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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Botswana, Game Drive Chobe National Park

 

After a satisfying and delicious lunch, I have a few minutes to relax before we begin our afternoon game drive. Since there is only six of us and I am a solo traveler, I call shotgun as we load up in a Toyota Land Cruiser just outside the lodge.

Fifteen minutes later and we are at one of the gate entrances for Chobe National Park. As our driver registers us with the park ranger, a few of us view an interesting exhibition opposite the gate's office.

 

 

IMG_4568On display are some skeletal remains, mostly skulls, of many of the animals found in the park.

I have never seen real skulls so big!

 

 

 

Although Chobe is open for self-drive, I quickly discover that a 4x4 vehicle would be the proper and safe way to do so. Seeing the park by land gives us a different prospective of the area and the animals. Huge areas of the park are void of vegetation but it is still difficult to spot our first animal a kudu that has managed to blend quite well with the barren landscape.

 

 

IMG_4572Next a giraffe is barely visible behind a set of tree leaves as he keeps his head below the top of the tree.

I think he is having an afternoon snack.

 

 

 

As we approach an open area towards the river and a watering hole, we encounter another set of giraffes. It is amazing to watch as one of them quenches his thirst from a pool of water. It seems strange as he bends his front legs to reach the liquid refreshment but what else is a guy suppose to do when he has such a long neck.

 

 

 

IMG_4578Giraffe Getting A Drink

 

 

Along our route we can see Sedudu Island and most of the big animals we had seen earlier from the Zambezi River. However, here I feel much safer from the hippo's and crocodiles. There are enough elephants in Chobe that I am sure we will encounter many of them here on land.

With a landscape covered in elephants our attention turns to finding other animals that also make their homes here.

 

 

IMG_4582A kudu standing on a hill next to clump of bushes becomes easier to spot but then it disappears.

 

 

 

 

I also notice more all the different species of birdies at Chobe, some flying around while others like the Helmeted Guinea fowl scratches along the ground.

 

IMG_4584Around the corner and we come across an interesting surprise.

A pack of wild dogs are harassing a herd of elephants taking a mud bath.

 

 

 

A bull elephant is not too happy about it and his announcement sends the dogs fleeing for cover. The dogs find shelter under the shade of a nearby tree and lay down as if everything is now “cool” with the elephants.

I sense the elephants are questioning, who let the dogs out. With many of their calves around, the elephants seem to know the dogs may be up to no good.

 

IMG_4600A white vulture watching from a nearby tree is also probably a dead give away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_4597Elephant Mud Bath

 

 

For a few moments we sit silently and watch the group of elephants enjoy their mud bath. Our observation ends when one of them starts to approach us and our driver thinks it's better that we move on. Great idea as I don't think we would win a confrontation with a few tons of flesh and bones.

This time of the year it is the dry season in Chobe and the Zambezi is a lifesaver for many of animals that travel long distances for drink of refreshing water.

As we cruise the park we can see some of this search for water take place as animals appear from all areas of the park and descend toward the Zambezi River or a nearby watering hole.There is no doubt that during this time of the year being near a water source is a good place to see the animals.

 

IMG_4605However, if you are lucky you may also spot an animal or two resting in one of the shaded areas of vegetation.

 

 

 

 

As our tour comes to an end, one of our final routes gives us an elevated view of the area and the Zambezi River below. From left to right and all around us there are elephants.

However, we have been down by the riverside and know there are a lot more animals there than elephants.

 

 

IMG_4610Looking Down On Zambezi River

 

 

This is a place that has most of what Africa has to offer in terms of wildlife. If you are interested in doing an African safari then I think Chobe National Park should be high up on your list.

 

 

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