Travel in Botswana: Mokoro Safari in the Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta is one of the most sought-after wilderness destinations in the world.

DSC_0462 It’s a unique area of marshy swampland, comparable to the size of Israel, that covers the central portion of the Kalahari Desert. DSC_0550The Delta is created from the flow of the Okavango River. It’s crystal clear water is even clean enough to drink. DSC_0453During the dry season, the Delta is home to one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in Africa.DSC_0524During the wet season, its more permanent residents include crocodile, hippo, and rare bird species, such as the Fish Eagle.

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Fish Eagle in the Delta

The vegetation in the Delta is primarily reeds, palms, and acacia trees. 20170307_095742As well, many lilies float atop the water, and are accompanied by beautiful fluttering dragonflies. ❤DSC_0530DSC_0526Aside from the plants and animals here, there are a five different ethnic groups living in the Delta. DSC_0509Historically these locals have sustained their livelihood from both fishing and agriculture.

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herding cattle in the Delta

DSC_0487To complete such activities, the locals navigate the Delta using dugout canoes, called mokoros.

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mokoros were traditionally made from hollowed out sausage trees, but are now made from fiberglass, which is more eco-friendly

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. DSC_0547To get to the Delta, our group took a speed boat from Maun, Botswana to the mokoro station on Mboma Island.

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speedboat ride
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accommodation on the Delta

DSC_0440This island is where the locals live and launch their canoes.

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local homes
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many times I see people wearing American t-shirts, since travelers here give them as a donation upon leaving

Side note: This village had some of the cleanest drop toilets I’d ever seen. 🙂

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super clean! still no soap or tp. :/

Two of us were assigned to each canoe. My friend Andrea and I were paired up with a woman named LP.

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LP put small plastic seats in the bottom to make it more comfortable to sit

To propel the canoe forward, LP used a large pole, which she stuck into the sandy bottom upon each row to move our boat. 20170307_092412On our ride through the Delta we weaved through thick reeds and overgrown canals, which were said to be carved out by the local hippos.20170307_092253LP also spotted out tons of tiny frogs for us. ❤

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marbled reed frog

Many were clung to the reeds, and a few even hopped into our boat for a ride. 😛

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tiny green frog on Steph’s knee
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marbled reed frog chillin’ on my hand

DSC_0544She also spotted a Plover’s bird nest.DSC_0582 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! 😮l_3e1efc50-b5b2-11e2-b0fb-e5530fa00015In 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. 🙂

DSC_0512DSC_0510During our ride, the locals even made us some lily pad hats and necklaces as a keepsake. ❤reed4
Here’s a short video of our ride through 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. ❤DSC_0528

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.

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6 thoughts on “Travel in Botswana: Mokoro Safari in the Okavango Delta

      1. Remember, don’t wear dark clothes, they seem to be attracted to it. And if you are blood type O, then sigh you’ve had it. Otherwise, stay next to someone with blood type O we are told…lol

        Liked by 1 person

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