Negotiating the water wilderness of the Okavango Delta in Botswana requires a craft that is suitable for the intricate, and often overgrown, channels as well as the open floodplains. The people who lived in the delta before the advent of tourism in the area used wooden canoe-like craft carved from the stems of trees found in the delta.
The mokoro is controlled by a person standing in the back of the craft and using a long, thin wooden pole to steer the mokoro. Safari guests sit one or two-up in front of the poler. In the present day tourism lingo the mokoro controller is known as a poler.
Mokoros are carved from the trunks of three species of trees occurring in the Okavango Delta. The length of the makoros meant that large trees had to be sought for the making of one craft.
The local people of the delta used the mokoro for hunting, fishing and transportation of goods – and although still used for these purposes the trait is slowly giving away to the march of westernization into the area. Today most mokoros are used in the tourism industry, with many of the hunters and fishermen now employed as ‘polers’ by the safari companies.
Due to the steep rise in tourism activity in the Okavango in recent years fears were expressed about the dangers posed to the environment by the number of trees needed to provide mokoros for the tourism market. A solution was found with the production of custom-built fiber-glass versions of the original mokoro. So successful has the project been that even traditional fishermen in the delta are using the new versions. All lodges in the delta use the new version of mokoro today.
Statistically responsible for the most human deaths in Africa every year the hippo poses a threat to any unsuspecting mokoro in the waterways of the Okavango and many polers can attest to the dangers posed by hippos. (From Internet)
The days spent in Okavango delta, camping i n wild on the small island, trips with mokoro, were a highlight of my African trip. The polers were very nice guys, very friendly and helpful, explained us what the life in delta was. In the evening, by the fire, they danced and singed for us. The guy on the photo made by himself this "crown". He showed us also the skull of the lion who injured him. Well, he survived, the lion didn't. We were happy to have them as guides and they also have fun with us as you can see in WS.
Aha, we saw many hippos while sitting in mokoro, and one showed us his open jaws only a few meter of us. it was thrilling!!
Critiques | Translate
Sergiom (89387) 2013-01-11 5:30
J'aime beaucoup le point de vue choisi.On dirait bien que l'homme à l'avant plan s'est un peu penché pour améliorer la composition qui est nette et profonde.
yquem46 (38752) 2013-01-11 5:35
Nice shot of the three mokoro polers in various attitudes, with the main attention to the one at FG with the porcupine hat
I'm pretty sure that we were camping on the same little island not very far from the Caprivi strip in Namibia
Have a nice WE
timecapturer (49288) 2013-01-11 5:37
fascinating shot this. Your POV and composition are full of intrigue and the detailing perfect. The elements and whole atmosphere of this image are compelling and eye-catching. Original and creative imagery! Like it a lot!
Have a great weekend - Brian.
jjcordier (79297) 2013-01-11 8:23
On pourrait presque penser que ces hommes ont posé pour toi tant la composition est excellente. Une jolie rencontre avec ces hommes souriants.
GREGG (7888) 2013-01-11 10:10
aparat na wysokości bohatera,
dobra głębia ostrości,
ciekawe miejsce, no...no..
i ciepło pozdrawiam G.
limielski (0) 2013-01-11 10:48
To zdjęcie szczególnie mi sie podoba. Kompozycja idealna. To zjecie, a wlasciwie ci ludzie na zdjęciu - żyją!
holmertz (59812) 2013-01-11 11:20
This is a well composed shot. One guy filling the corner and being the star of the photo, another one standing parallel (almost) to the left frame, and the third one well placed on the right side. Together they form a fine triangle.
I have only done anything similar to this in Tanzania and I was also lucky to have a good guide and a careful driver who also prepared tasty food. They were both very nice guys.
worldcitizen (9476) 2013-01-11 12:35
This is a unique and interesting multiple portrait. The man in front, with the headdress lies in the foreground casually, while the others hang out behind. I enjoyed the information in your note, and the workshop photo, too. It must have been an amazing experience.
Kamilutka (8107) 2013-01-11 13:15
kapitalne zdjecie i bardzo interesujaca notka. Swietnie rozmieszczone osoby zarowno na pierwszym, jaki na drugim planie. Pieknie rozegrane kolory i ciekawe szczegoly. Ladny DOF, dziekitemu uzyskalas bardzo dobra glebie i perspektywe.
kasianowak (10621) 2013-01-11 13:28
Dobry wieczor Malgosiu
Fascynujaca jest twoja notka o zyciu tych ludzi!
Super mistrzowska kompozycja z lekko nieostrym drugim planem przyciaga uwage do glownego bohatera zdjecia.
ACL1978 (7511) 2013-01-11 17:25
A really well-planned and executed shot, Malgorzata. The differing poses of the polers work together beautifully - I'm reminded in some ways of rock band photos that are often done in this kind of style! The man in FG is perfectly in focus and is a great center of attention, while his companions and the surroundings make for excellent interest. Thanks!
bukitgolfb301 (45419) 2013-01-11 21:33
Hi dear Malgo
I read note carefuly and saw your posting too, so what can I say--- Interesting indeed! Nice triple portrait and man in fornt is so appealing.
Thanks a lot and have a good weekend!
marabu61 (11331) 2013-01-12 5:06
Great explanation to this informal shot of polers in the Okawango delta. I am glad to hear that tourism for once has brought the locals a solution to the problem of using to much wood and trees.
As for the picture itself, it is a wonderful relaxed and informal shot. These three men are positioned perfectly troughout the frame, each one in a different but relaxed pose. You couldn't have taken this one better, it is perfect in all senses.
krzychu30 (15512) 2013-01-12 10:02
fantastyczny portret i ciekawa historia,ktora za tym zdjeciem stoi.Zgadzam sie z opinia Leszka.Faktycznie ta scena,a w szczegolnosci ci ludzie sa bardzo wyrazisci,ekspresyjni.Znakomity kadr i moment,ktory uchwycilas.
elenimavrandoni (0) 2013-01-12 12:37
Hello Malgo, this is a great tribute to the polers and an extraordinary close up! You should be a Nat Geo photographer for sure!
Have a great weekend,
claudeD (41916) 2013-01-12 14:12
Very fine picture showing this very interesting portrait shot. I like the composition and the sharpness. Very good and informative note. Very well done.TFS.
With regards from Luxembourg
papagolf21 (110520) 2013-01-13 0:35
Bonjour, chère Malgo,
Une image très exotique et surprenante. Le sujet est fort bien mis en valeur.
La coiffe de l'homme au premier plan est également troublante.
Mes meilleurs voeux pour l'année 2013.
Nicou (152204) 2013-01-13 2:40
Très beau portrait et image de cette tribu avec les plume sur la ^tet et ces deux autre personnage dans l'image superbe.
Bravo et amitié
mumek (20202) 2013-01-13 10:07
Bardzo interesujacy obraz i bardzo ciekawa notatka. Swietna jakosc zdjecia, naturalna kolorystyka z wyraznymi detalami. Rzeczywiscie masz mase rzeczy do ogladania w tym ciekawym zakatku Afryki.
macjake (73063) 2013-01-13 10:25
a very interesting and educational type of read!
this man was very helpful and kind to allow you to be so close and personal with him - that always helps!
its really cool that you can travel to such amazing countries! good for you!
a truly cultural photo for TE.
PS Still no snow here in the city areas
Sonata11 (34007) 2013-01-14 8:49
Ciekawa i interesujaca notatka o zyciu tych ludzi. Wspaniale uchwycilas te scene z glownym bohaterem oraz z ekpteseja ma twarzy tych drugoplanowych postaci. Wspaniala i bardzo ciekawa praca. Moje serdeczne gratulacje.
Milego popoludnia i serdecznie pozdrswiam,
serp2000 (45970) 2013-01-15 0:10
Another interesting report from South Africa. This composition reminds me some cover of a music album. Very very interesting photo and informative note. I think, I need some coffee break after crazy year. I have to finish my book, for example.
Royaldevon (43985) 2013-01-15 1:40
Good Morning Malgo,
Such an interesting note.
You are very well-travelled!
I love how these three people are so beautifully positioned, in your shot. The focal figure is perfect! He is giving us all his attention, he is sharp and engaging. The dof, again, is perfect, slowly taking us into the interesting b/g but providing a context and not distracting from the main figure.
Have a lovely day,
adores (46419) 2013-01-15 17:03
Nice scene! Their different poses are great and I guess the one in background was finding it really amusing:)!
I specially like the one in foreground - his pose and his hat!
I'm sure you had a wonderful trip:)!
Silvio1953 (154291) 2013-01-24 10:27
Ciao Malgorzata, gran bel tributo a quesyta popolazione, fantastico il copricapo del sigore in primo piano, ottima composizione, magnifica nitidezza e splendid colori, brava, ciao Silvio
COSTANTINO (70282) 2013-01-24 10:28
a different shot from the usuals
impressive portraits and interesting
expressions on their faces,nice pov
ikeharel (79317) 2013-01-25 2:57
Happy faces yet an inquisitive look they have, Malgo.
Nice taken the moment on photo, they look interested no less than tourists themselves.
adramad (50038) 2013-01-27 10:01
Very good POV used in this portrait, with three kids at different distances from the plane, which is in the foreground has a curious head touched, magnified image with the intensity proportional to the image of these ethnic groups in the delta.
Very good sharpness and brightness.
All the best and a big hug, my friend.
Bluejeans (64251) 2013-01-29 5:25
Ola Malgorzata ,
Esta tua foto está fantástica com este retrato destes três homens , as vezes penso que as pessoas na Europa vivem longe deste mundo sem riquezas , bom momento , parabéns!!
Um abraço Gonçalo
sevy (58) 2013-02-03 23:53
Very interesting group portrait shot, in the spirit of photoreporter.
The below point of view and then the composition in triangle with the 3 main people is giving a real dynamism to the view.
wolf38 (31296) 2013-02-10 1:00
Hello Malgorzata. An interesting photo from Botswana. Now I read the very informative text. And I must say, the picture is an ideal post for TE.
Best rgds, Wolfgang.