Another painful early morning rise (5 am), this time to meet for our safari into the Chobe National Park, which runs along the Chobe River and borders Namibia to the north. Yet another Land Rover equipped to take about 9 people. It was a 3 hour ride through the park along deep sandy roads. We found out you could camp in the park if you wanted, but motorcycles were not allowed inside. We were told it had to do with a size issue, we’d be looked at as “game” by the local wildlife. Point taken.
The drive started out tame enough, looking at birds, some gazelle, impalas, hippos and a dung beetle rolling a perfectly spherical ball of elephant crap around while the female tried to lay eggs in it. Our driver then received a call over the CB saying another group had spotted a lioness with her cubs. He asked if we wanted to see that with a warning that she may not be there by the time we arrived. The vote was unanimous, he stepped on the gas and we ripped through the narrow dirt roads to get there. There were 3 other Land Rovers already there so we had to wait our turn. We started getting annoyed when another truck showed up and nudged its way ahead of us. Our driver politely encouraged us to be patient. We did and when we had our turn we got the BEST views of the lions, as they actually stood up in the bush and walked around!! They were about 10 meters from the truck. Wow!!
Next we saw vultures and more hippos. Amazing to see them in their natural habitat. After that herds of elephants. One even decided we were a threat, flared its ears and charged a few meters toward us. Gazelles, impalas, warthogs and water buffalo were also present at different points throughout the park. On the way back to the lodge we stopped at a ridge overlooking a valley to witness more elephants and some giraffes. It was an odd feeling for me. It reminded me of the movie Jurassic Park as I looked out over the valley and saw the elephants and giraffes moving across the fields. I know, not dinosaurs but the panoramic view with these huge animals was incredible! Again, our driver rushed to get us there so we could get a closer look. We got there just as an elephant was charging a warthog away. I didn’t realize an elephant could run so fast and the noise was frightening!
Back at the lodge we had a few hours until our boat ride on the Chobe River back into the park. This was another 3 hour tour, but from a different perspective. Kind of interesting seeing the same animals, especially the hippos, from the water. We saw too many hippos to count, crocodiles, monitor lizards, birds of all varieties, gazelles and huge herds of elephants crossing the river from an island to the mainland.
We both “crashed” early due to the early start, but what a day!
The campsite bar, right along the river.
Sunset view from the bar.