Explore the Okavango Delta by Mokoro

Mokoro, Okavango Delta

Exploring the Okavango Delta in a traditional mokoro, or wooden dugout canoe, is the most spectacular way to experience this vast wetland in Botswana.

If you’ve ever thought about going on an African safari, you have probably heard about the wide variety and number of animals in the Okavango. The delta is home to some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammals, such as the cheetah, rhino, African wild dog and lion.

The deltas is incredibly rich in species, with 1061 plants, 89 fish, 64 reptiles, 482 birds, and 130 mammals.

The experience and activities offered in the Okavango Delta are more varied than other safari destinations, such as Kenya and Tanzania.

The aquatic habitat of the delta makes travel by mokoro (and motor-boat) the most effective way to move around in many parts of the delta. This is why the mokoro has served as the principal mode of transportation for indigenous tribes.

Mekoro (plural for ‘mokoro’) are made from hollowing out the trunks of straight-growing, mature trees like Jackalberry or Sausage trees. The canoes measure around 5 metres in length and have a sleek, blade-like design that makes them easy to steer through the delta’s narrow, reed-lined rivers. A single “poler,” stands at the back of each mokoro and propels it with a long wooden pole called a ‘ngashe’. A mokoro can carry one or two people, plus your poler.

These days mekoro are made from fibreglass in an effort to save the Okavango’s mature trees. 

When in a mokoro you can take in the magic of the wetlands as you make your way through its channels, lagoons, and palm-fringed islands. From the chirping of birds to the croaking of tiny reed frogs to the buzzing of insects. From the burbling and laughing of half-submerged hippos to crocodiles sliding down riverbanks and into the water. The distant trumpeting of elephants to the yips of hyenas may also be audible.

Thanks to your poler’s skillful poling and navigation, you will be able to get an up-close look at the diverse wildlife that populates the Okavango Delta. Some species are very rare, such as the swamp-adapted Sitatunga antelope. Kingfishers and African Fish eagles can be seen swooping down from the trees to catch a meal. You will see lagoons full of water lilies floating lazily, with clouds reflecting in the still water.

Whatever you see on your mokoro ride it will be one of the most magical and surreal experiences of your safari to Botswana.

Chat with one of our safari specialists today to get started organising your safari to the Okavango Delta.