After our cruise on the Zambezi and our tour of Victoria Falls, we drove 2 hours to Botswana to get to the Chobe National Park. Our tour guide Don explained the entry procedures for passing from Zimbabwe to Botswana in advance. 1) Pull up to road side stand, 2) produce passport (which is back in your possession from the Zimbabwean authorities), 3) stamp passport, 4) exit stand and dip your toes in pesticide (to prevent foot in mouth disease), 5) pass through minor gate… watch out for the elephant on the side of the road.
Our hotel in Chobe was very nice, and similarly decorated with mosquito netting. Again, this was a small luxury in the midst of a natural beauty. Our first outing was a game boat ride on the Chobe river, where we saw hundreds of elephants, the occasional pod of hippos, and a heard of buffalo. Again, a bright red sun set against the water of the Chobe river. Could it be getting redder?
The next African adventure began at 5am, preparing to head out on our first game drive. Indiana Jones’ Jeep arrived to pick us up and carry us to the park. Immediately upon entering the park, the driver began speeding through the dim terrain on the narrow dirt road with the seven of us bouncing to and fro in the back. The Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland has nothing on an African Safari. We sped past impalas, and wait! Was that a giraffe!? But we could not be stalled. The lions were on the move and we must catch a fleeting glimpse.
Two hours later, we spotted them… Turns out they don’t actually move all that much, but finding their resting point is a challenge nonetheless. We did indeed find it. Two ladies who had apparently just lunched were lounging under a sausage tree (yes-that’s a thing). You’d think Brad and Angelina just walked by with all the cameras shooting away. The lionesses patiently waited in the distance for the paparazzi to tire of them, posing all the while. These two would be hard to grow tired of, though.
The driver turned around to apologize for passing the giraffe so quickly, but explained their were priorities in the park and these lions were a rare catch. The AM drive had only two distant lions to offer us, but the PM drive had much more to offer.
The afternoon drive began with a heard of zebras, and went uphill from there. Across the river plane there were animals of all kinds grazing on their dinner. Elephants, next to giraffes, next to impalas, next to zebras… peacefully sharing the bounty of the river and coexisting. If only humans could do this. We came within feet of all of them, and they showed no fear or frustration with us, but some did exhibit some curiosity.