Being poled along by Ellisa in a mokoro, 2 people sitting / lying in a dug out canoe for 3 hours, listening to the bird and insect life with the reeds being brushed aside, we headed to an overnight stay 4.5 km away on a island in edge of the 16,000 sq km Okavango Delta. Thank goodness we had a modern mokoro ie a fiberglass one as the wooden ones made out of single sausage tree that takes 80 years to grow but only last 5 - 6 years leak! We had to take everything in and then take out again everything including all of our rubbish. One mokoro had the cooking gear / food and another all of our tents piled on it. I left like a giant sitting just inches above the water line watching the insects. The sky was blue, few clouds, sun was raising and it was a simply magic feeling moving along at a gentle pace. So different to the truck travel.
On both the afternoon 2 hour bush walk and the next morning on the hour's walk we saw just a few animals - zebras, buffaloes plus bird life as we mainly saw small groups of homo sapiens from other overland groups moving across the open plain and this meant that the animals were moving away from us!
The evening on the island will be remembered for the display of stars with a little light spillage from the nearby town of Maun, plus hearing the hundreds of frogs croaking away ...
To cap off our visit to the Delta, I took the optional afternoon flight over just a small part of it. We enjoyed the 360 degree vista from above. As I like pictures of "textures and colours", this was made for me seeing the ever changing fingers of green and blue waters in channels, around islands and in lagoons. We saw elephants and wildebeests from above. It was worth the US$60 cost. To cap it off, as we left on the last flight at 5 pm, it was sunset as we headed back to Maun airport.
So ... yes, I was a bit disappointed with Chobe National Park and now Okavango Delta re seeing animals living in their natural environment, but I still have many wonderful memories to take away with me: being "poled along" like a gondola - the thousand of stars and evening animal noises. May the 2 nights at Etosha National Park that we are staying at, by the neighbouring flood lit water hole where the animals are drawn to the water, will make up for this ... but that is in a few days time ...
Frogs and stars over the Okavango Delta
Monday, July 20, 2009