Chobe National Park
16 December 2011 --- I am now in Chobe National Park, staying at Chobe Game Lodge in the park. I expected a rustic camp, but found instead a hotel even fancier than the Kingdom at Victoria Falls. Again, the hotel staff is well trained to meet one's every need. I thought $430 per night was a bit expensive, until I realized that it includes three tours a day, laundry, three meals plus snacks three other times a day, and all drinks, even most alcoholic ones. The guides are very knowledgeable about the animals and birds, including their behavoir.
Here is today's schedule:
5:30 am coffee and tea plus muffins
6:00 am game drive (two and a half hours of riding in a safari jeep)
8:30 am breakfast
10:30 am river cruise (two hours on the Chobe River on a pontoon boat)
12:30 pm lunch
3:30 pm afternoon tea
4:00 pm game drive (another two and a half hours in safari jeep)
7:30 pm dinner (all meals with several gourmet selections)
The Chobe National Park is home to approximately 45,000 elephants, 500 lions, countless impalas, other antelope species (waterbuck, puku, lechwe, kudu), hippos, giraffes, African buffalo, baboons, vervet monkeys, two species of mongoose, two species of monitor lizards, and many more. Click here for a slide show of the animals.
The dung beetles were among the most entertaining. They are about three inches across. The males cut out a piece of dung, usually elephant dung which is in great supply. They roll it into a ball and keep rolling the ball in the sand making it bigger and bigger, like making a snowman. Our guide explained he is trying to attrack a lady. The one with the biggest ball gets the ladies. They mate on the ball and the female lays the eggs inside the ball. Then the hatchlings eat the dung. I have a movie of the male rolling the dung ball, but haven't uploaded any movies yet.
The most interesting part of the impalas is their rear end, the beautiful markings. For every other animal we saw, there were probably at least 10 impalas. I asked our guide if there were enough lions. It seemed to me the balance was off.
We spent the most time watching the baboons and the elephants. When it was raining, the baboons were under trees huddled together.
We saw 56 species of birds. They were a big surprise. Only a few birds are the same as in the Americas. Most are totally new to me and some are really colorful, but my camera is not good enough to get good photos of them. I saw nine additional species in Durban. I'm keeping a bird list because the names are so unusual and descriptive.
And then there were the sunsets. Click here for sunsets and other scenes of Chobe National Park. My partners throughout the Chobe experience were George Barbour and Richard Rodriguez from Hawaii. Our guides were Chipo in the Land Rover and Letty on the Chobe River.