Sunday 7 June 2015

Chobe National Park, Botswana

Chobe is a national park in North East Botswana (and the name of a river on its border) that is world famous for amazing wildlife.  We stayed a couple of nights in Kasane and were lucky enough to have three trips into Chobe, two as game drives and one as a boat trip.  We saw heaps of amazing wildlife but here are a few highlights.

Firstly, Chobe is most famous for having lots and lots of elephants, and these elephants swim across to an island in the river where apparently the grass is greener (isn't it always?). They put their trunks out of the water like a snorkel, which is quite cute. We had one mucking around in the water in front of us, he suddenly launched right out of the water, did a big twist and then splashed back down! I didn't have my camera ready to my eternal disappointment. It was also baby elephant season. Lots and lots of tiny, curious, hilarious baby elephants.

Secondly, we saw two big, male hippos having a go at each other while a female floated around in the background (presumably fluttering her eyelashes and saying something like 'Oh boys, don't fight over little ol' me, no really...' like in a 1940s movie). There was lots of chomping jaws and lots of flashing of (very big) teeth and lots of splashing around. Apparently they fight to the death, there's just no way to back down as a hippo, the other hippo will just keep chasing you. Glad we were in the safari van, not the boat for that one.

Thirdly, there was amazing bird life around - including everyone's (okay, my) favourite, the kingfisher. We saw several varieties, including some we hadn't seen elsewhere, including the malachite kingfisher, which is a tiny, jewel-like little bird, absolutely stunning.

Finally, we had our first sighting (for either of us, ever) of African Wild Dog (otherwise known as Painted Dog). These guys are really rare - the packs are all being monitored by research projects (hence the radio collars you can see in some of the photos). They are strange looking animals - I think they're rather beautiful but I am aware that they are also kind of mangy and creepy looking. We saw a reasonably large pack, all male, as the older males were teaching the younger males to hunt. We didn't see them hunting, just chilling out in the morning before getting down to business.

All in all, a great start to our time in Botswana.

"What're you doing?" "I'm playing a game of nighttime daytime"

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