The Okavango Delta is one of the most sought-after wilderness destinations in the world.
It’s a unique area of marshy swampland, comparable to the size of Israel, that covers the central portion of the Kalahari Desert. The Delta is created from the flow of the Okavango River. It’s crystal clear water is even clean enough to drink. During the dry season, the Delta is home to one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in Africa.During the wet season, its more permanent residents include crocodile, hippo, and rare bird species, such as the Fish Eagle.
The vegetation in the Delta is primarily reeds, palms, and acacia trees. As well, many lilies float atop the water, and are accompanied by beautiful fluttering dragonflies. ❤Aside from the plants and animals here, there are a five different ethnic groups living in the Delta. Historically these locals have sustained their livelihood from both fishing and agriculture.
To complete such activities, the locals navigate the Delta using dugout canoes, called mokoros.
Now-a-days, they also engage in tourism, taking guests into the heart of the Okavango Delta, to experience life on the water and explore the untouched areas of this densely tangled terrain. To get to the Delta, our group took a speed boat from Maun, Botswana to the mokoro station on Mboma Island.
This island is where the locals live and launch their canoes.
Side note: This village had some of the cleanest drop toilets I’d ever seen. 🙂
Two of us were assigned to each canoe. My friend Andrea and I were paired up with a woman named LP.
To propel the canoe forward, LP used a large pole, which she stuck into the sandy bottom upon each row to move our boat. On our ride through the Delta we weaved through thick reeds and overgrown canals, which were said to be carved out by the local hippos.LP also spotted out tons of tiny frogs for us. ❤
Many were clung to the reeds, and a few even hopped into our boat for a ride. 😛
She also spotted a Plover’s bird nest. Now since March is the wet season, we didn’t spot much other wildlife. The more common sighting, on the other hand, were gigantic zebra-striped spiders. LP was so hardcore, she was literally grabbing them left with her hands and tossing them out of the boat. Personally I was using any weapon I had on hand to smack them, be it my sandal, water bottle, or even my phone! 😮In general though, our group was all smiles, as we were able to relax on the water, and enjoy the peace and serenity of the Delta. 🙂
Overall, if you’re looking to explore some uncharted territory in the heart of Okavango Delta, a mokoro ride is just what you need. ❤
Cost: There are many local tour operators in Maun, Botswana, but be prepared to haggle the price, as things are not black and white. We saw half-day trips from 50-100 USD, and we were able to negotiate a trip for 55 USD, including a speedboat ride to Mboma Island, and four hours in a mokoro canoe.