Crocodile Island

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    • Day 3

      Day 3. Vic Falls, Botswana & our first g

      September 29, 2019 in Botswana ⋅ ⛅ 32 °C

      What a day! The Falls were great and a pride of lions at the end of the day was the icing on the cake!

      We started the day soon after 5.30 as the camp gradually awoke in the unfamiliar setting. Tents came down before breakfast and bags were packed. Munya produced a great meal which was most welcome.

      After breakfast we left the Shearwater Explorers Village camp and drove the short distance to the Falls car park where we met our guide, Innocence. He talked about the falls in front of a large diagram and then took us, walking on the back path, to the Victoria Falls bridge. From there we walked to Danger Point where we looked down at the Boiling Pot and the Zambian side - which had no water going over it.

      Gradually we made our way west to the waters on the Zimbabwean side where there was water going over the Main Falls and the Devil’s Cataract. We finished our visit with a look at David Livingstone’s statue.

      From the Falls, we left the township and headed west, reaching the Botswana border over an hour later. Formalities there finished with a walk through a ‘foot and mouth’ prevention chemical mixture, designed to protect Botswana’s cattle industry.

      From the border we drove the 20 minutes to Kasane where we had an hour in town while our crew shopped for fresh food. Once completed, we moved quickly to the nearby Thebe River Lodge campground, our home for the next 3 days. We put up our tents while Munya, aided by Bheki and Brian, prepared the ingredients for our DIY sandwich lunch.

      By mid-afternoon we were ready for our first game drive of our tour and were soon heading for the Sedudu Gate of the Chobe National Park in a Jeep and larger viewing truck. The landscape was incredibly dry with the only greenery on the floodplains and river bank of the Chobe River.

      However, in the 3 hours we were there, we saw some amazing game - including dozens of elephants , impala, kudu, giraffe, hippo, crocodile, Maribor stork, lilac crested rollers and vultures. The best was saved to last when were lucky enough to see a pride of 5 lions, dominated by a magnificent yellow-maned male. Fantastic!

      There was mad rush afterwards to exit the park at the mandatory 6.00 pm but we just made it. Back at camp, exhausted but happy, we unwound before dinner and then showered before bed.

      It had been a special day for all involved
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    • Day 69

      Morning game drive

      July 14 in Botswana ⋅ 🌙 8 °C

      We slept very well in our upgraded room! We were up very early this morning for our 5.45am start. We were going on a 4 x 4 game drive through Chobe National Park.

      Chobe National Park is Botswana's first national park, and also the most biologically diverse. It is Botswana's third largest park, and is noted for having a population of lions which prey on elephants, mostly calves or juveniles, but also subadults.

      We had two vehicles for our fame drive – ten of us in each. Despite staying in a room very close to reception, we were the last to get to the jeeps, so I ended up in the front seat and Mark was in the middle of the front row. We were disappointed because neither position was ideal. In the event, though, it didn’t matter as we saw so much and got so close to the animals that we were able to see, no matter where we were sitting. When we got back to camp later, it turned out that we had seen so much more than the other half of our group. We were definitely in the best vehicle!

      During the morning, we saw:

      • A solo adult male lion on the shore of the river – the light wasn’t the best as it was still very early, but I got a good video of it roaring.
      • Lots of impala
      • A tawny eagle
      • A group of elephants with their young
      • A greater kudu – the second largest antelope in Africa after the eland. The collective noun for kudu is ‘a twist’ because of their spiral-shaped horns.
      • A bachelor herd of young male impala
      • Thousands of guinea fowl
      • Some francolins – birds smaller than guinea fowl with red beaks
      • A solo adult male lion sitting in a bush
      • A dead crocodile – probably killed from the inside by fishing hooks
      • A jackal
      • A large bull elephant
      • Hundreds of impala
      • A mating pair of fish eagle
      • A pair of kori bustard – the national bird of Botswana
      • A magpie shrike – a black and white bird with a long tail
      • White-backed vultures
      • Red lechwe antelope
      • A pied kingfisher
      • Several yellow billed stork
      • Some white egrets
      • 2 juvenile male lions who had been chased out of the pride. They were probably around five years old.
      • 3 lionesses hunting antelope
      • A number of saddle billed stork
      • A grey heron
      • Several crocodiles
      • Two hammerkopf
      • A family of elephants
      • A fork-tailed drongo
      • Lots of giraffe
      • A pod of hippos on land
      • Three spoonbill
      • Some water buffalo
      • Egyptian geese
      • A glimpse of a leopard
      • A scorpion (the deadliest variety!)

      Our driver/guide was brilliant! His name was KB. He was so knowledgeable and seemed to instinctively know the best places to spot the animals. He took care to position the vehicle so that we could all get good photos and videos. It was a fantastic way to spend the morning!
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    • Day 80

      Die Fahrt nach Kasane

      October 17 in Botswana ⋅ ☀️ 33 °C

      Wir mussten heute in Richtung Kasane kommen und hatten mit einer eintönigen Fahrt gerechnet. Mit Hyänen, Büffeln und Giraffen stellte sich die Fahrt dann aber als game Drive heraus. In Kasane angekommen, sahen wir noch ein Rudel Löwen, welche auf der Jagd nach Antilopen waren. Zwar waren sie mittags nicht erfolgreich, als wir aber am Abend mit einem Boot vorbeikamen, sahen wir sie gerade, wie zwei Löwen ein Impala verspeisten.Read more

    • Day 106

      Chobe - Botswana

      November 1 in Botswana ⋅ ⛅ 35 °C

      Jetzt sind wir im Herzen des Chobe Nationalparks angelangt, welcher mit 50 000 Elefanten in der Trockenzeit eine der größten Populationen Afrikas aufweist. Der Weg hier führt am Ufer des Chobe Rivers entlang, der kommt aus Angola und ändert je nachdem wo er gerade ist auch seinen Namen. Man merkt wirklich wie sich das ganze Wild in Flussnähe konzentriert. Es wird viel drumherum gegrast, Elefanten schlürfen sich die Rüssel voll etc.

      Der Weg wurde hier wieder entspannter und wir haben uns mit jeglichen Tieren viel Zeit gelassen. Das ist viel schöner als durch den Park zu hetzen, denn so konnte man auch einfach mal einige Minuten z.B. neben einem weiteren großen Löwenrudel, dass wir entdeckt haben, verbringen oder auch zuschauen wie die Elefantenherden sich ihre Wege durch den Park schlagen. So viele Elefanten auf einem Fleck das war schon sehr beeindruckend! Sonst war auch wieder alles am Start, sehr sehr viele Affen die in den kuriosesten Sitzpositionen da saßen und von Baum zu Baum gesprungen sind. Warzenschweine mit klitzkleinen Jungen die überall rumgetollt sind. Einige Wasserbüffel, denen man auch nicht zu nahe kommen will. Sogar einen Leoparden, wenn auch nur aus der Ferne aber trotzdem mal wieder richtig Glück gehabt😅

      Nachdem wir aus dem Gate draußen waren lag dann sogar noch ein weiteres Löwenrudel, nur ein paar Meter neben der Teerstraße. Wir sind dann abends in Kasane angekommen und waren froh, dass wir all die Parks ohne stecken zu bleiben und mit ausreichend Tank (dank Extra-Benzinkanister) überstanden hatten. Nach den ganzen Fahrten wollten wir dann die nächsten Tage entspannter angehen. Wieder mal super viel erlebt und gesehen:)
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    • Day 16

      Elephant drama

      October 8, 2019 in Botswana ⋅ ⛅ 36 °C

      Our final day in Chobe and we elected to do another wildlife cruise. It was all much the same as the previous day, a few hippos, some kudu antelope, monkeys drinking from the river edge and fishing eagles among other things. Then, the guide noticed a baby elephant fall into the water, only about a week old, and he couldn't get back out. There was only us and another small boat that witnessed the mama elephant trying to get the baby to climb up the bank. Unfortunately elephants don't climb very well, especially baby ones. There was nothing we could do but watch the mother, obviously very stressed, try to wrap her trunk around her baby but ended up guiding him to a shallower bank. Fortunately there is a happy ending as the baby managed to climb out. Check out the videos.

      This ended our visit to Chobe and also our Southern Africa part of the tour. The next day it was a bus trip back to Victoria Falls and a flight back to Johannesburg. Of the group of 28, only 10 of us were continuing on to Eastern Africa (Kenya), so we said our goodbyes and prepared for our flight to Nairobi.
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    • Day 14

      Day 14 - Mahango to Chobe

      August 18 in Botswana ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

      Drive: 450km
      Accommodation: Chobe Game Lodge

      Waking up bright and early from a night of hearing the hippos grazing and the lions roaring!
      A lovely breakfast on the deck watching the birds and we were ready to go.

      After 2 weeks of discovering Namibia in our car & tent, we had planned our 3rd and final week of honey moon to be a bit more luxurious in Botswana.

      Coming out of the cool sand road back into tar, next stop, Ngoma, the border crossing.
      As we drove through to the other end of the Mahango National Park, we were greeted by the usual cows and goats, but also a few giraffes and some elephants.
      We efficiently made our way to the Namibian exit border where a friendly agent and quick stamping got us in and out in 5 minutes !
      What a smooth border !

      Crossing the bridge, the whole landscape changed from bushes and yellow grass to rivers, baobabs and more elephants we could ever count.
      Our quick border celebration may have been a bit premature as we realized Botswana's gate was quite the busy spot. After having to step into a disinfecting shoe bath, we went into the long line of visitors.
      An hour later we finally got our stamp and with a quick control of our car supplies to check for animal products, we could continue our drive to Chobe.

      With Leo on the wheel and afro house pumping in the car we arrived at the Chobe national park in no time! Our lodge was one of 2 hotels situated inside the park. Giving it prime location for game drives. It also meant goodbye to tar, goodbye to dirt road and hello sand tracks!
      Despite a few deep sand portions and sudden elephant crossings we made it to the lodge smoothly with a great welcome comity proud to see a woman driving in!

      What a treat to arrive in this old safari lodge style house decorated with beautiful African furniture and bright colors, with our massive room overlooking the pool and river. Time for a quick shower and it was already time to head on our first game drive.
      Here at Chobe Game Lodge, in an empowerment commitment, all the guides are women ! We therefore met Refilwe our game driver for the evening. Hopping on the very comfortable car we headed out to discover the beauty of the Chobe river and all the animals around.

      In no time we were surrounded by thousands of elephants coming down the banks of the river to get their water intake after a very warm day. Around them, hippos bathing, baboons playing, all types of deers grazing and giraffes running into the sunset. Hard to believe so much life was going on peacefully around us.

      Making our way back up, we noticed something moving in the bushes. A honey badger quickly moving away. And we saw why straight away. A pride of lions had stolen his dinner, a juicy water Monitor Lizard. Seeing two young males playing around throwing the lizard in the air and running in the distance to eat it while the elders just enjoyed the cooling evening for a nap and a bath.
      What a surprise to see so much, including the lions on our first outing.
      Time to head back to camp, but not without a sunset view point of the Chobe River.

      A great dinner by the water with some traditional music and dances and a little night cap and we were ready to jump in our kingside clean bed !
      What a day !
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    • Day 15

      Day 15 - Chobe National Park

      August 19 in Botswana ⋅ ☀️ 33 °C

      Accommodation: Chobe Game Lodge

      Ah the joys of game lodge life!
      Waking up at 5am, heading for coffee and rusks at 5.30am and leaving for our game drive at 6am.

      We embarked in an electric Land Rover driven by our guide of the day: Botho, called Miss B.
      With us in the car, a couple from Tennessee, a mother and son from Miami and a lovely couple from England.

      Driving around the park watching the beautiful sunrise shine it's light on the animals was very magical. Fish eagles overlooking the river, bocks getting their morning stretches and...a single lion walking around. Wow what a treat we thought. Only to realize a few hundred meters further was the rest of the pride of 8. Chilling on the road, the older male lion surrounded by younger males and their females.
      Feeling extra lucky to be so close from such beautiful and powerful animals. Especially hearing the lionesses communicating in their deep roar.
      The messages may not have been clear to the male lion however, who seemed to have confused "should we go hunting" "want to come mating?" 😅
      Trying to make it up to her with some cuddles didn't seem to be the way to go either. (See video)

      Unfortunately after almost an hour, it was time for us to leave the cute cats to go explore the rest of the area. Spending a bit of time with some birds and we were back at Camp for breakfast.

      And boom time for our end of morning cruise on the river. No time to waste!
      The smooth glide on the river with the electric boat gave us a very relaxing time to admire from a close distance the elephants playing in the water, swallows playing around the boat and crocs patiently waiting for their pray.

      And without realizing it, it was time for food again. The lunch was served on a great observation deck from which we could see all the animals gathering around the water.
      Finally time for a nap! Lodge life is a hard life indeed!
      At 3.30 pm Miss B welcomed us again at the boat for the sunset cruise.

      Spending again loads of time observing elephants playing in the mud and refreshing themselves in the cold water, we then made our way to another bank occupied by a family of monkeys.
      Between the teenagers trying to ruffle the feathers of very defensive Lapwings, elders trying to educate and babies carelessly playing around crocs, it was quite a show. And despite the many attempts of the croc to move in between the playing branches and trying to blend in with it's environment to trick the babies, the monkeys made it out ok. Or at least until we left at sunset.

      Enjoying the rest of the evening at the bar with joyful conversation with the British couple, exchanging stories about animals and travels.
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    • CHOBE NP – Chobe Riverfront

      August 19, 2021 in Botswana ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

      Auch eine Vielzahl an Hippos sind hier zu beobachten.
      Mehrmals haben wir von Revierkämpfen gezeichete Flusspferde gesehen. Das für den Menschen gefährlichste Tier Afrikas verhält sich oft auch seinen Artgenossen gegenüber agressiv.Read more

    • Day 10

      Im Sand stecken geblieben

      June 16, 2019 in Botswana ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

      Der Chobe Nationalpark in Botswana gilt wegen seines Tierreichtums als einer der meistbesuchten Nationalparks Botswanas. Überall kann man Touren buchen, wo man mit Guides einen kleinen Teil des riesengrossen Parks auf Sitzbänken in typischen Safariautos erkunden kann.

      Das erschien uns nach der Flusssafari am Vortag nicht mehr herausfordernd genug. Außerdem sind die Touren nicht ganz billig. Man darf auch als Selbstfahrer in den Park - ohne große Belehrung, Karte oder Infomaterial - nur die Aufforderung, dass man das Auto wegen gefährlicher Tiere nur an einem der wenigen Rastplätze verlassen darf. Man vermutet dann als naiver Europäer schon, einigermaßen akzeptable Wege, immer wieder Menschen und ein akzeptables Maß an Sicherheit vorzufinden.

      Nachdem wir die erste Abzweigung genommen hatten, wurde es einsam. Die Piste immer schmäler und vor allem sandiger. Rund eine Stunde lang ging dies ganz gut. Glücklicherweise sahen wir am Handy-GPS wo wir waren und wo es Wege zumindest auf der Handykarte gab.

      An einer Stelle war es dann doch soweit. Wir hatten uns im Sand festgefahren. Bevor wir lange überlegen konnten, was wir nun tun sollen kam Gott sei Dank in diesem Moment ein Fahrzeug mit zwei erfahrenen und hilfsbereiten Männern. Da wir beide keine Abschleppseile an Bord hatten und der Spanngurt den wir an Bord hatten abriss, machten wir uns dran Luft aus den Reifen zu lassen und Sand wegzuschippeln. Praise the Lord, wir waren nach kurzer Zeit wieder in Fahrt - aber noch weit weg von einer vernünftigen Straße.

      Erst fuhren wir noch zum Rastplatz auf wegen mit wenig Sand und beobachteten Tiere.

      Wir entschieden uns, nicht noch tiefer in den Park zu fahren. Auf der Karte war eine rund 3km lange direkte Linie zur guten Straße eingzeichnet.

      Doch die war ganz schön sandig und führte auch noch bergauf. Ohne anzuhalten, hochkonzentriert und mit viel Tempo gelang es zur Straße zu kommen. Wir waren erleichtert.

      Ich Jürgen) war ganz schön angespannt, während Elli das bewundernswert alles sehr entspannt sah. Passieren hätte vermutlich nichts können, da doch immer wieder Mal ein Safariauto vorbei kam.

      Aber ein e Grenzerfahrung war es definitiv.
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    Crocodile Island

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