Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Day Trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana

One of the highlights of the African Adventure was a day trip and safari to Botswana.  I was staying at The Livingstone Resort in Zambia and the day trip was offered through the resort. It would be an hour drive to the border crossing into Botswana followed by a morning safari driving in Chobe National Park followed by lunch. After eating we'd be treated to an afternoon river safari on the Chobe River by boat.  Quite a day in store!

The driver arrived bright and early and we were off to Botswana at 6:30am.  An interesting drive through the outback of Zambia for an hour. As we approached the border crossing there was a line of eighteen wheelers all loaded to the max.  Truck after truck after truck all parked in a line on the side of the road.  Talk about chaos.  The roads already are not good. No shoulders and only two lanes. Throw in about two hundred big trucks and it was a total mess.

Arriving at the border it was obvious the problem.  There is no bridge across from Zambia into Botswana.  Only a couple of old, sketchy looking ferries.  Only one of the big trucks could fit on the ferry at a time.  Our driver said it can easily take a month for a truck to get thru the long line and across the rover into Botswana! Crazy!  These truckers just sit there day after day after day. Our guide said although it stinks for the driver, they are so well paid in comparison to other jobs that the drivers deal with it.

Our guide ran off with our passports and got ok'd by the Zambia powers so we could cross.  We hopped on a little boat and zipped across into Botswana.  At the other side I got my passport stamped again and thy turned me loose.  Off to Chobe National Park.

The last time I went on safari was in South Africa at Thornybush Game Lodge it was an off-road safari, meaning if we spotted something cool off across the bush we went to go see it. At Chobe that wasn't allowed unfortunately so we were stuck on the road.  It definitely limited our sightings I'm sure.

We drove around about three hours seeing tons of wildlife! Impala and kudu and other African deer everywhere. Tons of beautiful birds like this eagle.

We also found this beautiful lion relaxing under a shad tree.

Around the next corner was a giraffe peaking over a tree at us.

The highlight were definitely the elephants though.  Huge herds as far as you could see! I'd estimate a couple of hundred in total.

After the drive we grabbed some lunch at a local lodge and then headed down to the river for our boat safari.  I was ready to see some hippos and Nile crocodiles!  It didn't take long until we were face to face with a monster Nile croc resting on the riverbank.

A little later on we came up upon this well camouflaged crocodile. Look closely or you might miss this one.

I'd hate to accidentally walk up on that big felllow! Wildlife was everywhere. Often times hanging out together like the group of elephants and impala along the river. 

Elephants were everywhere you looked.  Amazing!

And of course we found this hippo with some birds doing their thing!

After about four hours on the Chobe River it was time to head in. Back for the drive to Livingstone, Zambia.  Another adventurous ferry crossing at the border.  It seems they are actually building a big bridge across the river, but they are in a twenty year plan I think.  Our guide said work had been ongoing for five years and what I saw was not even halfway done!  Zambia was building out from their side and Botswana was building out from their side.  I can only hope they meet in the middle accurately. I have my doubts!

After a long twelve hour day it was nice to be back at the lodge

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