A Travellerspoint blog

On Noah's Ark.

Day Trip to Chobe National Park, Botswana.


On the Saturday we got up early, had a quick breakfast then waited for our pick-up to take us to Chobe National Park in Botswana. We were the first to be picked up so we were taken round other guest houses and then out on a bumpy dirt track to a lion rescue centre to pick up other tourists. I think it took about an hour to get to the Kazungula ferry border crossing. This is where you cross from Zambia into Botswana. The actual ferry ride is very very short - just a few minutes. Apparently Botswana and Zambia have the shortest border in the world. It is just a 750 metre stretch of the Zambezi river. This area is also where four countries meet – Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Kazungula ferry border crossing.

The Kazungula ferry border crossing.

On route we had a lot of paperwork to do. We had to sign disclaimers saying we would not sue if we were injured on the trip, forms to allow us into Botswana and forms to let us visit Chobe.

Once we had cleared immigration on both sides of the border, we were put into a safari jeep and driven to Chobe Safari Lodge where we quickly visited the toilets before boarding a small boat for a cruise on the Chobe River. The river divides Botswana and Namibia. There are some islands in the middle of the river. After a long dispute about who they belonged to, they were finally given to Botswana - a large Botswanan flag is placed on one of them.

Our safari jeep.

At Chobe Safari Lodge.

At Chobe Safari Lodge.

Going to the boats.

Botswanan Flag.

Our guide and boat driver was very informative. He took us to the banks of the river and showed us two forms of water lilies: ones that open by day and ones that open by night. He also showed us a Jesus bird. The bird is called this because he walks on lily pads and from a distance it looks like he is walking on water.

A Jesus bird walking on water.

Day Lilies.

Jesus bird.

As well as the lilies, there were giant papyrus plants. Our guide picked one and cut it open to show us how to make paper from it. One of the female tourists on the boat suddenly noticed a huge hippo basking in the shallows.

Hippo basking in the shallows.

Papyrus Reeds.

Papyrus Reeds.

River view with big African sky.

We visited a tree that had fallen into the river with several of its branches still above the water level. It had become a resting place for a wide variety of different birds.

Tree covered with birds.

We cruised around trying to spot any wild life on the banks of the river or in the water. Soon we saw a herd of water buck. These are a form of brown antelope with a white horseshoe shape on their bottoms. The guide told us a funny story about them. He said that when God instructed Noah to take two of each animal onto his ark, Noah told the animals neither to eat nor drink anything before boarding. The water buck was a bad listener and did not hear this instruction. He ate and drank lots before boarding, so as soon as he got on the ark he had to go to the toilet. As the ark was brand new the toilet seat had just been painted and when the water buck sat on it, he got a big white toilet seat mark on his rear.

Water buck.

Water buck.

Water buck.

Water buck.

Water buck.

We sailed on a bit further. I liked that our guide was very patient and ensured everyone had enough time to take pictures. Suddenly we saw two elephants on the shore. The guide said they were part of a bachelor herd. That means they were male elephants who had lived with a herd when they were calves, but as they got bigger they posed a threat to the male elephant in charge, so they were driven out of the herd. The two we saw were play fighting. This is how they sharpen up their skills, ready to challenge the leader of their former herd and take his place.

Playful elephants.

Playful elephants.

Next we saw a crocodile. I always find these very disturbing as they are so still and well camoflaged and sneaky. They give me the creeps.

Sneaky crocodile.

Sneaky crocodile.

After that we saw a herd of impala grazing near the water's edge. Close by them there was a group of warthogs.





Then we sailed back to the safari lodge for a buffet lunch. It took us a while to moor as there were so many boats. Hubby sampled the local Saint Louis beer. The buffet lunch was actually very good. We had pork chops and beef stew. There was also roast beef. For dessert we had banana and pecan ice-cream.

River Traffic.

River Traffic.

Big African sky again.

Our lunch.

After lunch we got into a safari vehicle and went on a game drive. Chobe Park is very big . I think our guide said we would concentrate on just one of its four sections. At the start of the drive we had a lovely view over the river.

River View.

We began wending our way downhill. Suddenly near the river we saw an elephant, then two elephants, then three, four. Soon there was a massive herd and more and more kept arriving. As well as the elephants there were also water buffalo cooling down in muddy pools; some had egrets resting on them.

Water buffalo.

Water Buffalo.

One elephant.

Two elephants.

A whole herd of elephants.

A whole herd of elephants.

Naturally we saw baboons. They seemed to be everywhere. We also saw a large group of buffalo. Then there were several hippos totally out of the water, more warthogs, mongeese and lots and lots of impala.











We stopped for a short break and then it was time to leave the park and return to the border. On our return drive the elephant herd we had seen earlier were making their way uphill. We paused to look at them and suddenly we were surrounded by them. They were in front of us and behind us. If they had felt like it they could have gone on top of us. Our driver told everyone to keep still and calm. The elephants parted into two groups and went round us, but my goodness it was scary.

Elephants all around.

Elephants all around.

Elephants all around.

On the way back to the border I took some photos of the areas we passed through, including a large boab tree. At the border I took some pictures of African women carrying heavy loads. I was impressed by how colourful and exotic they looked.

Boab tree.

Colourful locals.

Colourful locals.

Passing a village.

Posted by irenevt 05:01 Archived in Botswana

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I see some scary animals in that safari park, you looked alarmingly close to that crocodile, but at least you got your picture. That's an awfully small can of St Louis beer hubby is drinking, are you sure he's not being subtly rationed..haha?

Each year on my way home from my Morocco walkabout I always divert into Gibraltar for a fish supper and a pint of cold Guinness, two luxuries I'm always deprived of for a whole month in Morocco.It's an interesting place with much history, I managed to partially salvage some my VT travelogue before the close down.....


by Bennytheball

What a great trip. I loved all the animal photos. Being in a herd of elephants must be quite intimidating!

by Beausoleil

Benny, it was fun to look through your archived VT tips. Seems like old times . . . ;)

by Beausoleil

Hi Benny we were in a boat alongside the crocodile - not too close. As far as beer rationing goes well he had those big ones the night before. Don't want to spoil him.

by irenevt

Hi Sally, the herd of elephants is not an experience I ever want to repeat.

by irenevt

WOW . Great photos.Great trip and experience. Thanks for sharing.

by alectrevor

Thanks for visiting Alec. It was one of the best holidays we have ever had. We really enjoyed it.

by irenevt

I've never seen the banded mongoose before - I thought at first they were armadillos

by greatgrandmaR

Hi Rosalie, I had never seen anything like them before either but we ended up seeing quite a few. All the best, Irene

by irenevt

What a great day out! I loved the story about the water buck - I hadn't heard that one before :) Do you know about the 'M' on the backside of the imapala? They say it stands for McDonalds because they are the fast food for all the predators!

by ToonSarah

Ha ha, is that a story from Botswana too? They have a good sense of humour.

by irenevt

Yes, we heard it from several of the guides in Chobe

by ToonSarah

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