Try a different approach to game and bird viewing while in Chobe. The river, from which the park takes its name, offers a fascinating grandstand view of life on and off the shores of this beautiful watercourse. From your discreet seats on board a mokoro, you can view animals coming down to drink undisturbed, watch the elephants playing in the water and sneak up on great floating groups of hippos, without causing them annoyance. Your experienced poler, as the oarsmen are called, would have grown up paddling on this river and will ensure that you are always well out of harm’s reach.
The mokoro itself originates from the tropical rainforests and woodlands of this area, and would have been carved from the very trees which overlook your stately passage. Large straight ebony, kigelia or teak trees are selected to fashion the mokoro, based on their strength and durability. Once the selected specimen has been felled, the trunk is hollowed out and smoothed and moulded to make a canoe-like vessel. Due to the depletion of these forests in recent times, you may have to settle for a modern day fibreglass canoe instead of a traditional mokoro, but the wildlife don’t seem to notice the difference and, as long as the craft is silent and maneuverable, the experience is just as enjoyable as when aboard the real thing.
A canoe trail on the Chobe river is an exciting adventure for two and, although it is intimidating to encounter hippos close-up on their own turf, the only real danger is crocodiles. Hippos rarely attack mokoros, as they are used to these unobtrusive craft, and your poler will go out of their way to avoid croc’s, as he is ‘in the same boat’ after all. Any apprehension you experience will be more outweighed by the brilliant birding, unparalleled game viewing and outstanding photographic opportunities to be enjoyed aboard a mokoro on the Chobe River.