Botswana’s famous Okavango Delta & Mokoro Tips

To see parts of the Okavango Delta, we though it would be best to take a Mokoro trip into the delta. We booked it through the Okavango Lodge the night before (more later on why this was not a good idea) and left in the early morning with a motor boat to the Mokoro Poler village. Polers are the people steering the traditional Mokoro boats by using long stick much like the Gondolas in Venice.

However since it was the dry season and consequently the water level was very low, the motor boat had a lot of trouble to make it up the channels. We regularly had to push the boat and/or get out to wade in the shallow water to reduce the weight in the boat.

After 3,5 hours we had reached the village, founde our poler and set out further into the delta. Just after the first turn an elephant was blocking the way and a second one was approaching. We enjoyed the sight and watched the elephants for a while. However, local people in an other boat got sick of waiting and chased them away so that they could safely proceed.

The heat was nearly unbearable again and the sun was just relentlessly burning down on us. Therefore we took a long lunch break in the shade, sharing our food with the guide who had nothing on him but the clothes he was wearing.

Elephants are numerous in the Okavango Delta and are big and strong enough to eat just about anything that comes in their way. For example, they remove this Baobab’s bark with their tusks to eat.

The protected area of the Delta is neighboring farmland full of livestock. And since the long fence to separate both is not perfect, this can make up for interesting sight such as Zebras and Donkeys grazing together.

On the way back to the Poler village the motor boat caught back up to us. We had left with four guys from South Africa and Swaziland that were on a trip to Malawi. They were drinking since 8 o’clock in the morning and were having a great time cruising around in the Delta.

All in all it was a really interesting and enjoyable day trip. However, there is in major problem with this kind of trip as we found out afterwards. Little to no money of what we payed to the Okavango Lodge to organise the Mokoro trip will actually go to the polers. At the beginning we were under the impression that the regulated price that is set for these trips would make sure that the polers get a fair income for their work. But apparently the Okavango Lodge people have found a way around this – very disappointing! So if you are interested in a trip like this, I guess it would be best to get to Mokoro Poler on your own. Once you are there finding a Poler should be easy and you can pay directly to them then and there. Here is the location of Mokoro Poler north of Maun: