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Botswana Wild Bird Trust has announced the dates and venue for this year’s Nkashi Classic – to be held in Maun along the Thamalakane River on August 26.
This year’s event has grown both in value and number of categories, which would also see an increase in the number of participants vying for their share of the total prize money of P100 000.
This year’s fastest poler will walk home richer, having pocketed P40 000 of the grand prize.
The Nkashi Classic is an annual mokoro race hosted by the Botswana Wild Bird Trust and the Okavango Eternal partnership to create awareness of the importance of the Okavango River System and to honour the traditional heritage of the indigenous people living along and utilizing the system.
The aim of this event is It is a fun and entertaining day out with some fierce competition to crown the fastest polers in Ngamiland. Entrance to the event is free and the race is rotated between Seronga Village and Maun, with the opportunity to grow. The inaugural race took place in 2018 and the 2022 event was held in Seronga and was a great success.
A new category has also been announced for this year’s event called Doubles. This category, widely known as ‘Four-By-Four’ throughout the Okavango Delta, requires two polers to propel their mokoro. The participants may be male or female.
Each poler can only compete in one of the four categories, which include: Male (age 18 – 54), Female (age 18-54), Veteran (age 55 and over, any gender), Doubles (2 polers, any gender aged 18 and older)
The total take away prize money this year over all categories is P100 000 is broken up broken up as follows for the different categories – Male (18 – 54 years of age) – 1st Prize: P10 000, 2nd Prize: P5 000 and 3rd Prize: P2 000.
The Female’s (18 – 54 years of age) 1st Prize: P10 000, 2nd Prize: P5 000 and 3rd Prize: P2 000. For the Veterans
Veterans category for both Males and Females (55 and over, males) 1st Prize: P6 000, 2nd Prize: P2 500 and 3rd Prize: P1 000
Doubles (2 polers, any gender aged 18 and older) 1st Prize: P10 000 (shared between the two polers), 2nd Prize: P5 000 (shared between the two polers) and 3rd Prize: P2 000 (shared between the two polers)
Finalists for the main race in Maun will be selected through a series of race Heats which will be held around Ngamiland during May-June 2023 at Seronga, Etsha, Boro, Maun and Khwai areas. The event organisers will work closely with the VDC and Community Trusts in each community. Entrance for the heats is free and open to anyone who qualifies as per the competition rules which are available on the event page. The top contestants from each regional area will secure their place at the main event.
During the heats, the Botswana Wild Bird Trust (BWBT) and National Geographic Society (NGS) will also be running a Nkashi Roadshow which will include an educational component for the community, schools and children to attend. In the evening there will be a free screening of the documentary ‘Nkashi: Race for the Okavango’.
The mokoro is an icon of the Okavango Delta and has been used for centuries by the people who live along the waterways. This race is a celebration of this tradition, as well as an opportunity to unite the communities from Ngamiland and take part in a competition which celebrates this age-old custom. The Nkashi Classic is truly a unique and proudly Botswana event.