Making waves in Botswana

botswana boat

Traditionally made by carving out the trunk of ebony or kigelia trees, the mokoro is the most popular mode of transport for navigating Botswana’s Okavango Delta. It’s no wonder that traversing these wonderful waterways in a dugout canoe, or modern fibreglass version, is such a trip highlight, but as Fay Whitelaw discovered, hippos still have right of way in the Delta…

“We had a wonderful, relaxing ride at sunset in a mokoro in the Okavango Delta. It was an amazing experience, lazing back while our guide poled us through the reeds. We even saw an elephant taking his arvo drink from the Delta after a hot day. It was great having a new perspective – looking back at this huge mammal from the water. We enjoyed a lovely evening and had plenty of pics to prove it. An experience that could have only been improved if we had a bottle of wine!

Then all of a sudden there was a lot of chatter from the guides. We were on our way back to camp, leading our group, when we started rushing forward twice as fast as before. Then the grunting started. There was one unhappy hippo nearby. We went from lazy and calm to sitting upright and awfully nervous. Once the guide slowed down we asked what was going on. He said that we had accidentally come between a mother and her baby!

By this time the rest of the group had caught up and we were floating around the edge of a happy hippo pod. Our close call was a bit scary and all I could hear was my mum’s voice in my head saying “Stay safe – make sure you stay away from those hippos!”

Our relaxing lovely evening wasn’t as laid back as it started, but what an incredible experience and I still wanted a drink by the end of our sunset cruise!”

Tour Botswana with Intrepid on trips like these great small group adventures:
Okavango Experience – 9 days
Okavango & Beyond – 9 days

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* Photo by Diane Moffatt – Intrepid Photography Competition

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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