“A mok-oh-what?” We hear you exclaim. Well, let us explain.
A unique Southern African wildlife destination and a twitcher’s paradise, the Okavango Delta became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014. Described by award-winning National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting as ‘Africa’s Last Eden’, the Okavango Delta is a vast wetland ecosystem where the Okavango River, which flows from the Angolan Highlands, meets the harsh Kgalagadi Desert in northern Botswana.
An oasis in an otherwise dry terrain, healthy mammal and bird populations abound in the concessions surrounding the Moremi Game Reserve and on the small islands - the largest of which emerged on a tectonic fault line and is called Chief’s Island. And a mokoro safari is one of the best ways to explore the waterways and witness the wildlife in this enchanting region of Botswana.
But what is a mokoro?
Good question. A mokoro is basically a canoe that was once the sole means of transport on the Okavango Delta. However, it wasn’t just used for transporting people, goods and livestock, but was also vital for reed harvesting and fishing. Back in the day, a mokoro was made by hollowing out a felled kigelia tree trunk and shaping it into a boat, but this traditional model sadly had a short lifespan as it was subject to rotting. You also had to wait about a century for the trunk to reach the right size. Due to these challenges, many mokoros are nowadays moulded from fibreglass, so not only do they have a smaller environmental impact but they also last for donkey’s years.
Described in this blog we found about the experience as “a cross between a punt and a canoe”, the slim design of the mokoro makes it ideal for weaving through the reeds and the waterways. Instead of using a small motor to cruise along swiftly, a guide will propel you forward slowly using a long wooden pole. As the long grass and lily pads part before your eyes, you will glide just above the water’s surface - passing giraffes, baboons and impalas - while keeping a careful eye out for hippo bubbles and bulges.
The stillness of the water and the soothing rhythm of this game-viewing experience will calm any frayed nerves, while all the sounds will awaken your senses. As you find yourself listening to the doves reaching their crescendo, the woodpeckers tapping against acacia trees, and the insects skirting the water, you’ll find a sense of peace in the noises of the delta. And it is this harmonious lullaby that will also send you to sleep in the evening, cradled in the arms of Mother Nature back at your luxury camp.
Give Elite Travel Concept a buzz to hear the sounds of the Okavango for yourself and to awaken your senses to this maze of natural beauty.