Sunday, October 11, 2009

Okavango Delta

We met our poler Jonas at the put in for our two day mokoro trip on the Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta in the world. Mokoros are traditional dugout canoes that hold two people seated and a poler standing in the back. Unlike other canoes, and because the delta is so shallow, mokoro polers push off the bottom with a long wooden stick as they steer through the reed grass. Jonas was a great guide with an even better laugh. The delta is a quite place. At times the only sound is the pole dipping into the water and the boat parting the thick grass.

We rode for about two hours passing vibrant birds, infinite dragonflies and colorful lily pads. We reached our campsite on an island in the middle of the river. In the midday heat Jonas took us to the local swimming hole. The shallow water was warm from the intense sun but still felt nice. Later, we got back into the mokoros for a sunset cruise to the hippo pool. Along the way Jonas pulled over to track two elephants, tossing sand to test the wind and climbing termite mounds for a better view. We didn't get very close but the chase was thrilling. Back on the water, the sky and delta were already changing colors. The hippo pool was a large open area that was too deep to cross in the mokoros. The hippos wiggled their ears and made gurgling sounds as they surfaced for air. The boat rocked in the hippo waves. Evening bird songs filled the air on our way back to camp.


Addie said...

Wonderful sounds...awesome pics. I don't think I could get in that boat!! Did the reeds hit you?

foster said...

Rocked by hippo waves! How extra-ordinary! The sounds are as magical and peaceful as the images! Way to Okavango!