“The boat is easy, I learnt it in an hour,” says Benito. We are on a cruise up the Chobe River looking for hippos – we have already seen the elephants just across the river from Serondela lodge where Benito is a tour guide.
But it wasn’t always easy. Benito used to be a fisherman. “You haven’t been baptised until you have been capsized.” He says, referring to the hippos. Fishing is done from mokoros: wooden canoes dug out from trees, and a hippo can capsize a mokoro with a toss of its head.
The money from fishing was never good, and it was always uncertain. For much of the year Kabulabula Conservancy is flooded, and for reasons a fisherman can’t quite explain to a tourist, you can’t fish in the flood season.