I was skeptical about signing up for a day trip to Chobe National Park during my visit to Victoria Falls. Everyone knows that wild animals sleep during the day and the best times to see them are early morning and late afternoon. I was afraid that paying $175 to visit Chobe between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. would be a waste of money.
I was so wrong. I have never seen so many wild animals in my life, especially my favorite wild animal: the elephant.
Chobe has the highest concentration of elephants in Africa. David, our safari guide for the day, told us there are about 100,000 elephants in the park. The Chobe website says there are 70,000. Regardless, it’s a lot.
The other great thing about Chobe National Park is that there is a huge river (the Chobe) running through it. The lodges around the park offer river safaris, during which visitors can view massive concentrations of wildlife at close range.
This is not the greatest photo and Michelle is probably mad at me for posting it. But I think it’s hilarious and it shows how close we got to the animals during the river safari. (Photo: David the safari guide)
Here are the logistics of how the trip worked. A taxi driver met us at our guesthouse in Livingstone at 7:30 a.m. and drove us to the Zambia/Botswana border post. We crossed the border by boat and a driver from Chobezi Safaris picked us up on the other side. We were then dropped off at the Chobe Safari Lodge and met up with David, who took us on a three-hour river safari. We had lunch at the Chobe Safari Lodge, relaxed for a bit, then went with David on a three-hour overland safari. David then drove us to the border and we were back in Livingstone by dinnertime.
We saw hundreds of elephants and hippos, dozens of crocodiles, and numerous rare birds and antelope. The time of day hardly mattered. Elephants and hippos are so huge, and so numerous in Chobe, that you’ll see them no matter what time you’re there.
The only drawback is that the mid-day light is a bit harsh for good photography. But that didn’t stop me from taking thousands of pictures. Here are a few of my favorites.
We watched this elephant swim across the channel to an island in the middle of the river. At one point there was nothing visible but the very tip of his/her trunk.
Big male hippo. Since we visited Chobe in winter when the water is cold, there were tons of hippos sunbathing on land.
More hippos. One yawning.
Croc at water’s edge.
We scared this guy when our boat got too close. He ran past us into the water.
And off he goes.
Sable antelope. I had never seen these antelope before — so beautiful.
This male elephant is on the prowl for ladies. He has what David called “the fifth leg”. Look closely.
Male kudu with pretty antlers.
More elephants. We saw massive herds of them on the land portion of our safari.
Pack of banded mongooses (mongeese?).
At this point we had seen so many elephants. Even I was over them and ready to go home.
David bids us goodbye at the Botswana border, along with an adorable elderly German man who was on the safari with us all day. We never got his name — he didn’t speak a word of English.
My series of Zambia/Botswana/Zimbabwe posts is now over. I hope you enjoyed it. Back to Jozi in my next post.
One more shot of the elephants. The end.