Close Encounters at Chobe National Park!

At 6.45 am on saturday four of us set off for nearby Botswana and a two day overnight safari in the Chobe National Park. We crossed the Zambezi by a flat bottomed ‘ferry’ at a point where the borders of Zambia, Zimbawe, Botswana  and Namibia all converge. Each ferry can only take one lorry plus foot passengers. There was a five day tail back of lorries on both the Zambia and Botswana sides!

Our safari started with a boat  trip down the Chobe River (which merges with the Zambezi) where we saw hippos, elephants and buffalo by the water’s edge. We also saw fish eagles, a monitor lizard, crocodiles and impala.

Following lunch at the Chobe Safari Lodge Hotel we embarked on a four hour drive through the national park. There was great excitement and a furious clicking of camera shutters as each ‘new animal’ was spotted ( a bit like ‘I Spy Safari Animals’). It was an amazing experience and we were often with a few metres of the animals.

Chobe  has the highest concentration of elephants in Africa and I have to say we were getting quite blase towards the end as we encountered yet another elephant!  We also saw huge numbers of giraffe, impala, buffalo, warthogs and a whole range of beautiful birds including hornbills, eagles, vultures and even the secretary bird!       

Over night we camped in the park, just the four of us, Jonah our excellent, good humoured and informative guide and two guys who put up the tents and prepared the meals. We sat around the campfire spellbound by the glittering array of stars in the, light pollution free, night sky! 

During the night we were woken by lions roaring nearby.  The next morning Jonah told us they were less than 2km away!   After a 6.00 am breakfast we set off on another, 3 hour, early morning drive. Jonah tried to track the lions and we found their footprints remarkably close to our camp but unfortunately he was unable to find them, which was a bit disappointing.

After returning to camp for brunch – eggs, sausage, bacon, beans (the works!) we set of for another four hours drive through the park, as we headed back towards the ferry.

In total we spent around 12 hours driving through different sections of the park and 3 hours on the river. It was an amazing experience and one I will never forget. I would love to repeat it elsewhere in Africa, at one of the parks where the big cats can be more readily found.

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