African Adventure - Part 3
We made it through the 1hr 30min flight on the small plane with no problems although a few passengers felt a little airsick. I had a travelcalm and a couple of bottles of Ginger Beer which I think really helped.
Kasane is the airport nearest to Chobe National Park and this is where we land and transfer to the hotel in a mini bus. It is only about 20mins away. Our hotel tonight is the Chobe Bush Lodge. A large modern hotel located just outside the park.
Across the road is the Chobe Safari Lodge a sister property located right on the Chobe River. From here we board a small flat bottomed boat for a leisurely sunset cruise. This river is the meeting point of four countries, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia.
There is activity right from the very start, birds in the local vicinity preening themselves in the afternoon sun, an elephant having a bath on the river’s edge putting on a real show of splashing and spraying water towards us.
A little further down this river we come across an elephant carcass. The lions had killed the elephant the day before, had their fill of the meat and moved on. The vultures were in today picking the bones clean.
There were some crocodiles on the bank were also enjoying the afternoon sun, while giraffes amble along behind on their long legs. Hippos on the island in the middle of the river grazing on the hip high grass were a sight to see. Being in the small boat we could get nice and close to these animals grazing on the edge. Truly a photographer and animal lovers delight.
We headed back to the dock and were very lucky to witness an amazing sunset, the colours were a wonderful range of reds, orange and yellows.
Dinner in the hotel tonight was al a carte, extremely tasty and modern, not what I was expecting. Of to bed for a good night’s sleep as we have an early start tomorrow.
It is still dark at 5.15am when we are woken by the alarm, but if we want to be in the park when it first opens at six am, we need to get moving. We are rewarded with viewings of lions, baboons, impala, buffalo, zebras, hippos and more elephants. We were soon joined by a few other vehicles, at one stage there were eight vehicles traveling in convoy. Once word came through of a leopard sighting up the mountain everyone took off, trying to get the best spot for a photo. Things became a little chaotic and nerve wrecking when we are stuck in sand on the side of a mountain, but our trusty driver soon had us back on the track. This is a stark contrast to the private concessions we have visited in the last couple of days, really did feel like we were just another group rather than the VIP treatment at Gunn’s and Pompom camps.
Back to the hotel for a quick breakfast before boarding our mini bus and heading to the border of Botswana and Zimbabwe.
I am sure our guides were helping to speed up the process which we were grateful for, a few forms to fill in for our visa, and a short wait in line for them to be processed and we are on our way again. The drive was only about 2 hours of easy travelling on good sealed roads. We stopped and inspected a couple of hotels along the route, great for future reference. Mid-morning we arrive at the town of Victoria Falls. There are shops, markets, street sellers along with other interesting road side stalls especially if you are after stone carvings or unique African souvenirs.
Our accommodation tonight is at the A’Zambezi River Lodge. A hotel with rooms spread over two stories and lots of lush grass areas and gardens throughout the grounds, giving it a relaxed feel. In the near distance you could hear the Zambezi River flowing past. A light lunch in the open café and a quiet afternoon siesta was in order before we set off for a sunset cruise, with drinks and canapes adding to the ambient experience.
After so much activity during the day, dinner is looked forward to tonight. We were not disappointed, a delicious buffet of salads, barbequed meats and a vast array of deserts. I tried most of the meats that are unique to this area, including warthog and crocodile. I was a little hesitant at first but they were really tasty and cooked to perfection.
After a good night’s sleep a couple of our group choose to go on an early morning walk with lions. I have to admit I was a little torn as to whether to go or not as there were reports in the media those lion cubs were being raised at this park and then released in other areas of Africa. I was concerned that they maybe for game hunting. I decided to go and see for myself. I am so glad I did. We were transferred from our hotel to the park, had a basic continental breakfast while the other half of the group went for their walk. Then it was our turn. We set off along this long dusty track, with sticks in hand for personal protection. Then we saw two lions lying beside the road resting. We had the opportunity to have photos taken with both the male and female 2 year olds. Then they slowly rose and started ambling off towards the main camp. We walked alongside, patting them, taking photos and just soaking in their gentleness. A photographer was there taking a video of the experience and I bought it to remember the amazing feeling. We had the opportunity to speak with some of the guides and volunteers, a whole different story was told and I felt more at ease with my decision to embrace the visit.
Quick trip back to the hotel and we are off for more hotel inspections. We had the chance to visit The Victoria Falls Hotel a lovely 5* property located within earshot of the mighty Victoria Falls. Then it was off to The Kingdom Resort and its sister property The Stanley and Livingstone at Victoria Falls, located also within walking distance of the entrance to the falls but with more family friendly facilities and nightly rates.
We drive for about 20mins out of town and arrive at The Elephant Camp Lodge. I thought this was just the name of the lodge but we are in for a very special surprise. We head down to a small clearing and ambling along the pathway coming towards us is a small herd of elephants. A baby, just a couple of months old, his brother and sister, mother, aunts and uncle and his grandmother make up this family unit. We have the opportunity to feed them, give them a rub and of course have our photos taken. My heart is beating out of my chest and the young ones slobber mud on my arms and face, I am so excited. We are there for ages listening to the staff explain how these beautiful animals were rescued from a nearby village. They are now free to wander the area and interact with the local wild elephants if they choose, but they come home at night and are watched by three spotters while they roam for their protection. Wild Horizons run this particular camp and do a wonderful job of not only education and interaction but also conservation.
I really start to wonder how anything can top the experiences of the last six days.
We reboard the bus full of laughter and excited chatter heading towards the mighty Victoria Falls. After grabbing our ponchos we take a leisurely stroll along some well-marked even pathways and then almost out of nowhere we catch our first glimpse of the massive amount of water cascading over the cliffs. The roar can be heard almost from the car park. There are lots of vantage points along the 3.5km walk, each just that little bit different.
Dinner on our last night was at a Boma. A traditional Zimbabwean restaurant, with great food, dancing and local entertainment.
It is off to the local airport the next morning for our short flight to Johannesburg. Here we had time to buy some local souvenirs from the large variety of stores. Everything you can imagine from the continent is sold here, making it easy to take home not only memories but gifts as well.
A bitter sweet moment as I board the Qantas plane to head home. A wonderful experience and one I won't forget, I know I will definitely return in the not too distant future.
To view the photos from this segment of the trip head to
My educational was hosted by Africa Wildlife Safari Co. All costs were borne personally by me.