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:


  1. Hennie Welman
    South Africa
    July 7, 2014, 4:34 am

    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.

  2. jaggappa
    June 27, 2014, 12:06 pm

    Thanks unesco

  3. Prof. Subhendu Chaudhuri
    Calcutta, India
    June 26, 2014, 9:54 am

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

  4. Eddie Mosarwe
    Orapa - Debswana
    June 26, 2014, 5:15 am

    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.

  5. Sue Kroning
    Seaside USA
    June 26, 2014, 2:03 am

    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.

  6. Tig Warne
    Magoebaskloof Limpopo
    June 25, 2014, 11:17 am

    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.

  7. Patrick Green
    June 24, 2014, 9:46 pm

    Great news.

    Hopefully this cans the mining stories I have heard.

  8. tattur
    June 24, 2014, 6:49 am

    Just great, UNESCO shld NT hv waited tis long!

  9. madbiologist
    Brisbane, Australia
    June 24, 2014, 3:23 am

    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.

  10. Shopein Tolumide
    June 24, 2014, 2:02 am

    Wow…..this is really beautiful

  11. Gopsie
    Gaborone, Botswana
    June 24, 2014, 1:03 am

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

  12. .Maria Ilda Malheiro Dias Ferreira Pinto Bravo
    Sintra PORTUGAL
    June 23, 2014, 5:59 pm

    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

  13. Marlene & John Feneley
    Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
    June 23, 2014, 4:25 pm

    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.

  14. Carolyn
    Washington, DC
    June 23, 2014, 4:03 pm

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

  15. Blanca Mejía
    June 23, 2014, 3:09 pm

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

  16. Mike and Sharyn Vincent
    South Africa
    June 23, 2014, 3:07 pm

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

  17. Belinda Fernandez
    June 23, 2014, 10:42 am

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

  18. Dikoma Moediemang
    June 23, 2014, 8:56 am

    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.

  19. Peter Comley
    June 23, 2014, 8:34 am

    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!!

  20. Nina Stavlund
    Ottawa, Canada
    June 23, 2014, 8:30 am

    Congratulations, this is fantastic news!

  21. Ann M Higuet
    The Netherlands & Indonesia
    June 23, 2014, 7:42 am

    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

  22. Morkel Erasmus
    South Africa
    June 23, 2014, 7:34 am

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

  23. Mana Brightman
    June 23, 2014, 7:07 am

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

  24. Moreri Mabote
    Selebi Phikwe
    June 23, 2014, 7:06 am

    A little step in the right direction.

  25. Anna Nenchev
    Sydney, Australia
    June 23, 2014, 6:56 am

    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.

  26. Marty Montgomery
    United States
    June 23, 2014, 6:49 am

    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.

  27. Evelyn Sennanyana
    June 23, 2014, 6:05 am

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

  28. Mel Tripp
    Cape Town
    June 23, 2014, 6:00 am

    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!

  29. Lucas de Clercq
    The Hague, The Netherlands
    June 23, 2014, 5:53 am

    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

  30. Lucas de Clercq
    The Hague, Netherlands
    June 23, 2014, 5:41 am

    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.

  31. Dr.C.M.Seth
    Jammu, India
    June 23, 2014, 5:40 am

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

  32. Helena Atkinson
    South Africa
    June 23, 2014, 5:18 am

    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!

  33. Elsa Steyn
    South Africa
    June 23, 2014, 4:36 am

    Well done!

  34. ® tony eliott
    June 23, 2014, 4:34 am

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

  35. ® tony eliott
    June 23, 2014, 4:33 am

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

  36. Pako Lesejane
    June 23, 2014, 4:31 am

    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

  37. Debbie
    South Africa
    June 23, 2014, 4:29 am

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

  38. Harold Bloch
    Stellenbosch SA
    June 23, 2014, 4:22 am

    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

  39. Bas
    June 23, 2014, 4:03 am

    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!

  40. Lennart Hessel
    June 23, 2014, 3:59 am

    Great news

    Keep up the good work


    Lennart Hessel

  41. Stacey Human
    United Kingdom
    June 23, 2014, 3:58 am

    Excellent work, congratulations!

  42. Vipin Sharma
    June 23, 2014, 3:38 am

    Congratulations on this great achievement!

  43. stuart
    June 23, 2014, 3:12 am

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

  44. Anderson Kambimba
    June 23, 2014, 2:18 am

    Good work! Best wishes, for the delta.

  45. Daniela
    June 22, 2014, 10:41 pm

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

  46. Thea Khama
    June 22, 2014, 5:18 pm

    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.