After landing in Kasane, Botswana, we drive to our first lodge Chobe Safari Lodge, this is our home for 3 nights. We spend Christmas Day on our first river safari, very cool. As we leave the dock, we are on the Chobe river. Success we see our first animals – hippos, elephants, crocodiles. We are reminded not to go near the river bank from the lodge as there are crocodiles in the water lurking… don’t need to tell me twice. After dinner we go to bed early as we are all jet lagged and need a proper night’s sleep to get ready for our first Safari in the morning. After breakfast we divide into two groups – the kids in one safari truck and the adults in another. Our ranger is Petrous, he is an excellent guide with many stories. He has also been on Animal Kingdom and Daily Planet, have to look up the episodes he’s been on. The first morning as we leave the lodge on our way to Chobe Naional Park we see Elephants walking across the road, very cool and so out of the ordinary for us. But a way of life here, we are told of many people that are killed accidentally by elephants or giraffes at night on the highways. We are in Chobe National park, which is Botswana’s first national park and is located in the north of the country. I am not prepared as to how close we actually get to the animals. I was told by a friend that we will get close, but when I actually get so close you could touch them (but of course don’t) the reality hits me. The animals look so majestic and calm in their natural habitat its a feeling I can’t even put it into words. We saw elephants, impala, giraffe, water buffalo. baboons, and zebra’s. It’s all surreal as I’ve only experienced seeing these animals (not all of course) in a zoo. We see monkeys at the Lodge, what i didn’t expect to see was how bold these monkeys can be. We saw one monkey take the lid off of a ketchup bottle and put his hand in and take it out and lick the ketchup off of his fingers. This went on for quite some time, Leslie tells us that the monkeys have become used to sugar and need their sugar fix. Needless to say, no one ate any ketchup for the rest of the trip.
The next day our safari started off with a sighting of a lioness. Quite spectacular, she was sitting in the grass. There were so many safari cars watching her. We watched her for quite a long while before she disappeared into the thickness of the bush. We saw so many elephants, zebra, water buffalo, giraffe, baboons and monkeys. It was a spectacular day. Just as we were leaving the park, it started to rain very hard.
Our next stop Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. We drive in 2 vans, our guides are from Forche Tours and Travel. We need a visa to cross into Zimbabwe , $50 US per person. The drive is about 1 hour – 1 1/2 hours to Victoria Falls from Kasane. We stay at the iconic Victoria Falls Hotel which was built in 1904 – anyone whose anyone has stayed at this hotel, it’s the hotel of choice for royal families, celebrities and statesmen. We only have a few days here and we take full advantage. From our hotel we walked to the Victoria Falls National Park, which for a fee you go in to explore the falls. In the park the views are breathtaking and their are no barriers anywhere, so one wrong move and that’s it…. on the other side of the falls we see Devils pool, many people are sitting at the edge of the falls… this can only be accessed from the Zambian side. This is not something I have a desire to do. After exploring the falls and get a little mist on us – some people are wearing rain coats, but it was a hot day and the occasional mist feels really refreshing and cooling. We decide to take the helicopter ride which is $165 US /person. The views from the air are spectacular, even more breathtaking. After this we head over to Lookout Cafe, http://www.thelookoutcafe.com/activities/, where we have lunch and anyone who wishes to zipline or gorge swing can do so. All of the kids did one of these activities. I was going to do the zip lining over the gorge but opted not too at the last minute – yes I chickened out after seeing the gorge…..In the evening we went to a craft beer microbrewery called 3 monkeys, https://victoriafalls24.com/blog/2017/08/30/three-monkeys-restaurant-launches-youth-program/ – a must visit if you are in Victoria Falls. So many beers to choose from, we didn’t have dinner here but wish we did, as the menu looked really good. Our last night we had a dinner/show, a perfect way to end our time in Victoria Falls.
We packed for our drive back to Kasane to catch our flight to Johannesburg then on to Cape Town for New Years…
Stay tuned – more to come –