Just after breakfast, I set off for the fourth country in four days: Botswana. The Day Trip to Chobe National Park started with a bus ride to the Botswana border, where we split into two safari vehicles after getting our passports stamped. From the border, we drove to Chobe Safari Lodge, piled onto a large pontoon boat of sorts, and set out on a river safari.
The Chobe River separates Botswana and Namibia, and so Chobe National Park, Botswana was on one side of the river and Namibia was on the other. If it wasn’t for all the crocodiles and hippos, I could have swam to country number five! Oddly enough, after living on the ocean for several years, it was strange to be on water where I couldn’t see the bottom. However, the smell of the river reminded me of the lakes back in Indiana for some reason.
While on the river, we saw hippos, crocodiles, various birds, elephants, Cape buffalo, and water buck. At one point, we even saw several large crocodiles feeding on a dead Cape buffalo…until a hippo absconded with the carcass and proceeded to lick and bite at the dead buffalo. Hippos are supposedly vegetarians, and no one had ever seen that before!
After several hours on the river, we returned to the lodge for a nice lunch and conversation before going out on a game drive for the afternoon. On the game drive, we saw more hippos, elephants, water buck, birds, Cape buffalo, giraffe, crocodiles, sable antelope, impala, a tortoise, and several fish eagles. The fish eagles are beautiful and strongly resemble the American bald eagle–so much so that I wonder if they are really the same species, just living on different continents. I’ll have to check that out on Google one of these days. One elephant was so close to our parked vehicle, I could have reached out and touched it! I didn’t, but I did get a picture of her eyelashes. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any predators / large cats. The guide was quite informative, and I learned still more about Africa’s wildlife.
This was my first safari in a “real safari vehicle,” and it was quite nice to not have to sit on an uncomfortable roof rack or crawl out the window to be able to take photos. At the same time, having a guide and a group also meant that the drive was not self-paced, which was a bit annoying. Given the choice, I’d still go on safari with Derek and Marianne in their Land Rover over a “real safari” any day!
From the game drive, we drove back to the Zimbabwe border, switched to the bus, and returned to Victoria Falls, quite exhausted.