We meet Pat at breakfast and we all realize that he has been staying at the Old House, in Kasane, for the last two nights just as we have been. After breakfast and checking out, we all hop in the Landcruise and drive 30M down the road to where we are going on a Chobe River Cruise. Shoulda walked!
The Chobe River is the boundary between Namibia and Botswana. Dan, our river guide, motors us southwest on the river towards a 1.7 square kilometer island in the middle of the river. It is cooler on the river with the breeze created by the moving boat. Many animals brave the river and its crocs to feed on the vegetation on the island as it is very fertile. Buffalo, elephants, red lechwe are munching away. Yes, I did say crocs and we see two males sunning themselves on the sand bank. I take a quick look and look away – I DON’T LIKE THEM! Hippos are sleeping in bunches all through the channel, we keep our distance.
After we dock, Pat, Murray and I travel south towards Savuti and our campsite for the next 3 nights. It is a long drive, hot with a hot wind blowing at us in the open vehicle. In Botswana the safari vehicles are open sided. As long we stay sitting a cat or elephant will see us as one big object. Pat says if we stand up, they will notice us. We see the occasional elephant, giraffe, kudu. We notice that the creatures are not like Tanzanian ones here – the zebras’ stripes are oriented differently, the elephants seem to have longer legs.
We enter Chobe National Park after driving for about three hours on asphalt and the next 70km is dirt “forestry” road. After a short distance we come across the first dead elephant. Pat says that too many elephants have come into Chobe and with the very dry season and no rain, there is not enough vegetation to sustain their numbers. Each day elephants are dying. We come across another soon after. It makes us sad.
All of a sudden it starts to rain. We have held off the rain so far on our trip. Murray, dubbed the Witch Doctor by L, is feeling bad for the elephants, and so he caused the rain. We quickly don our rain ponchos and sit it out watching a lone elephant walk towards us. He gets very close to us before turning down a side track.
We arrive at our camp and it is a tad more rustic than we thought it would be, but we camp in the Rocky Mountains with fewer accoutrements, so we adapt. The trick is figuring out how to live and move around in our little tent with two cots taking up most of the space leaving little space for our two bags. The sunset is incredible with fuscias, purples and dramatic clouds and I manage to capture a lone elephant in the shot. A good end to the day that started in Kasane.