Accra Ghana Temple

Accra Ghana Temple
Accra Ghana Temple

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Game Drive in Botswana at Chobe

From Zimbabwe we took a one day trip to to Chobe National Park in nearby Botswana for a Game Drive.  Our tour included a 3 hour morning river cruise (in a big, nice boat) on the Chobe River and a 3 hour Game Drive in a safari rig in the afternoon. Taking pictures of big game from the comfort of a nice boat with sodas and snacks was a real treat compared to a bumpy safari ride.

During our float trip, we saw tourists in canoes on the river and Gregg and the guide agreed that they looked like "hippo bait."  The guide said hippos will attack for no reason at all.  You would never ever catch us in a canoe in Africa.  We saw lots of hippos and crocodiles.

The park is probably best known for its spectacular elephant population.  It contains an estimated 150,000 elephants, perhaps the highest elephant concentration of Africa.  Elephants living here are Kalahari elephants, the largest in size of all known elephant populations.  We were lucky enough to see a tiny baby elephant, still wobbly on its legs and weak enough to need to lay down and rest often.  Our guide estimated this baby was just a couple of weeks old. 

If you are an elephant, there is probably nothing better than an afternoon swim.  Right after Gregg shot this picture, the elephant on the left fell over backward into the water making a huge splash.  They also dunk each other just for fun.  I could have watched them all afternoon.

There are no fences and the elephants migrate as far as Zimbabwe.  But they always come back to the Chobe for water. We also saw giraffe, sable, cape buffalo, greater kudu, baboons, impala and puku antelope (puku are only found here).  This picture is the majestic Greater Kudu.

Birding is also excellent here.  Our favorite was the African fish eagle.  
As we came near a marshy area, hundreds of Whistling Ducks took flight.  They can really whistle!  Thank you Santa for these wonderful binoculars.  I love them.  

Victoria Falls - the Smoke that Thunders

Sometimes birthday wishes come true.  Mine did.  We recently visited Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe for my birthday.  It was a very fun birthday trip.

Victoria Falls is a waterfall in Southern Africa on the Zambezi River between Zimbabwe and Zambia.  The local tribe call the falls Mosi-Oa-Tunya which means the smoke that thunders in the Tonga language.  We were told by the locals that the Tonga tribe "owns" the Zambezi River.  

While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, it is claimed to be the largest. This claim is based on a width (5604 ft.) and height (354 ft.) which form the largest sheet of falling water in the world.  The visual impact took my breath away.  The mist is amazing, shooting up 1300 feet into the air.  You can only capture a clear photo like this (that we were lucky enough to get) if the wind blows the mist to the side.  The mist of the falls can be seen from 30 miles away.

During the flood season (now) it is impossible to see the foot of the falls and most of its face, as the walks along the cliff opposite it are in a constant shower and shrouded in mist.  For $12 US you can rent 2 extra long raincoats and 2 pairs of flip flops (your walking shoes stay safe and dry).  Because the mist blows sideways, you still get soaked - but it's fun and not at all cold.

We stayed at the Elephant Hills Resort with a great view of the Zambezi River and the mist of Victoria Falls.  Outside our 4th floor room, we enjoyed watching grazing impala and warthogs and the antics of the vervet monkeys.  There are signs on the sliding glass doors warning that the monkeys love to come in and "make mischief." 

Another wonderful part of this trip was the food; it was great! Gregg had hamburgers and steaks that rival what we enjoy in the US and something we don't often find in West Africa.

Gregg has now seen all 3 of the "big falls" (Niagara Falls, Victoria Falls, and Iguazu Falls).