Chobe River Sunset Cruise

From the Okavango Delta, we make our way back to Maun to be reunited with our luggage. My nerdy heart cries out with joy when my MacBook Pro is still right where I left it <insert sigh of relief here>.

It’s still Christmas morning. Today we are due to make the three hour drive from Maun over to Gweta. During our journey, our tour leader decides that we will all be participating in a group Secret Santa later that evening at our next camp site. We pass by a small shopping district where we stop for an hour to hunt for our Secret Santa gifts. While a $5 budget doesn’t sound all too enticing, in Africa this can go a long way!

Upon arrival at our campsite in Gweta, our tour guide tells us that the camp staff are preparing a special Christmas meal for dinner tonight; braai. This is a traditional South African barbecue that consists of several different grilled meats on the one plate. I was already in a meat coma just thinking about it and I may have even had to wipe the drool a little from my lower lip.

Gweta Camp Site - BotswanaThe campsite is literally in the middle of no where but it’s surprisingly quite decent – plus they have a plethora of meat cooking for us. That’s enough to satisfy this girl! The pool and bar area look awesome, but before we can take a dip and hit the bar, we must get our tents set up for the night and exchange Secret Santa gifts. I find a nice, smooth surface to unravel my tent on and get to setting it up. I grab the hand broom to sweep the dirt from the inside before moving my gear into it. While kneeling on the tent floor, I see something move from the corner of my eye.

WHAT THE F*$% WAS THAT?!

I scream like a pre-pubescent 13 year old boy when I realize just how close my hand is to the scorpion that is crawling around in my tent – a small one too, the worst kind! One of the boys in the tent over hears my scream and comes to my rescue. It must have crawled in while I was packing my tent up this morning in the Okavango Delta. I am traumatized. OK, well maybe not traumatized, but creeped out enough to not want to sleep in my tent tonight. The thought alone sends shivers down my spine. Gross.

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Our gift exchange is short and sweet. My Secret Santa gives me a battery-operated lantern. While the thought of a lantern may not sound so exciting to you, this thing is a life-saver throughout the rest of my African adventure and is definitely put to good use.

A dip in the pool and dinner followed – it was everything I’d hoped for and more! That night, a handful of us pulled an all-nighter and stayed up at the bar drinking, talking, sharing stories and being attacked by bugs while we rocked around in hammocks. The mosquito bites were a welcoming compromise in comparison to my creepy scorpion tent. I was glad I didn’t have to go back to it that night.

CHOBE NATIONAL PARK

Despite feeling buggered in the morning, we have a six hour drive to Chobe National Park ahead of us to catch up on sleep. I was out like a light.

Chobe National Park is Botswana’s first national park and is situated along the Chobe River. It has one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in Africa and is one of the world’s last remaining sizeable wilderness areas. By size, this is the third largest park in the country, though it is believed to be the most diverse and spectacular. The park is probably best known for its incredible elephant population – with over 120,000, it has the highest elephant concentration in all of Africa. I was excited to come face to face with some of these guys later this evening on the optional Chobe River Sunset Cruise.

Our campsite is on the banks of the Chobe River near its mouth. This is where the Chobe and Zambezi rivers meet, creating a border area of four countries – Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The campsite has wifi so I take the opportunity to update my social networks, let my mum know I’m alive, send some iMessages and FaceTime Gary. I was so excited to be able to talk for even only a few minutes before the wifi signal weakened and dropped out. I was really missing him, a lot more than I thought I would.

CHOBE RIVER SUNSET CRUISE

I had high hopes for our Chobe River Sunset Cruise. I was eager to capture the amazing scenery and wildlife as best possible on my new DSLR. I was not disappointed. There were elephants everywhere! Baby ones too, so tiny and cute sticking close by to their mummas. It was like I’d been sucked from reality and placed onto the set of Jurassic Park, only all the dinosaurs were now elephants. One frisky elephant couple couldn’t resist the temptation of exhibitionism and sexed each other up in the water right in front of us! I presume this is elephant foreplay because it’s what took place right before Mr. elephant tapped Mrs. elephant, doggy style…

Elephant sex on the Chobe River

Chobe River Sunset Cruise ElephantAnother elephant let our boat pull up extremely close to it without even flinching. I was scared to get too close because I’ve seen videos of what they can do when humans aggravate them, but to give you an idea, the photo to the right was taken without zoom when our boat came face to face with this big fella. Pretty intense, but at the same time, pretty phenomenal.

Elephants were definitely the prominent species along the Chobe, although we had some great Hippopotamus encounters too. Before today, I had no idea just how dangerous hippos are. They kill more people than any other animal in Africa and are widely considered to be the most dangerous animal within the continent. They are extremely territorial and aggressive towards humans and will commonly attack whether in boats or on land with no apparent provocation. When on land, they will run for the water if alarmed, and anything that gets in their way will be mown down. They seem to feel that attack is the best form of defence to protect themselves.

Chobe River Sunset Cruise

Pictured above and below, we also came across some huge crocodiles, frolicking impala and a couple of baboons. Not to sound unappreciative, but the baboons and impala are so common throughout Africa that they get a little boring after a while haha.

Chobe River Sunset Cruise Animals

As the sun set, it brought to close another incredible day here in Africa. We weren’t even a week into our camping adventure though, there was still plenty more to come…

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