We left Zimbabwe for Botswana on the 21st. An interesting trip! We drove to the border where we had to exit Zimbabwe’s immigration station, then we drove to the Botswana immigration building which was a true eye opener. It was a tiny, tiny little building, jammed with people, and I won’t comment on the restroom except to say you would not want to use it. Everything was very primitive, and it was sadly apparent in the room that people from Botswana do not have access to daily showers.
The road to Chobe was riddled with potholes and donkeys and goats and warthogs were everywhere. Upon arrival at the Chobe Safari Lodge we chose our activities from a list of possibles and got ready for our first Chobe game drive. The Chobe National Park is on the Chobe River which separates Namibia and Botswana. It is known for huge elephant populations and justly so. The number of elephants is about 60,000 plus. They travel in big families, 30 to 50 at a time. The game in Chobe is plentiful and yet the elephants are so populous they are destroying the vegetation in the park. Botswana wants to “cull” them (kill them), but it is very difficult to do. Elephants are extremely intelligent and emotional with LONG memories which are transmitted generation to generation. The park cannot allow elephants to remember, and pass down, that humans hurt them. There are too many elephants in the area, but I am glad they will remain.
We saw towers of Giraffe!!! Ah, my favorites, they are so long and elegant! We hired a private boat to take us on the river and Ally took the most incredible hippo photographs. There were so many, I cannot even guess how many there were.
They were in the water, in the grasses, in the mud….just everywhere. The boat we hired is an air boat, very small and if a hippo really wanted us, there would be no problem at all. There are crocodiles on the banks and in the water.
We saw Sable Antelope (very rare find, few left) and they are incredibly gorgeous. Their horns are magnificent. We saw kudos, impala, elephants, and even water buffalo. Also, monitor lizards and tons of baboons. We glimpsed the rare Red Lechwe, a tiny water antelope, and a Sitatunga, another antelope type creature with great spiraling horns. We also saw a couple of lions snoozing under some bushes, but it was very hard to get a photo.
We saw elephants, and more elephants. We watched a couple of young males “fight”, and a couple of the younger males made some threatening movements toward our open air vehicle. Quite imposing….we certainly did not want to piss off elephants, so we slowly backed away. There were several young males around, letting us know we were not exactly welcome. We also saw elephants dusting themselves, snorting up huge amounts of dust and then spraying the dust all over their bodies. Dusting keeps them cool, serves as a sunscreen, and keeps insects away. In Chobe they also visit mineral licks, or salt licks, and eat the dirt which is rich in minerals and sodium. Scientists hypothesize that elephants need to supplement sodium, which is lacking in the water and in their food supplies. Many other animals, including giraffe and zebra, also visit the mineral licks.
The lodge was nice, but the food mediocre and served buffet style. YUCK. Our room overlooks the Chobe River, and the courtyards are full of birds, warthogs, and monkeys. One woman wanted to pet the “wildebeest”, but I advised her not to. I mean, warthogs have some major tusk action going on I didn’t want to see anyone gored! We loved sitting on the balconies and watching the wildlife. Warthogs snort just like pigs do!
Please go to the Africa photo page for more Chobe photographs! There is just no way to put it all in a blog entry. Chobe is dense with wildlife!
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