Wearing the ever-expectant gaze of the safari-goer, I kept a steady watch for a group of hippos or a camouflaged crocodile around every corner of this lush and perfectly calm marsh. Our guide stood as confident as ever at the back of our mokoro (dugout canoe) and continued to slowly pole his way through the endless maze of reeds gaining ground on what would be our campsite for the night, in the heart of the Okavango Delta.
Found in northwest Botswana, Okavango Delta is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the seven natural wonders of Africa. And its massive, spanning between 6,000 and 15,000sq km (2,316-5,791 sq mi) depending on time of year. The giant area covers, essentially, the expansion and expulsion of the Okavango River. This natural occurrence creates a fantastic ecosystem full of wildlife, and is a paradise for adventure-seekers looking to get a genuinely unique safari experience.
I arrived in the delta from the town of Maun. And it’s from Maun that you can take scenic flights over the delta before you transfer into the more remote safari camps. I knew I wanted to do a few days of exploring in the vast expanse of the area by mokoro boat with local guides, so I signed up for a two-day camping journey set to leave the next day.
In the morning, I met my group and local guide and together we drove an hour or so to the boat launch where we set up the mokoro and set off into the reeds. The to-and-fro of the hippos make water pathways out of the reeds that we use to work our through. Our small party poled through the shallow water for a few hours before stopping for lunch and setting up the tents for that evening. We then went on a game walk in the afternoon, spotting elephants, wildebeest, zebra, kudu and a ton of birds. That evening, we were treated to a stunning African sunset, followed by a delicious meal and beautiful campfire. The stars and the night’s sky were an unexpected treat and something I will always remember from my time camping in the delta.
The local mokoro guides in Botswana are an amazing group of talented individuals, and our local guide Simon was no exception. It was incredible to watch him navigate what seemed like a complete labyrinth of tributaries, and his keen sense of wildlife was amazing. We had such a unique experience exploring the area almost all thanks to him and his detailed knowledge base.
Exploring the Okavango Delta by dugout canoe was a totally unique form of travel in Southern Africa. It is a must-do when visiting Botswana and such a great location to spot iconic wildlife in their natural habitat. The expanse is a teeming and vibrant ecosystem, which is constantly changing and adapting to new circumstances. Whether on the water in a mokoro, walking on land during a safari tour, or by a sightseeing trip by air, a visit here will guarantee an unforgettable experience.
G Adventures runs a number of departures in Botswana encompassing a wide range of departure dates and activities to cater to different tastes. We’re thrilled at the prospect of showing you this big blue planet of ours — check out our small group trips here.