Deepa Mohan Phooken is a radiologist by profession and a traveller by passion.
Travelling through Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe with her husband and daughter, Deepa discovers a little of herself in the changing landscape from the windswept beaches of South Africa to the sands of Namibia, and the wealth of nature and culture in between.
Here is an excerpt from Crisscrossing Southern Africa, where Deepa writes about the expanse of the Okovango Delta from her tiny Mokoro.
(To read the full text visit https://deepstravelogue.com/)
One of the least populated countries in Africa , second only to Namibia, Botswana is a rarity in an overdeveloped , overpopulated world. It has untamed, vast pockets of wilderness.
We’ve done these trips a couple of times making our hearts yearn for the Delta ever so more!
The Okavango River system is made up of the main perennial river channel called the Panhandle and numerous small seasonal rivulets which fan out southeastwards forming the massive Okavango Delta.
The Trip To Maun
We started one bright July morning from Molepolole down the straight smooth, traffic free roads of Botswana and drove north past the Khama Rhino Sanctuary near Serowe.
We then skirted the central Kalahari Salt Pans to reach Maun by late afternoon (a distance of more than 900 Kms).
Early next morning we were picked up from our lodge by our friend and guide Sox, a river bushman.
He drove us in his 4 x 4 to the mooring point where he had a motorboat waiting for us.
We then set sail on the rivulets of the Okavango River soaking in the clear blue water lush with papyrus reeds and water lilies.
Leadwood and Mopane trees framed the banks of the rivulets.
We saw a lot of wild life too. Red Lechwe, a small deer (exclusive to the Okavango), Sitatunga, Saddle Billed Storks, Wattled Cranes and Geese foraging in the shallows.
There was no dearth of African Fish Eagles, Malachite Kingfishers, Rufous bellied Herons, Plovers, Pygmy Geese, African Swallows, Slaty Egrets or Pel’s Fishing Owls either.
We changed our mode of transport at Boro village station, a community trust Mokoro station run by the Bayei tribe and got into mekoros with our poler guides.
We drifted past grazing elephants, crocodiles sunning on river banks & territorial hippopotamuses visible not far from the Mokoro.
Thumb sized painted reed frogs rode in the mokoro along with us.
We made stops on small islands to have lunch and tea making sure not to wander too far as swimming lions are a known entity in the Okavango! Not that cheetahs, leopards, wild dogs and hyaenas are unknown entities.
We crossed a few South African families who were out for the weekend, some even nonchalantly dipping their feet in the crocodile and hippopotamus infested water! They were so much at ease in the water.