Nkashi and mokoro are all synonymous with Mbiroba Camp in Seronga. Mbiroba grounds has seen the establishment, back in the days of the biggest Trust of polers ever, Okavango Polers Trust, whose business was to take tourists on Mokoro rides in the swamps.
The trust had over 75 polers. Communities here easily relate with Mekoro, almost everyone can use a mokoro, for this vessel is used to sustain livelihoods. The waters at the base of Mbiroba, are the best for mokoro manoeuvres and it was therefore not surprising that the organisers of Nkashi Classic decided to host this year’s event here this past weekend. The event started in 2018 and was held in Maun.
According to the organisers, Nkashi Classic celebrates culture, the community and the power it holds to effect change for future generations. It showcases poling talent throughout Ngamiland while promoting tourism and the importance of the Okavango Delta and the mokoro.
The event was epic attracting over 60 polers from across Ngamiland, showcasing their canoeing prowess, agility and speed. The turnout was also impressive, with the cheering crowds making the event a fun filled competitive one.
Wild Bird Trust’s Koketso Mookodi has said the event is community based as it celebrates cultural tourism promoting the conservation of the Okavango Delta.
She revealed that Seronga was chosen as this year’s host because it was hard hit by the pandemic as the communities are largely dependent on tourism.
“Mbiroba Camp has a lot of meaning and representation to the people of this community in terms of its organisation towards mokoro poling as cultural activity and a source of income. The event is meant to make an economic impact in the community,” she said.
There were three categories in this year’s event, all well represent. They had the male veterans, the males and the women’s categories. The major highlight was the participation of women in the event, with 24 of them taking part.
The winner of the Male category was Mphetsolang Kesenolotswe, While Kgololo Boeng, was the fastest in the Female Category and so was Obusitswe Masimo in the Veterans category Obusitswe Masimo.
Mookodi said the overall plan is to hand over Nkashi Classic, a collaboration between Wild Bird Trust and Botswana Tourism Organisation to the communities to run them in future.