Accomodation : Bakwena Lodge, Chobe
At 5am there was a knock at the door signalling our wake up call. By 5:30, we were down in the Boma having a continental breakfast before heading off with Max just before 6. This time we were joined by another German family from Frankfurt; mother, father and thirteen year old son, Leon.
The route taken was the same as previously, however this time giant ugly birds called Marabou storks surrounded the carcass of the poor giraffe. Lying however, on the road, were an abundance of lions including two baby ones, with bellies that were ready to explode. The ‘daddy lion’ was no where to be found but apparently that’s par for the course. He eats first and then goes and lies down or finds a mate to procreate with. Hmm not a bad life for him!
We watched these lions, in particular the babies struggling to move, empathising with them about how it feels to have gorged yourself on food. The babies get to eat last and it looks like they’d ensured that they had gotten every morsel of meat off the bones. (a bit like Philip does with a good steak!) During the safari, we also got to talk to the Germans about Pom Pom lodge where we are headed next. They came from Pom Pom so we’re more than happy to gush about the wildlife we’ll see there even if there is no wi fi and very little electricity.
As they shared the same camera set up as Philip, it also became a light hearted challenge to see who could get the best shot with Leon, the young boy rejoicing every time he thought he’d won ( Philip let him have his moment!). We would wait for birds to take off and then capture them in mid flight, or try and photograph a running giraffe as it crossed the road ‘to get to the other side’. All this embraced by Max our guide.
Returning, brunch was at 11:45 and then we waited to be told that our new room would be ready (told 12:30) At 2pm we were finally able to move to our new lodgings more on the river front. Whilst it did have a great view and you could see the river from your bed, what we didn’t know was that it didn’t have an air conditioner, unlike the stilted one s (be careful what you wish for) even so, given that it was nestled within the trees and the view was significantly better, we still thought we’d done all right!
3pm, we heard the drums banging to indicate that it was afternoon tea. By 3:30, we were all off on our afternoon adventure – for us this was a Zambezi River cruise on the Chobe river. To get to the boat, thirteen of us were crammed into a mini bus that probably should have only taken 10. Either that or its thirteen fit Germans not a couple of Pumba Aussies. Being slightly disconcerted about the crush, the driver and boat operator, Dan told us that it wouldn’t be a problem as we’d be there in 10 (it was quite obvious he had the front drivers seat, not the back one where Philip and I sat). The ‘ten’ was more like ’20’ and when we got there, we had to walk down some sloped stairs made from sand and rocks to get to the boat itself. A fun start…hmmm
The boat was definitely not of the Victoria Falls cruise variety. A giant tinny with a canopy that could skim across the top of water. It was however perfectly fine for the party from Bakwena being able to access the grasses easily.
Taking off, the plan of attack was to travel clockwise around Sududu island and see what we came across. Firstly there were a herd of elephants playing like kids in a pool. Some were dragging others in and then pushing them back; some squirting, some rolling and some just looking at others in bemusement. It was fun to see their antics and watch as they acted like giant kids. Next stop was a herd of buffalo (still unbelievably one of the Big 5) Ugly as and not very interesting but still I wouldn’t want to mess with them. More elephants joined us at the water’s edge to enjoy a drink. Apparently their trunks can hold nine litres of water each time, ensuring that these creatures definitely have their five glasses of water a day.
After viewing a few impala and of course a variety of birds, we also encountered multiple hippos. Some out of the water chomping on the grass, some still rolling around in the mud baths and some actually crossing from the island to the mainland. Being capable of holding their breath for 5 minutes, you’d hear a snort and then they be down again. Whilst it was enjoyable to see where they would bob up, care also needed to be taken that the boat didn’t get in their way. This was noticeable in the way our boat driver carefully scooted around them.
Returning to shore, two vehicles were waiting to take us back to Bakwena…hmm must have heard!). Another three course dinner including running head long into a dirty great big hanging branch…headache but other than that ok.
Another 5am morning tomorrow so off to bed!