Mokoro – there is nothing quite so tranquil as slipping silently through the crystal clear waters of the Okavango Delta in a mokoro (‘dug out’) canoes, in the safe hands of a local experience guide, often preceded or followed by a game drive or game walk.
These used to hand crafted by the local inhabitants from whole soft-wood trees but if not carefully looked after, which they invariable weren’t, would last but a few months before they started to rot. Now many lodge operators have switched to using ones, still in the time honoured shape, but made of fibre glass, as they last for years and have no impact on the local environment. Authentic, no but most certainly sustainable.
For the comfort of their passengers, most mokoro take just two guest so they can stretch their legs and who sit on plastic chairs with the legs removed. This helps to support their backs whilst keeping them in a stable position – very important for the poler.
Your guide, who will usually have been born in a local village will quietly tell you about his life in the Okavango Delta, as he poles you gently through the reeds, pointing out the smaller flora and fauna, that you may not have seen from your safari vehicle. Usually a lead mokoro contains just a poler who goes ahead of the remainder of the party and looks out for any dangers that may lie ahead.
Top tips for Mokoro
- take as little kit with you as you need, preferably in a water proof bag – just in case
- try to stay as still as possible with slow not sudden movements
- yuur guide will be a mine of fascinating information, do talk to him; you’ll both benefit from doing so.
Mokoro – one of the most genteel ways to see the flora and fauna of Africa there is.