Nkashi Classic
2023 Sponsors

The vision for Nkashi started in 2018 as a mokoro race and has expanded into a movement. The motto, ‘Propelling us Forward’ stems from the use of the Nkashi pole which is used to propel mekoro over the shallow waters of the Okavango Delta.

Nkashi honours the contribution of traditional and local knowledge to science, conservation, and alternative enterprise opportunities. As our projects expand, we will see the Nkashi Brand encompass our Nkashi Knowledge Centres, the Nkashi Bus taking education on the road, Nkashi Enterprises and Nkashi Trails. All of these initiatives have a focus to catalyse and support the sustainable development of a conservation-based economy in the Delta.

NKASHI AIMS TO BE ON THE GROUND, IN REMOTE AREAS ACTIVELY ENGAGING WITH THE PEOPLE IN THE DELTA. It involves local and indigenous communities in the conversation. It invites communities to become a more active part of the solution. It listens to the solutions that have been there all along through traditional knowledge and it catalyses change as it propels us forward together.

Find out more about how it all began with the Nkashi Classic!

The Nkashi Classic Game

The Nkashi Classic Game is a simple race along the Okavango river in Botswana, avoiding obstacles like hippos, crocodiles and reeds navigating through various blocked channels and finishing in the fastest time possible. On the way you will have to collect water lilies and the word Nkashi for extra points.

Nkashi Classic - 2023

It began in 2018 when we hosted our first Nkashi Classic mekoro race. This is an annual mekoro time trial hosted by the Botswana Wild Bird Trust and sponsored by the National Geographic Society and De Beers. The Nkashi Classic aims to create awareness of the importance of the Okavango River System, the community it supports, and the power that it holds to effect positive change for future generations. We held a race in 2018, 2019 and 2022. The 2023 Nkashi Classic took place on Saturday 26th August in Maun.

In preparation for next year's event, we invite companies, organisations, tourism operators, governmental departments and businesses to help us sponsor various aspects of the event.

The documentary, 'Nkashi: Race for the Okavango', has now been released and is significantly contributing to the event's momentum. We encourage you to watch the trailer here to get a better understanding of what the film is about. Stay tuned to BTV1 in Botswana for regular screenings.

Lasty Kedisa (25yrs) from Boro was crowned the Okavango Delta’s Fastest Poler at the Nkashi Classic 2023 on 26 August 2023. Five years ago at the inaugural Nkashi Classic Lasty took second, beaten by Ralf at Matlapana in Maun.

In 2022 when the races returned, after the drought and pandemic hiatus, he once again fell short of the Championship by four seconds as Bokspits from Seronga lifted the trophy.

This year Lasty came determined to win. He completed the 1.5km long course in 11min 24sec. Lasty rose to the Leaderboard by just a second faster than Gorate Moagi (36yrs) from Jao and no one managed to topple him. Maikutlo Barumolang (51yrs) from Etsha 13 came third with a time of 11min 26sec. The champion walked away with P40,000, which includes P10,000 for his Okavango Kopano Mokoro Community Trust (OKMCT).

Great prizes for the polers and giveaways on the day for the crowd. Pre-registered polers will compete with a limited number of 'wild card' entries on the day.

For more information, please email info@nkashi.co.bw or visit our Facebook page here.

For all Nkashi event rules, please read here. These rules must be read before any competitor enters.

How do I compete in this the Nkashi Classic? Make sure you come to one of the race heats and set your fastest time. Heats will be run for 2 days in several locations. Polers can arrive throughout the day at any of the heats. Entrance is free to all. You will be able to register, select your racing category, and then be given one chance to set your fastest time on the race course. The top qualifiers from all of the heats will then compete in the finals in August. Details of the Nkashi Classic 2024 will be confirmed later in the year.

The basic criteria which competitors must meet include: • Must be 18 years of age or older. • Must have and present a valid Omang or another form of identification at registration. • Must be able to swim • Must be able to pole a mokoro efficiently • Must be medically fit to compete

The full competition rules have been posted above and are available on the website and Facebook events page and all polers are requested to review them before racing.

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 polers will only know if they have qualified for the final after the heats have been completed in mid-July.

2023 Sponsors

We are confident that the Nkashi Classic will continue to be a day enjoyed by all and a showcase for local poling talent. It is a wonderful family day, with entertainment for all and a chance to celebrate this age-old tradition in a fun and positive way. A truly unique opportunity to sponsor a proudly Botswana event. If you would like to be part of this event, please contact us via email info@nkashi.co.bw or call us directly at 72 396 507.



In 2022 we moved the Nkashi Classic event to Seronga where a successful race was held on 28 May. There were 88 participants and over 550 spectators who came together at the Mbiroba Polers Trust property where contestants in the categories of female, male and veteran all battled it out for the prizes. The race was also filmed as part of an documentary, Nkashi, Race for the Okavango, on the heritage of the mokoro and Nkashi Classic race, which was released in July 2023.


Main office: Plot #5639 Matlapana PO Box 350141
Email: info@nkashi.co.bw Mobile: 72 396 507

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