We left the hotel at 6:00 am for a morning game drive in Chobe National Park. We had no sooner gone through the park gates when we came upon a male and female lion on one side and a few lions on the other side. The sun had not even risen yet so the lions were quite active and we could see them playing and running through the trees. There were several other game vehicles around and the male lion wasn't too happy with this so a few times he made a little run at the front vehicle. Thankfully once we left the lions to themselves, the vehicles all spread out in different directions.
Chobe doesn't have any paved roads which makes safariing much nicer as you feel you're seeing everything in its completely natural state. Much of the park is covered in sands from the Kalahari desert in Namibia and the sands range in colours from red to brown to grey. We came across several more lions, hundreds of impala and the usual troops of baboons. We stopped for tea and rusks about two thirds of the way through the game drive and got a chance to stretch our legs before continuing on for the rest of the drive. We hadn't gone too far when we ran across a lioness who was intently watching a warthog. Two other lionesses joined in and we could see them working together a plan of attack. The warthog had no idea they were even there but some alert impala noticed and sounded the alarm. It was fascinating to watch the patience and coordination of the three lions and we watched for quite some time before giving up and heading back to the lodge. We never did find out if the warthog wised up and hot away or became breakfast.
We had breakfast back at the lodge and then went for a bit of a wander around the area but there wasn't too much to see so we went back to our room to relax and ended up watching a couple of water monitors digging in the garden outside our deck. It was the first time seeing these large lizards, digging and throwing the dirt while looking for bugs to eat.
After lunch we had a bit more down time and this time we had a family of warthogs visit our little garden area so we enjoyed watching them kneeling on their front knees while eating all of the grass. They certainly don't have any fear of humans but they just ignore you as well.
At 3:00 pm we left for our second game drive of the day. We re-entered the park and drove down to the riverside and came upon several elephants walking in the sand. Whenever we come upon any animals, the driver turns the jeep off and we sit silently watching. This time the family of elephants decided to cross the road in front of us and one male teenager wanted a closer look so he walked right over to our parked jeep and stared at us right through the front window area, trunk touching the grill of the jeep. I say front window area as most of the safari vehicles have a fold down front window for better viewing and ours was down so the elephant literally only had the hood of the jeep between him and the front seat. He soon lost interest in us and caught up to his family, but it was an exhilarating experience!
We saw several more elephants in various areas of the park, more impala and baboons and the crowning moment came when we were getting ready to leave the park and we came across a beautiful leopard laying up on a tree branch right beside the road. Leopards are notoriously hard to find so seeing one so close was a stroke of luck! It just lay there peacefully ignoring us all. The sun was just starting to set so it was lit up even more golden in the waning light, which made for stunning photos. Sadly we said goodbye to the leopard and mase fir the park exit. We did't get much further before we found three young male lions basking in the dusk light. This game drive was probably the best we've ever done. We're sad to say goodbye to this place, but tomorrow we head back to Johannesburg and the tour is over.Read more