The Okavango Delta, yet another highlight on Tamzyn's 21 day Cape Town to Vic Falls overland trip, the good times just keep rolling in.
Day 16: The Okavango Delta
We’re in the Delta!
We had an early start, left our overlanding truck behind and after an hour’s 4x4 drive arrived at the poling station to load up our mokoro’s (local canoes made from hollowed out trees) and set off into the unfenced bush of the Okavango Delta. Our mokoro poler, Elijah Daniel, was very friendly, knowledgeable and quite skilled at poling our large butts and luggage through the cool waterways and Okavango Delta channels. All we had to do was relax and enjoy the lily pad lined waterways, run our fingers through the cool water and listen to reeds swish along the side of the mokoro. Life on an overland trip sure is tough!
Nature Calls in the Bush
We set up our Okavango Delta camp under the shade of an enormous sausage tree and got shown the bathroom: a spade, a hole and a roll of toilet paper. We were camping proper bush style and loving it. The Okavango Delta is the world’s largest inland delta and its different habitats and labyrinth of waterways and lagoons support a wide variety of animals, from hippos to wild dogs, elephants, rhino and lion.
Learning to Drive a Mokoro
Then it was our turn to try a hand at being a poler! Our antics had the polers in stitches and they soon had to come to my rescue and keep reminding me how to steer!
There were a few wobbly starts and some of us spent a lot of time stuck in the reeds, but once we got the hang of it we were racing excitedly across the shallow pool, crashing into each other and steering round the reeds.
Sunset Safari Okavango Delta Game Walk
After we half-heartedly made our way back to the banks and handed over our poles we headed off to explore the grassy plains and try our luck at spotting some game. Bolly, our guide, knew plenty about the spoor (animal tracks) and plants that we found, teaching us the various uses of wild sage and how to make palm wine.
Day 17: The Magical Okavango Delta
This morning we hopped back into our mokoro’s and steered our way to another island for our second guided walk through the golden grasslands on which we saw giraffe, a duiker and a honey badger. But that didn’t beat walking thigh deep through the water channels and getting our shoes stuck in the thick mud.
A Village Visit
We also visited the nearby village of Xaraxao and tasted Chibuku/shake shake (Sorghum Beer) before chasing down and catching the chicken for our dinner pot. A
Mokoro Cruise in Hippo Pool
After a quiet afternoon around camp, catching up and reading our books we packed our drink of choice and poled our way to Hippo Pool to watch the sun sink below the glittering water and light up the lilies. It was a fitting end to an unbelievable overlanding trip into the Okavango Delta. Great conversation with the polers, stunning waterway views and wildlife spotting - the Delta is paradise on earth!
Dancing Around the Fire
Back at our bush camp, our polers treated us to songs, story telling and traditional dancing around the roaring fire. Then it was our turn to entertain them, although our rendition of “Yellow Submarine” and “In the Jungle” was more of a torture than a show!
Day 18: Celebrating my Birthday in the Okavango Delta
I turned 22 in the Okavango Delta and I couldn’t think of a more idyllic setting or better birthday present than this Overland adventure. On our early morning walk we got up close to a herd of zebra running through the plains and across the watering hole.
Back to Reality, Almost
We were all extremely sad at having to pull down our tents, pack up our mokoro’s and leave the magical Okavango Delta. I even tried to convince Elijah to keep on rowing and help me learn to live like Robinson Crusoe surviving on water lily soup and palm wine, but he wasn’t interested.
Bottoms Up in Maun
Elijah and some other polers met up with us in Maun and showed us around the sleepy town and it’s shebeens, before we carried the party back to the bar at Sitatunga camp site and danced our last Maun night away. Stay tuned for Tamzyn's penultimate post...
For information about Overlanding in Africa or to find out more about this trip, contact the team at OverlandingAfrica.com