Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Bird's Eye View - Part 2

Visitors love to take mokoro trips and have the opportunity to silently move through the Okavango Delta and see the wide range of wildlife available. The traditional dug-out canoe, or 'Mokoro' was originally introduced into the Okavango Delta by the Bayei tribe who moved into the region, from the Zambezi River area, after the 1750's. The presence of the tsetse fly meant that pastoralism was not possible and instead they relied on hunting and fishing for subsistence.

Trees that were favoured, by the Bayei people, for the construction of mekoro were the Mukwa, Jackal Berry and Sausage Trees. A tree might take well over a century to attain Mokore size - but the lifespan of the Mokoro would typically only be about 5 to 8 years.

In the interests of conservation and the protection of the trees and ecology of the Delta, most of the mekoros used for visitors today are made of fiberglass reinforced plastic - the shape has stayed the same. The pole or 'nashi' that is often used to push the Mokoro is the Mogonono tree. When you start your Mokoro trip you may well hear expressions of 'Tsamaya Sentle' - Travel of Go Well. Your Polers will give you more stories and cultural background during your breaks from game spotting.

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