The Okovango Delta Wetlands – A UNESCO Heritage Site
It was a cold morning as the skies were still dark when I woke up and I had had an early night as I wanted to feel fresh to start the day . After organizing myself, I started doing the daily chores that was due by me and also gave a extra hand to the ever smiling Benson in preparing breakfast. We did not take down out tents as the tents were prepared for us for the night on an island in the Okavango Delta. Organized my clothes that was needed to be sent to the laundry and also putting aside my personal documents and belongings which was to be kept safe at the Lodge office for safety reasons as although the chances of capsizing during the boat ride was slim (it happened before) at least our personal documents such as our passports would be intact and not soaked. We did not use the ‘Monster’ for our journey to the launch site as it was too big and heavy for the roads leading into the Delta.
Heading for the Okovango Delta.
Into the Okovango Delta.
Village along the way.
Mr.King , My ‘Poler’ Mokoro boatman.
The Mokoro Boatsmen.
The journey to the launch site was about forty five minutes, passing through small villages and a prison (must be a good location) and as we arrived we were assigned to our ‘ Mokoro’, a native and commonly used boat in the Okovango Delta which was propelled through the delta by a ‘Poler’ who stands by the stern balancing, guiding and pushing it with a pole. The Mokoros are usually made of the ebony or the Kigelia tree.This practice has stopped because the number of tourists are increasing every year and there was a need for more ‘Mokoros’. The Okovango Park authorities decided that all new Mokoros are shaped and made by using fibre glass which lessens the number of trees felled. I was paired with Annette, a German lady from our group in a ‘Mokoro’ with a Mr.King as our ‘Poler’ (Boatsman).
Start of the “Okovango” Mokoro safari.
Brushing silently through the reeds of the Okovango Delta.
In between the reeds, Okovango Delta.
Herd of Zebra’s @ the Okovango Delta.
New found friends during a pit stop @ The Okovango Delta.
Along the waterways of the Okovango Delta.
The boat journey through the Okavango Delta was an awesome experience for me as hearing the sounds of the boat gliding and brushing by the reeds of the delta was magical. With the width of the channels ever changing from more than twenty feet to less then a feet wide, the Mokoro ride was ever silent except for the sounds of our cameras clicking non-stop and with the addition of the sounds of the soft splashes made by the thrust of the poles by the ‘Poler’ navigating the Mokoro through the delta adding more to that magical feeling. The boat journey took more then ninety minutes with a few stops along the way to observe the wildlife that was wandering around the delta area. We saw herds of zebras that were grazing along the banks of the delta …There have been a few fatal incidents involving the hippopotamuses being territorial in nature and when it felt threatened it will attack the Mokoros by crashing themselves against it. The Mokoro boat ride was awesome ….really awesome …. an experience that I would remember for a very long time.
My Tent on the island in the Okovango Delta.
My personal shower.
Give you three guesses!
As we arrived at our campsite on an island in the Delta, we unloaded our equipment and food supplies with the assistance of the boatman and was assigned to our prepared pitched tents which was with an ‘ensuite’ personal shower and toilet. There were programmed activities which included evening walks around the island and also boating lessons on the ‘Mokoro’ and as expected a lot of us got wet. There is also a nearby water hole where swimming is allowed. The day passed quickly with time and my detail for the day was helping out Benson preparing dinner.
Okovango ‘Bush’ Orchestra.
Party Time at the Delta !!!!
After dinner, we were serenaded by the Okovango ‘Bush Orchestra’ which comprised all the boatmen, that serenaded us with their local bush songs and also taught us a few bush dance moves and games. I could not have asked for more than this wonderful and magical day. Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) .