We are in the territory of the River People now so we leave our motor vehicle behind for a few days, opting to travel by more appropriate means - first by motor-boat and then by Mokoro (traditional dugout canoes). These amazing traditional craft are perfectly designed for the narrow waterways of the Okavango and allow us to travel further into the Delta than we otherwise could, using more modern forms of transport.
Mokoros carry three people, two seated passengers and one driver. The driver stands in the rear of the canoe (a real feat of balance), and uses a long wooden pole to propel and steer the Mokoro through the twisting channels and canals. The drivers are excellent guides in their own right and adept at locating wildlife. You really will need your camera primed, 24/7 – so make sure you have plenty of room on your memory card and extra batteries or a solar-powered recharger.
We are fully self sufficient through this part of our journey and make our camps at the end of each day on the river banks and islands of the Okavango, sharing the environment with the local people and the local fauna of Africa.
NB: The bathroom facilities in the Okavango Delta can be best described as rustic. Expect bucket showers and plan ahead for no access whatsoever to electricity.
Our routine in the days ahead usually include a long, early morning bush walk, to see the terrain and spot game, returning to camp by mid-morning for a hearty and well-earned cooked brunch. There is time to relax in the shade during the heat of the day, and from most camps our boatmen will be able to take us to a safe swimming place to cool off. In the afternoons there is often a shorter walk or a Mokoro cruise, taking in the cool evening air.
The Okavango River people enjoy a unique way of life – one that has barely changed over the centuries. There is much to envy here in this seemingly stress-free environment in the heart of a wilderness setting… and sadly for us, we can’t stay forever. Yet more adventure beckons!
We return first, however, to our original camp – complete with hot showers and full facilities - where we enjoy a final night beneath the stars, bearing silent witness to the wonder of the Okavango.