These Exhilarating African Boat Cruises Are the Best Way to See Hippos in the Wild; Elizabeth Preske; Travel + Leisure

Botswana – Okavango Delta

The word safari tends to evoke images of expansive savanna landscapes; roaming giraffes, lions, and zebras; and minibuses, trucks, and all-terrain vehicles. These classic safaris, however memorable and necessary to complete the African experience, tend to skip the continent’s many rivers, lagoons, and lakes.

If hippos are more your thing than giraffes, consider going on an African water safari to best see the semi-aquatic mammals in their natural element.

One of the most popular ways to see hippos up close is to take a mokoro safari through Botswana’s Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the seventh wonder of Africa.

Similar to a canoe, the mokoro is streamlined to maneuver through narrow waterways and is motor-less so as not to scare the wildlife. It is steered by a tour guide who uses a ngashi, a long pole, to propel two passengers across deep lakes and shallow channels through the reeds and marshlands of the world’s largest inland delta.

Relaxing and peaceful, a ride in a mokoro provides safari-goers a unique vantage point to see the hippos, as well as the frogs, birds, and elephants common to the areas.

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