Chobe Nationalpark where Elephants seem to have fun
Next morning it was time for a new country - Botswana was calling! It was not a long drive to the boarder where we got processed quickly - including some strange shoewashing in water which was dirtier than our shoes - but if it helps to enter the country we are glad to do so :-)Soon we checked in at Thebes River Travel Lodge and after a quick stop in Kasane town it was time for our next Game Drive in Chobe Nationalpark (home of 4 of the big5 - no rhino)The landscape was beautiful and we have seen Impalas, fisheagle other birds, giraffes, Hippos, Waterbocks - but one of the highlight was def. seeing so many elephants including elephant babies. Didn’t counted but I guess we’ve seem more than 40 elephants today! Of course we hoped as well to see the cats, especially a big male lion and the Leopard we still have not seen. We have seen some “leftover” from them like Impala legs in a tree or some killed baby elephants but on a hot day lile today they seemed to prefer not beeing seen. In the afternoon we exchanged the vehicle from the car to a boat and enjoyed a 3 hours boat ride along the chobe river and its channels in the national park which is bordering with Namibia too. It was beautiful and relaxing - seeing crocodiles (a new animal on the trip yeah), Buffalos, Elephants and many Hippos too. Overall it was a great start into Botswana -tomorrow won’t be that much news as we’re
Mainly driving to the next place - the Gweta Lodge in Gweta.
Gweta - learning about the village life
When we arrived in the lodge we got upgraded to a room with Aircondition as it was 36 degrees at 6 pm still. When we entered the room we where fighting with some mosquitos first before having an apero at the bar and a lovely bbq dinner. I was looking forward to the nexy morning as we were supposed to do a village tour including a visit at a primary school with more than 600 kids whoop! But unfortunately there were school holidays already :( However, the village tour was still very interesting to see how simple and not always easy the people live there - seeing poverty and what comes along with. Was also very interesting to see the village clinic - the hairsaloon, and the chinese shop from where they get the clothes from. After the tour we were leaving Gweta in Direction Maun and have seen on the way wild elephants and even cheetahs! In town we stopped for a lunch - and got a glimpse into the crazy town life before we arrived at the Delta Rain Lodge -where we had a chalet at the Sitatunga Camp - our base for the next days - tomorrow we’re heading into the Okavango Delta for an overnight stay - getting excited!
Okovango Delta - where excitement, fun and fear come together
Next morning we drove in the safari car about 2-3 hours to make our way to the delta for an overnight stay. Before the last hour on a bumpy road started, our car got „flooded“ by people who
needed a drive to the delta and suddenly we were about 12 people in the vehicle 😅 When we arrived, our polar - the guy driving the special
makoro boat - George welcomed us. In addition Flora - another polar - was carrying our luggage (food and drinks for the overnight stay) in her Makoro. We drove about one hour in the channels of
the Okovango Delta and it was wonderful - although very hot and humid too on that day. Soon we could spot the first hippos, buffallos, Giraffes and elephant from far away.Although it was a very
enjoyable ride in the boat, you could feel and see that right now the water level is way too low, the delta urgently needs water and rain as there has now been a draught period for over two
years. When we arrived at the campsite, we first had a delicious lunch and then time for ourselves, on which we played UNO, had a nap and enjoyed the view to the lagoon next to it where a
Hippo enjoyed his bath and soon am elephant joined too. He was very entertaining and enjoyed his bath to the fullest before he stepped out of the water on our side and we could have a closerlook
at him. Inbetween we got some more or less heavi shower rains which is of course good for nature - and we didn‘t complete neither as it was finally cooling down a bit and temperature were much
better. By around 4.30 pm we started a walk into the bush again to discover more wildlife. It was amazing seeing so many zebras, giraffes, buffalos, impalas, baboons (monkeys), the elephant
again, and various birds in one place. When we were at an open area - suddenly some impalas (when I say some I mean about 100) started panicking and running all into one direction. Some seconds
later the giraffes started their run into an other direction together with the zebras and we could hear and feel the ground shaking from that movement.
In addition we heard something roaring - in that case the something must have been lions who were not too far away, according to our guide approx. 2 km time for us to heading back to the camp - since we were the only remainin dinner left for the lions on that open area, all other animals have disappeared :-) Unfortunately because of the showers before the sky was cloudy and we could not get another breathtaking sunset - it was still nice tough hearing the hippos nearby and enjoying the campfire before we had a lovely dinner. When rain started again, we went to „bed“ - in our tent by around 9 pm. And boy, I can tell, being in the dark, seeing nothing but only hear - it almost scared us to death! :-) we kept on repeating the words from the guide saying that no matter what happens, we have to remain in the tent and should never go outside as the camp is not fenced. But he assured that we are 100% safe as long as we are in the tent :-) Easier said than done when you hear some animals stomping and eating around and you think they are right next to the tent if not entered the tent already as it was so loud and clear and you couldn‘t even tell which animal it was. Our fantasies got wild but then some heavy rain stepped in which was loud as well - but helped as we didn‘t hear the active wildlife anymore :) It was a short night without much sleep and we got up at 5.30 am for another sunrise walk - also in the morning the sun was covered by clouds but it was an enjoyable walk seeing the giraffes and zebras re-united and calm again, some Kudus grassing and the other animals starting the day.
We returned for breakfast, packed our luggage and drove back with the Makoro. But also here we did not return without any challenges. 2 buffalos liked the channel we had to pass and they blocked it. The polers tried to ge them away by doing some noises - they were partially interested in and I thought - if they mess it up now with those - we will be im big troubles. But somehow they made their way sloooowly into another direction butdidn‘t stop to turn around and staring at us. Anyways, we made it safely back to the mainland where our driver was waiting and drove us back to our accommodation at the Sitatunga Camp which we loved as we had there a cute little house with an amazing strong outdoor shower.
We also wanted to book a scenic flight with a small fixed-wing-airplane in the afternoon to see the delta from the top. But all operators were busy and the only one available was requesting a price we were not willing to pay. Instead, we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon by the pool which was perfectly fine after kicking so much adrenaline in the wildlife through our bodies :-) We ended the day again with some UNO playing and some well deserved drinks and went to bed soon as we had to get up at 6 the next day for a looooong drive heading into direction south africa....
Saying goodbye to Wildlife
Drive was not too exciting, we tried to spot some timons (seacat) on the way where the salt pan were but as they are slowly getting flooded during this time, we didn‘t see any. We were passing some diamond mines, which is a big business in Botswana and could see part of the Kalahari Desert appearing. Highlight was our last game drive at Khama Rhino Reserve. Although the weather was a bit cool and rainy, we managed to see many Giraffes, Zebras, Antilopes and lucky we - 3 other white Rhinos who usually hide in the bush when the weather isn‘t too well. I seriously gonna miss these drives as I love spotting Wildlife and observing the animals in Nature. We were then heading to Stevensford Lodge - an accommodation not too far away fromthe African Boarder but still remote enough to drive 20 km on a bumpy road :-) Also people here were - as everywhere super friendly and helpful andwe enjoyed a delicious dinner before we had our last sleep on Botswana ground in our lovely hut.
That‘s it from our 14 days Southern African Magic tour and I can definitively confirm that we had tons of magical moments - of course with the wildlife but as well on the road, playing UNO or just meeting very friendly people ❤️ Luckily, our time in Africa is not over yet, as we are heading to Capetown for some days tomorrow - stay tuned!