Mike Hoar and the Okavango Swamp

Until the 1970s the Okavango swamp was still primitive wilderness. After his activities in the Congo Major Mike Hoare, the mercenary, started running safaris in the Okavango area. I met him in 1962 and talked to him about his work. Attached are his brochure for two Safaris [1, 2, 3, 4] and an article he wrote for the Automobile Association of South Africa in 1962.

The Okavango river raises in the Angolan Highlands and eventually flows into Ngamiland in north western Bechuanaland where is forms the Okavango Delta. The people of Ngamiland are the Batawana with there capital in Maun. The Okavango river is a 250 yards wide 30 foot deep river at Mohembo and this flow spreads out into 5000 - 12000 square miles of an interior drainage basin known as the Okavango Swamp. It is a vast interior delta. One of the distributaries is the Thamalakane which carries a large proportion of the water into the Botletle which then flows eastwards into the Makarikari Salt Pan. River tribesmen also known as the people of the hippopotamus [the Makubu tribe, called the Bayet by Livingstone] and the river bushmen of the Mxonakwe tribe, know how to navigate the swamps. The river bushmen are the Mokonokwe who do not look like the Kalahari Bushmen except for there pepercorn hair. However, few Europeans know the swamps well. Hardy Pretorius was the most renowned and John Seaman, running a crocodile hunting camp out of Sepopa, taught Mike Hoare some of what he knew of the interior.

Mike Hoare wrote an article on the Okavango in which he speaks of a bushmen tribe living on the islands of the interior of the Okavango Delta in total pristine fashion, uninfluenced by outside culture.