We have arrived at Chobe National Park, which is the second largest in Botswana and we are doing morning and afternoon game drives. The morning drive starts at 6am and we are out of bed ready to go by 5:45am; it’s cold in the open-top 4x4s as we drive to the gates of the park.
Chobe is said to have the biggest concentration of elephants in Africa and it certainly seems so. During our game drive on the banks of the Chobe River, we see hundreds of elephants, some playing in the mud, others splashing in the water. Many are family groups and when two unfamiliar groups meet there is a display of trumpeting until they accept each other. At first, you think they are going to fight, the display gets louder and the body language looks menacing. But this is all part of the getting-to-know-you moment before they meet up close and personal.
We come across a tower of giraffe. There are a large number of them but they seem frozen to the spot and they are all looking to the nearby bushes. Then we see them, two lions looking for lunch. The giraffe stand their ground, the lions seem a little put off by the large number of them, and it’s a standoff.
We see many more animals including buffalo by the dozens, monkeys, baboons and a mass of birdlife. We come across a leopard lying on the ground; it’s not unusual to find leopards in a tree, sometimes with their kill strung over a limb. Today, it’s a ground-level leopard and what a beautiful and proud-looking animal it is; Chobe has certainly stood up to its reputation.
We are now leaving Botswana and crossing into Zimbabwe. As we approach the border it looks like a scene from Mad Max, trucks everywhere waiting for their paperwork to be completed, their loads have to be checked for contents and duty. We are told it’s not unusual for drivers to spend up to a week here getting verified by both countries.
It’s now our turn. We approach the Botswana border control and there are usually forms to be filled out but they have run out, not to worry just stamp in the passport will do today.
Now on the Zimbabwe side, there are lots of safari vehicles; people like us are waiting to cross and border control has plenty of forms for us to fill out.
We stand in line for an hour before reaching the window with the man with the stamp. We give him our documents and $30 US in cash as the entry fee and 10 minutes later our stamped passports are returned, we are in.