The quintessential Okavango Delta experience would have to be taking to the shallow waterways in a mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe. It’s a sure fire way to escape from it all and immerse yourself in peace and tranquility as you glide smoothly through the narrow channels with your expert poler . No trip to this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site should be without one.
Historically the mokoro was a form of transport used for fishing, travelling from place to place and transporting goods around the waterways by slowly making headway using a long pole (ngashi) to propel the mokoro along. It’s a fabulous way to explore some of the small islands in the delta which are unreachable by boat. It’s also worth giving it a try yourself, together with the help of an expert, the local polers make it look much easier than it is, it’s definitely an art to master the balance.
Traditionally the mekoro (plural for mokoro) were made out of timber, by hollowing out the bark of a large tree. Nowadays, more environmentally sustainable materials are used and the mekoro are made from fibre-glass making them more durable, the shape is still the same as the traditionally carved ones. Some people are unsure when they first set out on a mokoro, but usually on their return they cannot recommend it enough, it’s a captivating and enjoyable experience to be so close to wildlife and nature using such a simple form of transport that goes back centuries.
Mokoro trips vary in length of time. Often your lodge may offer a mokoro excursion as an activity depending on where they are located and your journey on the papyrus lined waterways may be a couple of hours long. For the more adventurous, some companies also offer mokoro safaris that are several days in length , these involve bush camping. In all cases you will have the company of an expert who will be able to teach you an enormous amount about the way of life of the people in the Delta.
Water levels change throughout the seasons, so if this is a ‘must’ for your safari, let us know and we can ensure we book you into the right place at the right time.