The narrow waterways, the expansive papyrus lined channels and the lily congested waters of the Okavango Delta provide the perfect habitat for a plethora of wildlife. Hippos, crocodiles, elephants and a colourful array of birdlife flock to the magical paradise of the Okavango, which provides a sanctuary for Botswana’s wildlife. Teeming with fish, amphibians and unknown creatures; the fresh waters of the Okavango Delta are a major drawcard for a those seeking a water safari.
Xobega, or Gcobega, is a secluded, tree-filled island in the waters of the Okavango Delta. Xobega Island Camp has 10 Meru Style tents located on the island and is only accessible by boat. This piece of Delta paradise is an explorer’s dream but is best suited to small groups seeking a unique Botswana experience.
A unique and traditional way of exploring this area of Botswana is via a wooden dug-out canoe called a mokoro, which has become an iconic symbol of the Delta. Because of its location, the area is ideal for a mokoro safari, which is an optional activity while “glamping” at Xobega Island Camp.
Just what is a mokoro? A mokoro is a type of canoe traditionally used by locals as a means of transport. The deep wooden canoe is constructed by digging out the trunk of a straight tree, normally an ebony or Kigelia tree. The dug-out canoe is propelled through the shallow waters by standing in the stern and pushing with a long pole. The sight of a mokoro has become synonymous with a safari to Botswana and tourists enjoy the novelty of being poled through the swamp areas while trying to spot game. It’s the ideal way to get up close and personal with flora and fauna!
Mekoro (plural for mokoro) are vulnerable to attacks from bloats of hippo, which think nothing of overturning a canoe. This stems from the past when hippos were hunted and thus some have developed an innate fear of the canoes. This adds a bit of adventure to your water based safari! To preserve the surrounding the island, modern mekoro are often constructed from fibre-glass.
Mokoro safaris are an optional activity when on safari with Xobega Island Camp.