Close Encounters of the Elephant Kind
April 2nd, 2009

To access the Chobe area in northern Botswana, it’s easiest to fly into either Livingston, Zambia or Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. We chose Zimbabwe for two reasons. coque samsung First, the visa requirements were less stringent – you can get a visa upon arrival for Victoria Falls, where as you need one ahead of time (or at least my research indicated this) to fly into Zambia. coque samsung Secondly, it gave us the perfect opportunity to squeeze a trip to the falls into our already packed itinerary, which we probably wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. bijoux bracelets The flight was quick and easy and we were soon in our transport down through Zimbabwe into Botswana. Our guide explained a bit about the country to us and even gave us old Zimbabwe notes that are no longer used – one for 50 trillion Zimbabwe dollars and the other for 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollars. When we asked him what an American dollar was worth he replied “I’ve lost count”. Near the boarder, you drive along the Zambezi River and can see Zambia on the other side, which I thought was quite cool. At the border of Zimbabwe and Botswana, we had to fill out a form to leave one and get our passport stamped. The boarder patrol area looked like a small shack and is a protected military zone. We then had to switch to an air jeep like vehicle to go into Botswana, as it would have cost our tour guides 9,000 pula to cross the border ( the pula is Botswana’s currency which right now runs 6.7 pula to the US dollar). In crossing the border to Botswana, we had to get out of the car and stop on a cloth drenched with some sort of solution to rid our shoes of any possibility of hoof and mouth disease. As we approached the Chobe Game Lodge, our trip turned a bit more off-road and any concern that we would not see enough wildlife was quickly dissipated. Before even reaching the lodge, we saw herds of impala, groups of warthogs, several giraffes and an elephant. coque iphone Upon arrival at the lodge, we spotted a warthog grazing on the grass outside of our rooms, who we have now come to fondly refer to as Fred. Tshirt pokemon The lodge is ideal in its location, rooms, decor and service. bague argent The perfect combination of modern yet not out of place, the lodge is mostly open air and each room has an almost entirely glass front that opens to the outside and overlooks the Chobe River. We enjoyed afternoon tea and cookies while the guest relations manager, Maggie, explained our itinerary for the stay. Each day was scheduled as follows: 5:30 AM wake up call (made by Maggie herself) 6 AM coffee and muffins 6:30 – 8:30 game drive breakfast followed by free time 10:30 – 12:30 boat tour on the river lunch followed by free time 3:30 – 6 game drive (including snacks and drinks around sunset) Dinner The schedule was flexible as we had our own private guide an of course nothing was mandatory. We opted to do a sunset boat tour the first night which was the perfect way to start our stay. While here, we have seen an abundance of wildlife and natural beauty that really cannot be captured in words or even pictures. The animals that we have seen up close, enjoying their natural habitat, include: giraffes, elephants, hippos, buffalo, lionesses, baboons, monkeys, warthogs, jackal, impala, kudu, puku, hyena, bush buck, water buck, meerkats, crocodiles, numerous bird species, lizards and I’m sure a few small creatures that I have forgotten to name. coque huawei For me, the animal highlight took place during our evening game drive the first full day here. As we rode on a path alongside the river, we saw a very large male elephant strolling towards us. As we moved forward, he continued to walk towards us until we stopped and he strolled right past our jeep, only a couple of feet away. We literally could have extended our arms out and touched him (we didn’t, as we know to give him the right of way)! It was one of those moments that you think is only experienced by people who end up pictured in National Geographic. As I am sitting here writing, it is our last night at Chobe. Tomorrow, we head back to Victoria Falls for an afternoon tour of the falls, and overnight at the Victoria Falls hotel and a sunrise elephant back safari the following morning before heading back to South Africa to continue our travels there. Stay tuned….

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