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Diving with Dinosaurs

Hello and welcome to my blog, this is a place where I will share the backstage of all my adventures and give a day by day report from the field .

My first story for you is about my trip back to the remote Jurassic ages. Botswana was the gateway for this passage to the past, a place that is home for 16 ft dinosaurs: the Nile crocodiles .
My assignment was about to take underwater photos of big Nile crocodiles, reporting the environment they live in.


The field of this challenge was the Okavango´s River Delta in Botswana , a beautiful place full of life .


Daniel Botelho diving with Nile crocodiles from Daniel Botelho on Vimeo

The Okavango River is a river in southwest Africa. It is the fourth-longest river system in southern Africa, running southeastward for 1,600 km (1,000 miles). It begins in Angola, where it is known as the Cubango River. Further south it forms part of the border between Angola and Namibia and then flows into Botswana, draining into the Moremi Game Reserve. Before it enters Botswana, the river drops four meters, across the full 1.2 km-width of the river, in a series of rapids known as Popa Falls, visible when the river is low, as during the dry season. Discharging to an endorheic basin, the Okavango does not have an outlet to the sea. Instead, it empties into a swamp in the Kalahari Desert, known as the Okavango Delta or Okavango Alluvial Fan. In the rainy season there is an outflow to the Boteti River which in turn seasonally discharges to the Makgadikgadi Pans, which features an expansive area of rainy season wetland where tens of thousands of flamingos congregate each summer. Part of the river's flow fill Lake Ngami. Noted for its wildlife, the Okavango area contains Botswana's Moremi Game Reserve.

Some of the most prolific predators of that area are the African fish eagle and Nile Crocodiles .

The Okavango river supports a complex diversity of underwater environments .

Crocodiles can be found anywhere in the Okavango delta system : inside caves, using trunks as camouflage and even in lily gardens .

15 ft crocodile .

13 ft Nile Crocodile inside a deep cave .

The caves are mostly made by crocs and hippos , they can be very tight and sometimes we could see nothing because of the mucky water created by the crocodile. The roof of the caves are made of an entanglement of papyrus roots , a beautiful plant that floats all over the wetlands of Okavango delta.

My good friends, Brad Bestelink and Andrea Crawford took me inside a cave and there was a 14 ft (4 meters) crocodile inside, a Dinosaur that is now called Mr.D , one of the most beautiful creatures I ever saw in my life.

Special thanks to Nxamaseri Lodge/Team, my home in the Okavango, special thanks also to Brad and Andy for sharing your backyard with me, teaching so much about the crocodiles ! Thanks John for the good attitude, Jean-Pierre Botha and Mr. Amos Nachoum for the perfect logistics, super thanks to Jason, he knows well the weight of my gear : ) . All my love to the best assistant I ever had in my life, my dad, thanks for joining me, the first but not the last expedition together !


Face to Face with Nile Crocodiles from Daniel Botelho on Vimeo.

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