Okavango Delta Mokoro Trip:
The Mokoro Day trip on the Okavango Delta is one of the most amazing trips I took on a recent trip to Botswana. It was an option on a 21 day overland trip from Cape Town to Victoria Falls that I took with Africa4Us.
About the Mokoro Canoe
For those who are just hearing about Mokoro for the first time, they are a traditional dugout canoe used as transport in the Okavango Delta. In the past, they used to be made out of wood, however, they are now constructed by fibreglass because wood can rot.
The Mokoro easily glides through the shallow waters and narrow passageways of the Okavango Delta and is controlled by a guide in the back of the boat using a long pole to propel it forward and make any necessary turns.
The Mokoro Day Trip
If you are going on any overland trips to this part of Africa, there is a good chance that you will have the option or it will be included to go on the Mokoro Day Trip in the Okavango Delta. If it is, I highly recommend you go on it.
For us, we woke up relatively early and took a jeep from the campsite we were staying at in Maun to the starting point of the Mokoros. When we got there, there were lots of other tourists waiting to get in the water with the Mokoros. Our group paired off into groups of 2 as typically most mokoros only hold one or two people, plus the poler in the back.
From there, each group was assigned their poler, and we headed down to the water to get into the Mokoro.
For the next hour and a half to two hours, it was a slow, peaceful glide through the reeds and narrow passageways of the Okavango Delta.
If you want a peaceful experience, it was by far the most peaceful time I had during my 21 days in Africa. Not to mention, that the surrounding area was incredible.
The Okavango Delta is such a beautiful sight to see and it helped that the clouds and light conditions were perfect, providing beautiful reflections in the calm water.
Depending on the time of year that you go, there may be various wildlife that you see along the way. On our trip, we didn’t see much wildlife, because we had left later in the morning. If you go early morning or late afternoon, there is a better chance of spotting more wildlife. I was fine with this though, as I didn’t want to encounter any hippos while in the Mokoro. They say it can be quite dangerous if you encounter a hippo while in the Mokoro.
Eventually, we reached an island, where we went with our poler on a 1 to 2 hour nature hike. To be honest, this was the part of the trip that scared me the most. Our guide told us that he had spotted lions, leopards and elephants on previous trips and that we needed to keep our eyes out just in case. Being a city person, I wasn’t sure I was ready to encounter any of that wildlife without being inside a vehicle or having any protections.
My fears weren’t justified though, as we didn’t spot anything. Even at a small watering hole that typically has hippos according to our guide, we didn’t see any. Despite this, it was a fun nature walk as the guide showed us places that hippos had been and was peaceful walking the island and knowing that when it’s not mid-afternoon, this area can be full of wildlife.
Following the nature walk, we came back to the waterside and had a delicious packed lunch.
It was then time to pack things up and get back into the Mokoro to head back. The trip back was another serene time on the water, gliding through the reeds and passageways. Since it was afternoon, the sun provided perfect reflections of the puffy clouds in the water.
As we got back, we thanked and tipped the guide and took the jeep back to the campsite.
Tips for the Mokoro Day Trip
- If you aren’t going through an organized overland trip like I did, it would be best to book a trip through any of the agencies located in Maun. There are many and would recommend to search online for recommended companies.
- Besides the day trip, there are also multi day trips you can take into the Okavango Delta. These will typically have you camp out on one of the islands, give you the experience of trying to be a poler yourself and control the canoe and give you more free time to try to spot wildlife. I’d recommend this if you are really into wildlife as most animals won’t appear until dusk or dawn.
- While it may seem scary being so close to the water and being worried about the boat tipping, it’s not a justified fear. If you look online, there are very few times where anyone has been injured or killed while taking the Mokoro out on the Okavango Delta.
- I went in July, which is a great season for the Okavango Delta. It is just starting to flood and is really beautiful at this time. Also, the weather is not very hot. In fact, in the morning it was quite chilly, but was comfortable enough in the afternoon to be in short sleeves.
- Do note that the seats in the Mokoro can be a bit uncomfortable. You are also sittting cross legged or with your feet straight out for hours on end, so just be wary of this and you may want to bring a pillow to sit on or something to be more comfortable if that sounds uncomfortable to you.
Would you like to take a Mokoro trip on the Okavango Delta? Let us know in the comments below!