and world heritage site) and Drotskys Caves.
Houseboats Okavango – 4 on the Okavango Pan Handle where the river is deep
About 40km to the west of the Panhandle lies a rocky outcrop known as Tsodilo Hills, an area that boasts fascinating cave paintings and walking trails.
Tsodilo Hills consist of four large pieces of rock, rising unexpectedly from the dry expanse of desert. The Bushmen that lived here referred to the bigger rock as the ‘male’, the smaller one was known as the ‘female’, and the smallest one was the ‘child’. According to legends the fourth hill was the male hill’s first wife, whom he left for a younger woman, and who now prowls in the background.
Bushman paintings : It boasts 500 individual sites representing thousands of years of human habitation. Nobody knows the exact age of the paintings although some are thought to be more than 20 000 years old, whilst others are merely a century old.
It can be reached on a good dirt road in a standard 2 wheel drive car
Drotsky’s Caves – Gcwihaba Caves (“hyena’s hole”)
These beautiful caves are situated 50km south east of Aha Hills and are set in the same undulating Kalahari dunes
The cave has two entraces but no guides, lighting or route indicators which makes them unsuitable for the faint hearted. The route through the cave is however easy to walk and you will see stunning stalagmites and stalactites that reach lengths of 10 m in some Places. The caves are also home to a large population of bats including the big Commersons Leaf
There are two unspectacular low ridges of sand-covered rock at the entrance to the caves, but an enchanting spectacular curtain of stalactites is the first of many wonders inside this fascinating formation.
The caves are a labyrinth of linked passages and caverns, which exist on two levels, one raised several metres above the other.
The large bat population sometimes encountered inside is noisy, but totally harmless. The system of caves contains a maze of passages which lead to bizarre rock formations, flowstones of various beautiful and subtle colours, stalactites, inlets, hallways, apertures and “frozen” waterfalls.
These magnificent chambers and formations, stalagmites and stalactites which reach up to 10m in height or length, were all carved and formed by dripping water, which seeped through and dissolved dolomite rock. Although completely isolated this unspoilt area is worth exploring for a few days. It is necessary to be completely self-sufficient as the cave is very remote.
In the !Kung language, the name of this cavern system in the Gcwihaba Hills means “hyena’s hole”.
The Gcwihaba Caverns were first brought to European attention in the mid-1930s when the !Kung showed them to Ghanzi farmer Martinus Drotsky, and for years they were known as Drotsky’s Caves.
As with many caves, Gcwihaba has a legend of treasure; the fabulously wealthy founder of Ghanzi, Hendrik Matthys van Zyl, is said to have stashed a portion of his fortune here in the late 1800s.
Find it if you can. Accessible only in 4×4 vehicles