A mokoro is a traditional canoe or dugout boat used in the African region of the Okavango Delta, particularly in Botswana. The term “mokoro” specifically refers to the boats used by the local people known as the Bayei and the BaYei people. These canoes are an essential mode of transportation in the waterways of the Okavango Delta.
Traditionally, mokoros were carved out of the trunks of large trees, usually the sausage tree or the ebony tree. However, modern mokoros are often made from more readily available materials, such as fiberglass. They are typically long and narrow, with a shallow draft, allowing them to navigate through the shallow waters, reeds, and lily pads of the delta.
Mokoros are traditionally propelled by standing at the rear of the boat and using a pole to push against the riverbed. This method is used to navigate through the winding channels of the delta, avoiding submerged obstacles and plants. The boatmen, known as polers, have exceptional skill in handling the mokoro and can maneuver through the water with ease.
Mokoros are widely used for various purposes, including transportation, fishing, and wildlife viewing. They provide a peaceful and non-intrusive way to experience an Okavango Delta safari, allowing visitors to get up close to the diverse ecosystem and observe the wildlife in their natural habitat.
It’s worth noting that the use of mokoros is a sustainable and eco-friendly way to experience the delta, as the boats have minimal impact on the environment and contribute to the preservation of this unique ecosystem.
Six Reasons Why You Should Try a Mokoro Safari
Going on a mokoro safari offers a range of special and unique experiences that set it apart from other safari activities. Here are some aspects that make a mokoro safari special:
1. Intimate and Peaceful
Mokoros are propelled silently through the water, allowing you to experience the delta’s serene and tranquil environment. The absence of noisy engines creates a peaceful atmosphere, enabling you to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of nature without disturbances.
2. Close Encounters with Wildlife
The shallow draft of the mokoro enables you to navigate through narrow channels and get close o wildlife. You can quietly approach animals, such as elephants, hippos, and birds, without causing disturbance or intruding upon their natural behavior. It offers a unique opportunity to observe wildlife from a different perspective and capture remarkable photographs.
3. Minimal Environmental Impact
Mokoros are traditionally made from natural materials or modern fiberglass, both of which have minimal impact on the environment. By choosing a mokoro safari, you contribute to the conservation efforts in the Okavango Delta, as these traditional canoes have a low carbon footprint and help maintain the delicate balance of the ecosystem.
4. Expert Local Guides
Mokoro safaris are typically led by our experienced local guideswho possess an in-depth understanding of the delta’s flora, fauna, and waterways. They share their knowledge about the region, identifying various bird species and animal tracks, and providing insights into the ecosystem. Their expertise enhances the safari experience, making it educational and informative.
5. Unique Perspective of the Delta
Exploring the Okavango Delta in a mokoro offers a distinctive vantage point. Being closer to the water’s surface provides a different viewpoint of the surrounding landscape, allowing you to appreciate the intricate details of the delta’s waterways, vegetation, and the interplay between land and water.
6. Sustainable and Responsible Tourism
Mokoro Safaris align with sustainable and responsible tourism practices. They promote eco-friendly travel, support local communities, and contribute to the conservation of the Okavango Delta. By choosing a mokoro safari, you actively participate in a tourism model that prioritizes the preservation of the environment and the well-being of local communities.
The combination of peaceful exploration, up-close wildlife encounters, minimal environmental impact, knowledgeable guides, and a unique perspective makes going on a mokoro safari a truly special and memorable experience in the Okavango Delta.