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Magical mokoro moments at Mapula

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Magical mokoro moments at Mapula

   Blog   April 24, 2019  Comments Off on Magical mokoro moments at Mapula

Gliding along the waterways of the Okavango Delta is one of the best ways to experience this pristine Garden of Eden. There is nothing nicer than sitting quietly (and as still as possible so as not to rock the mokoro!) as your poler gently guides you through the reeds and hippo channels of this wetland paradise. I was invited on an agent educational trip to Botswana by Natural Selection and it included two nights at Mapula Lodge which is situated on the edge of a flood plain along the upper reaches of the Selinda Spillway.

I was there in March – which to my delight – is the best time of the year for water lilies. There are day-lilies and night-lilies.  The day-lilies flower during the day and vice versa!  It’s also a good time to spot the thumbnail-size reed frogs. You get such a different perspective of Botswana from this watery angle and our poler-guide had lots of interesting things to say about how the delta was formed, how the hippos are vital for keeping the channels open, what fish species there are etc.  A highlight was coming across a floating African Jacana nest with two delicately speckled eggs in it.  We also surprised a baby crocodile who splashed off into the reeds a nanosecond after our guide pointed it out to us.

My frog’s eye view of Mapula Lodge and the other agents who were with me on this amazing Botswana trip, care of Natural Selection

What I love about being in a mokoro is the tranquility. There is no engine, no bumps, no chatter… just the sound of the water dripping off the end of the pole, the call of a fish eagle, the clicking of frogs and the grunt of hippos in a pool in the distance.

This cute little reed frog is hardly bigger than my thumb! At first, they are hard to see and then once you’ve seen one and know what to look for, they’re easy and a delight to spot. This little fellow didn’t hop away while I maneuvered the reed into to position and clicked away with my iPhone.

My mokoro poler was a wiry young man who’d grown up in the area, messing about in mokoros. And so his calm sense of balance and his gently told stories about his childhood and the Okavango Delta’s seasons and channels were the perfect accompaniment to the ride.

We arrived back from our mokoro excursion just as dusk was falling. The lanterns were lit, the camp glowed and delicious smells were coming from the kitchen. We were hungry for dinner around a communal dining table under the African sky

I was in Botswana in March 2019 which is the end of the green season. It was very hot and the grass was long, but it was great for photography.  At the time of writing, the annual flood waters from the Angolan highlands that flow down and fill the channels and waterways of the Okavango Delta had not quite arrived. Word on the ground is that the high water season will be late and possibly not as plentiful as usual.  But that is nature!  However, with less water, the game viewing is predicted to be excellent.  Be aware that not every water-based camp in the Okavango will be able to offer mokoro excursions as an activity.  Contact us to find out which are the best camps to book during a drier than usual season.  Update on the water levels in the Okavango Delta

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