Day 285: Chobe National Park

Sat. 25th May 2013

This grass is a bit longWe continue to head to Chobe National Park and still have 400km to drive today. There is not much time to savour the fact it is Dave’s birthday before we hit the road again.  We are lucky that we did not start as early as the campers who packed their tents away to be on the road by 6am. They were doing an optional three hour game drive today in Chobe before joining us for a sunset boat cruise at 3:15pm. We left Planet Baobab at 8am and still felt rushed to be ready to go to the jetty for the boat cruise.

Park registration officeAlthough we were staying at Thebe River Lodge, it was not on the river. This place is at the lower end of the range of accommodation on this tour and it was more of a campsite with rooms, than a lodge with a campsite. It was a short drive to the river which was much wider than I expected. The river bank was full of tourist boats all set to do their own river cruise. The starting point was a reasonable distance outside Chobe National Park itself and so the boat cruised past various lodges which got more luxurious the closer to the park we were. These were definitely out of the price range for this tour. The Park office was functional and we moored alongside for our skipper to check us in.

The IslandThe river is the Chobe River which marks the border between Namibia and Botswana and splits into two with an island in the middle. There was a dispute between the two counties for a while over who owned the Island. The dispute was finally resolved by agreeing which waterway was the river and which just a channel. It was agreed the river was the deeper one and so it turned out the Island was part of Botswana. Our sunset cruise took us around the island without the need to cross back into Namibia.

Syncronised munchingOnce we were in the park the boat cruises quite close to the bank where we saw three hippos, warthogs, a herd of elephants and a few buffalo enjoying the water. This was the greatest number of these larger  animals we have seen in one place. As they congregated close to the waters edge the boats crowded round so that we could all get a closer view. We also saw many birds along the water’s edge including storks, heron, kingfisher, cormorants and numerous ducks. With the open waterways and flat land we could see for miles and again my binoculars were very handy.

Bit bored of posingAs the sun gets lower in the sky the boats crowded the animals in the water. Unfortunately at this time of day the shadows are so long that as the boats got close to them they were distressed by the shadows cast over their backs by the people on our top deck. It also ruined the photos, but it also annoyed me as we are there to observe the wildlife without intruding and this in my mind overstepped that mark.

Will the grass be greener on the other side?After our Moremi Crossing experience this is just too commercialised with the sheer number of boats on the water crowding the wildlife. I was glad that when we observed a group of elephants wading through the deep water trying to cross to the island, the boats did not impede their way. However the elephants did have to turn back as the water was just too deep for them.

Just to show we were here!The cruise was enjoyable for the sheer number of elephants, buffalo and hippos we saw and the larger boat meant we could walk around on both the upper and main decks to find a space on the railing to take photos. Each national park we have visited has been different in the terrain and the wildlife, so it is hard to say which we have liked best. On returning to the jetty, which had seen better days, we had to almost jump over the sagging middle part which was underwater.

Sunset over the riverAfter dinner it was off to the bar for those interested in watching the football spectacle of two German teams playing at Wembley, quite appropriate given the number of Germans in our tour group. I understand it was a good match, but I did not stay around to watch but went off to read as the internet in the hotel was not working, how did we cope before internet?


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5 Responses to Day 285: Chobe National Park

  1. Yes, yes, yes, we know, … but what did you think of the Champions League Final?

  2. a) Are you getting short with me? b) Is that the first time anyone has accused you of being short?

    The final was OK. Good to see a German team lose at Wembley! Shame it wasn’t Bayern. Otherwise not a bad final.

    What did you think?

  3. Hi Dave – no, I was trying to be amusing but failing dismally. The Chobe National Park looks fantastic. It’s been great following your progress.

  4. Sounds like we both failed to be amusing!

    Its good to hear from you. I’m dead chuffed that you’re reading the blog.

    I hope Rachel & the family are all well.

  5. Well individually you may not have “amused each other” but together you amused me!! 🙂

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