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Chobe River Safari16th October '13  |  - 1 Comment

We were enthusiastically welcomed aboard our riverboat by Lyn, one of the Angels at Chobe Game Lodge. Chobe Game Lodge is the only game Lodge in Botswana, and maybe Africa for that matter, that has an all female guide team. It probably is a marketing ploy, but it is a very good one.

Before we had cast off all of us were sitting comfortably in our camp chairs with a gin and tonic in hand. There were only five of us on this particular game viewing boat which gave us plenty of opportunity to move around so that we could see the wildlife from the best angle.

We cruised up river for a while watching carmine bee eaters flit in and out of the mud banks, crocodiles silently slipping into the water, fish eagles calling from their lonely perches and skittish antelope coming down to the water’s edge to drink. The occasional snort of  hippo amongst the lilies completed the African ambience. It was bliss.

We then drifted downstream, pass the lodge, towards a couple of mud banks in the river which was beginning to show a bit of wildlife activity. We were in for the best seat in the house for an elephant extravaganza. This was obviously the place to mud bathe and herds of elephants waded through a small section of the river to the mud banks and their bath. Smaller elephants had to swim, sometimes completely submerging in the water, and it was touching to watch how the older elephants assisted these smaller and more vulnerable youngsters.

Lyn gently manoeuvred the boat onto the edge of the mud bank and cut the motor. I could hear the rumbling of passing elephants, which were only 5 m away, the trumpet of excited youngsters and the sound of mud splattering on elephant skin, it was extraordinary. The smell was also quite extraordinary! By the way the elephants carried on with their ablutions it appeared that they were not bothered by our presence.

It was easy to anthropomorphise; the delight of the youngsters in experiencing the mud bath, the pleasure of the older elephants as they majestically flung mud over themselves, the curiosity of those that watched us on the boat and the squeal of distress as an elephant calf got briefly separated from its mother – it was pure magic.

I don’t think there is anywhere else in Africa that you can be guaranteed to see so many elephants behaving in such a relaxed way, and up close and personal. We sat back to watch these elephants on parade with a gin in one hand and chicken wing snack in the other. My kind of game watching!

The beauty about a river safari from Chobe Game Lodge is that you get away from the hubbub of the main drag near Kasane, there are limited boats on the river and you can watch wildlife from a different perspective as they are often facing you as they come down to the water’s edge.

An utter privilege.

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Responses

  1. Sherry Rix says:

    October 17th, 2013 at 12:15 pm (#)

    The more female guides there are, the better!
    Thank you for this blog – I felt I could hear the eles, and imagine their sheer delight in the water and the mud, great writing.

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