With regard to water levels in the Okavango, these are directly affected by meteorological conditions, which produce different environmental circumstances, each and every year. Of the many unpredictable forces that we have to contend with, meteorological conditions, are for most. You might think that after being in the Okavango for 35 years we would be able to predict the exact course of each flood and rainy season, however these things are simply not predictable. This makes it very difficult, and at certain times of the year, downright impossible, to predict water levels. The level of the water in the area of our operation can remain static for months and then drop suddenly and dramatically without warning. A short, but violent, thunderstorm, can likewise, raise water levels for several weeks at a time. Each of these changes can affect our access to channels and floodplains by mokoro and make a difference to the activities that are available to our clients. In addition to this, we have to contend with a large hippo population that can move, after being in one place for months at a time, overnight to a new location, which can likewise effect our access to floodplains and channels. The bottom line is that while we fully appreciate the importance of mokoro activities to our client’s experience, our concern for their safety is paramount and it is the unenviable task of our guides and managers to make decisions on a daily basis as to what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable risks.
We attempt to bring some certainty to these equations by terminating our overnight mokoro trails from end of October to April. However, it is almost always the case that throughout this period we are able to do shortened daily mokoro excursions and use mokoro to access Chief’s Island for our guided walking. However, at the risk of repeating ourselves, we cannot allow a decision concerning our client’s safety to be overridden by a marketing decision.