Botswana

Chobe

Facebook  Pinterest  Twitter

The delights of Chobe National Park

The delights of Chobe National Park

The delights of Chobe National Park
TOM VARLEY

BY LAWRENCE ALROY

My wife and I live in Botswana’s Chobe wildlife region and it’s not often we get to act like tourists. UK-based friends visiting Kasane for the first time, persuaded us to join them during their stay at Thebe River Safaris, a friendly, family-run hostelry on the Chobe River. For newcomers, river cruises and game drives into the National Park are a must, so we chose to let Thebe’s experienced guides do the work while we chilled out and enjoyed both. We weren’t disappointed.

On the game drive we savoured every sighting and quickly realised that these were magic moments for people new to the raw beauty of the African bush – and for those like ourselves who tend to take it for granted. We had barely entered the Park before giraffe obliged for photographs, twisting their necks and comical heads in our direction as they chomped on thorny acacias, while impala and zebra grazed together peacefully and baboons provided comic entertainment. Later, when we rounded a corner, the indignant snort from a lone wildebeest as it hurried away brought a similar reaction from a warthog family which trotted for cover, tails held high.Our first ‘Big Five’ moment was provided by two lion as they rested in the shade of a thorn bush and gasps of appreciation resulted when binoculars brought the cats up close.

Vultures and marabou storks soared skywards on warm thermals and a regal bateleur eagle rocked its wings in greeting as it circled overhead. We spotted playful families of banded mongooses and yellow butterflies on a heap of fresh elephant dung. Finally, a VIP escort was provided when a foursome of florid-faced ground hornbills marched with us towards the gate, and our friends ended the drive enraptured.

For birders, there were Egyptian geese with made-up faces foraging alongside spoonbills and openbill storks on island banks. Photogenic pied kingfishers hovered tantalisingly over the water and we glimpsed a giant kingfisher flash by, a fish in its beak.

A fish eagle’s cry heralded sunset, and on cue a mixed herd of elephant padded with intent towards the river, there to drink, swim and gambol until all were sated and soaked. Transfixed, we watched their antics and before the orange sun sank below the horizon they returned to the bush as silently as they’d emerged, signalling for us the end of another perfect day.

Read more articles from this issue:
Main menu (Issue 16, March 2014)
Full contents listing
Birds & Birding

More from the Zambezi Traveller:
Chobe Destination Profile
Chobe News