After Zimbabwe, we headed across the border into Botswana. Our first stop: Chobe National Park. When we arrived at our camp, located on the Chobe River, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. Actually, that is how I felt about each location we arrived at in Africa. I didn’t do my research, and I didn’t care. I wanted to let Africa take complete control of me, and see what happened. The result was nothing short of spectacular.
For most people, a safari is what draws one to Africa. Aside from any negative press the continent gets, it’s the promise of seeing wild animals in their own natural environment that gets even the most unexpected groups of people to venture there. For me, it was because the continent had called to me for years. I was intrigued by everything about it: food, culture, people, landscape. Yes, the animals intrigued me as well, but it was almost as if I had forgotten that they too were part of the experience.
That being said, I had no real expectations as far as animals were concerned.
And, after my very first day in Zimbabwe, where I went walking with lions and took an elephant-back safari, I thought that any other animals I saw would just be icing on the cake.
But, that was until the moment I loaded onto the safari truck for that very first game drive. That was when the excitement took complete control of my body. This was not a drive-through “safari” at a local amusement park or one through Disney’s Animal Kingdom, this was an actual game drive in the African savannah.
As we started to drive, with the wind blowing my hair, I felt the realization of what was about to come.
Luckily, during our two days in Chobe, we had three opportunities to explore the wild life there. With an evening and an early morning game drive, as well as a boat ride down the Chobe River, we had plenty of opportunities to see the big four. While there are actually the Big Five, Chobe does not have Rhinos, which we’d have the opportunity to see later in Namibia’s Etosha National Park.
During the drives and boat ride, we all sat in awe of the creatures that surrounded us, and just how close they would get. Most of the time, you could hear nothing except for the clicks of cameras and the noises of the animals themselves. The animals were incredible and the unpredictable nature of the activity made it even more worthwhile.
While the game drives were great, one of my favorite ways to see Chobe was by boat, especially because we were able to have a bit of fun while watching the animals. It went from your average safari by boat, to a full-fledged African booze cruise. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the night:
My experiences in Chobe completely took me by surprise. Seeing the animals in their natural environment, going through their normal activities, was an experience that I will never forget. I loved not knowing what we’d see each time we entered the park, and being surprised each and every time we encountered something new. It just goes to show you that sometimes having no expectations can lead to the most rewarding experiences.