Chobe National Park is the big game park in Botswa, just a stone’s throw from where Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe come together. We spent a night there but I think more people as excited about the digs that night as they were about seeing animals, as we were billed for a night of “luxury camping.” What does that mean, you ask? It meant a three-course meal on linen instead of balancing our plastic plates on our knees, a tent tall enough to stand up in instead of crawling around on knees, and a cot instead of the good ol’ sleeping bag. These are the things that excite you after nearly three weeks of camping, believe you me.
To begin the safari highlights, here are some giraffes. After many safaris I am convinced that giraffes are my second favorite African animal (you just can’t beat leopards), just because they are the most messed up example of evolution out there. I mean look at that thing drink, it needs to disjoint its shoulders to do it!
Next, a troop of baboons causing a ruckus in a tree. I was rather amazed by them because they were doing antics that looked just like the Barrel of Monkeys game.
The all-important task of grooming. You get to eat all the lice you find, so it’s not a bad deal at all!
Here is the fun-filled fact of the day I learned while on safari- a warthog is called an “o’pumba” in these parts. There are no meercats in this part of Africa, so no word on whether they’re called “timone” in any local language!
Anyway, once we were done with a land-based safari it was time for a boat cruise on the Chobe River! Except by “boat” I mean “barge some bright entrepreneur stuck a roof and plastic lawn chairs on,” because this is how things are done in Africa. I don’t think I saw something that would pass as a “normal” boat anywhere on the Chobe River actually…
A few hungry, hungry hippos who are the sole inhabitants of this island in the middle of the Chobe River. Interestingly enough this island is one of the more highly contested pieces of property in the world as the Chobe River marks the boundary between Botswana and Namibia. Just a few years ago tensions ran so high in the dispute that it took a ruling in Botswana’s favor by the International Court to settle the dispute!
And what did Botswana do with this new found territory? Add it as part of Chobe National Park of course! Seems a little silly really- I don’t think the hippos particularly minded being Namibian or Botswanan.
Huh. Did you know male elephants have five legs?
Anyway, Chobe National Park is noteworthy because it has an elephant population numbering around 130,000, meaning it has the highest concentration of elephants anywhere in the world. In fact there are about 60,000 elephants too many which pose a serious problem- you can’t cull them because Greenpeace gets really pissed, and you can’t send them to other parks because elephants never forget and come back. Until a solution is found, large swaths of Chobe look like a tornado just passed through due to the destruction caused by too many elephants.
No African river cruise is complete without a few crocodiles, so here is a picture of one looking appropriately evil. To my knowledge, there has never been a sympathetic-looking crocodile found in nature.
Chobe was my last African safari, which is probably an ok thing because I wouldn’t want to take the risk of going out one too many times and losing the magic of it. But as a final note we did see a male lion just late enough at night so I couldn’t take a picture- who proceeded to roar and mark his territory lest we forget his rule of nature. Pure magic.