Monday, May 9, 2011


PhotobucketAfter a quick and easy trip across the border we arrived in Kasane, Botswana better known as the location of Chobe National Park. We stayed at the amazing Chobe Safari Lodge located right on the Chobe River. It was a beautiful setting and our room was incredible! With all the time we had to sit around in Zimbabwe we did not want to waste one second and just an hour after we arrived we were off on our first game drive. Immediately upon entering this massive reserve (11,700 sq. kilometers) we spotted elephants but the guide knowing that we would see herds of elephants throughout our drive barely even stopped for a second to view them! Chobe has one of the largest concentrations of animals of any game reserve in Africa, so needless to say, there were animals everywhere we looked! We had great close encounters with the elephants, lion, buffalo, impala, crocs, hippos, baboons, warthogs, jackals, kudu  and many more. The lion in particular were an exciting encounter as we first came upon two small cubs who were crying, clearly looking for their mother. As we drove a bit further we found the mother and realized quickly that we were actually parked between her and her cubs…not the greatest place to be! We obviously backed up, and were able to witness the sweet reunion of mother and babies! One of our other too close encounters was with a very angry cocky teenage male elephant! When we came upon their herd the kids excitedly yelled out “Elephants, Elephants”, the young male was not to pleased with the noise and wanting to show us who was boss began trumpeting and stomping the ground and flapping his ears. He came so close to our truck that I was convinced he was going to hit us! The guide didn’t seem to concerned and just stayed parked, I guess it was his way of telling the elephant we were actually the ones in charge! An elephant on the other side of our truck joined in with the trumpeting and ear flapping too! It was a thrilling but terrifying sight and my heart did not stop pounding until the elephants gave up and went on their way!PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket
PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketOne of the greatest parts about the Chobe National Park, is the Chobe River runs right along it, allowing for game drives by boat! There is nothing cooler than coming upon a herd of elephant drinking and playing in the water! Seeing one or two elephants is amazing enough, but watching a huge herd near water is the BEST! Especially, as many of the elephants recently had babies! We watched the elephants for a long time and I took over 150 pictures . . .I had to capture every moment, it was just so awesome! We saw a lot of animals during this drive, but the elephants were definitely one of the favorites. My second favorite was a group of giraffe.  I had never seen a giraffe drink water before and I really never thought about how they go about doing it, so watching this tall giraffe shimmy out in to a tri-pod in order for his head to get close enough for a drink was one of my favorite sights to date! He only stayed drinking for a few minutes as I imagine it’s not the most comfortable position to be in and then after a bit of a rest shimmied back down! HILARIOUS!PhotobucketPhotobucket
PhotobucketWe have met a lot of great people at all of the places that we have been, and actually exchanged details with some of them, but during our stay in Chobe we met a family that we truly bonded with and we will most definitely keep in touch! Strangely enough, there was a bit of a language barrier as they are French, and while the parents spoke fairly good English, the kids spoke barely any! It was so incredible to watch Aiden and Anna playing with OcĂ©ane and Dylan, become instant BFF’s, laughing and getting along so well when they couldn’t understand each other at all! Although, the parents Pascal and Valerie are originally from France, they have been living in the Congo for 10+ years, and unlike our western life in South Africa it is very primitive in the Congo and sounds interesting! Of course, I am already planning our trip to go there to stay with them! Of all of our great experiences of traveling and the things we have seen, my fondest memory is going to be all the people we have met from all over the world. I can only hope that Aiden and Anna will be more open minded and loving because of it!Photobucket
PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketBecause we planned to go fishing again, Trent allowed me to choose one activity that I really wanted to do and therefore, I was able to convince him to travel to a small fishing village in Namibia for a tour! The Chobe River divides Botswana and Namibia so it was just a quick ride by boat over to this country. After a short 1 km walk down a dirt path we arrived at the village. A Namibian guide shared a ton of information with us about the village, their culture and customs. It was FASCINATING! One of the sad but true facts, is that there are more women than men living in this village as many of the men are fisherman (one of the only ways to make a living) and it is all too common to be killed by hippos while fishing in the river! The hippos actually knock over their canoes, and it is very difficult to escape. I guess I knew how dangerous hippos were, but I was still shocked that they are involved in so many deaths. We were also able to go inside one of their little homes (which is made out of a mud like concrete substance they get from termite mounds).  Inside the little courtyard, was the kitchen,  a fire burning with two cast iron pots, and a tub and bucket in one corner that serves as their bath. It was a school holiday when we visited so the children were there, but typically they walk quite a distance to a school located in the center of this small island at the top of the country. After a tour around the village we were able to shop through some of the crafts made by the women in the village, including hand woven baskets and beaded jewelry. I was more than happy to buy from them as this is one of their only other sources of income. The entire tour was only about 2 hours but it was a very valuable and eye opening experience for all of us! PhotobucketPhotobucket
PhotobucketA few hours after our Namibian Village walk, we went fishing on the Chobe River with the same guide.  The guide warned us that it may not be the best fishing, as the river was at it’s highest, but within just 20 minutes Aiden caught the first fish of the day a huge, approximately 5kg Tiger fish! Aiden hooked the fish but because of the shear size of the fish Trent reeled it in! It was a great redemption for Trent after some big ones got away from him in the Zambezi.  We had a few other bites between us after Aiden’s catch, but didn’t hook anything again, until right before we were getting ready to finish. We had moved to a new location and not 1 second after the guide cast my line for me, I hooked something! I was so surprised to have caught something so quickly that the guide had to yell at me a few times, “you have something, REEL, REEL” I tried and tried with all my might to pull in the fish, and even though I was exhausted I refused to give up! The guide knew I was tiring out and encouraged Trent to take over for me! Thank goodness he did, because when he pulled it into the boat we were blown away by its size, 7.5 kg, probably one of the biggest Tiger in the Chobe presently! When the guide gave it to me to hold for a picture I couldn’t even lift it up! It was soooo COOL! The guide was very pleased to have dinner for a few days and we were thrilled to have such a good fishing day!

I thought having such an amazing trip right before leaving this continent was going to be a good way for me to get my fill of Africa and then I would be more content to go home, however, it only made it worse! I realize how much there is to see and do here and I am so sad to leave it all behind! My mother asked if it was harder to leave Hawaii or South Africa, and although, it was nearly impossible to leave the great friends we made in Hawaii and the beaches, of course, now I feel like I am leaving an entire culture and continent behind! If I knew I was going to come back, it may make it a bit easier but we never know where we will be next! I LOVE Africa and I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been able to come here and see so much of the Southern part of it! Now I just need to find a way to come back and see the rest!

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