Mokoro madness

Trip Start Dec 16, 2005
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Trip End Jun 12, 2006


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Monday, April 24, 2006

Off to the Okavango Delta. The Okavango is Southern Africa's third largest river, flowing through Angola, Namibia and rather than flowing into the sea, it hits the desert in Botswana and stops, producing a huge lush green inland delta. 15000sq km all together!






After our 2 hour transfer by 4WD we arrived at the delta proper where we jumped into Mokoros. These are wooden canoes, carved, typically out of sausage trees. Nowadays to stop tree felling many of them are made of fiberglass.

For some reason my preconceptions of the Okavango Delta had been somewhere that would be a lot more wooded with open areas of water in the middle of the trees. It turned out to be not so wooded and as we canoes up thin channels, we passed reeds with lots and lots of water lilies floating at the waters edge.

We didn't see too much in the way of wildlife on the way to camp apart from some open billed storks and a whole bunch of catfish that some fisherman had caught in traps.

After a rest at camp, a swim and a shot at paddling the Mokoros (very hard BTW) we went out for a walk in some of the land that was surrounded by the myriad of waterways. We didn't see a whole lot apart from some zebra and giraffe. We did see a lot of animal tracks and dung. There were also holes all over the place left by ardvaaks and spring hare. There were a couple of baobab trees and we tried some of the fruit that had fallen from one of them. It had a very citrusy taste.

The sunset on the walk was fantastic, especially with all the palm trees that were silhouetted against the sky. I think this one and the one from the Chobe boat trip must have been the most spectacular ones I'd seen in Africa.

That evening we had catfish that we purchased from the fishermen seen earlier that was boiled in the traditional way. This was whole with a very long boil time and with lots of salt added. I don't know if it's because of the way it's cooked but this fish had a much stronger taste than the fried catfish I usually get back in the USA. The guys cooked up some Ugali, or Mieliepap as it's known in Botswana for our side dish.

That evening a herd of elephants walked up the channel 10m away from our camp. We could also hear lion making some sort of groaning noise from what seemed like real close by. Eman assured us they were a long way away!

That evening was pretty chilly and I had to sleep with my bag zipped up most of the way. Very nice sleeping weather though. Botswana has been very cool on the evenings.

So far this trip seems to have been very well run. Eman the guide has done a great job.
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