26
Sep-2016

Chobe: my top safari experience to date

My parents never took us on ‘Safari’. They took us to the Wildtuin – our name for the Kruger National Park in my Afrikaans family- at least once a year. I remember how me, my sister and my brother would fight for the window seats. And directly afterwards which window seat … just in case the one side of the car would have more things to see than the other. Koffie and beskuit for breakfast, leaving our tents behind at sunrise, eating brunch at picnic spots in the park with elephants passing by, rushing to be in time for the gate that closes at 18h00, so many memories, as vivid as yesterday.

So for the longest time as a child I thought a Safari was something you could only do if you are English and if you wore a vintage 70’s style stalker hat like Inspector Jacques Clouseau. Today off course I know that those yearly excursions were indeed safaris and that I am super privileged to have had wildlife sightings of epic proportions from a very early age. I’m very aware that to have seen all the big five in the wild by the age of 5, is something few other people from other parts of the world can say. To be honest I thought, until visiting Chobe recently, that I’ve had the best safari experiences there are to be had and I was terribly, terribly wrong.

Africa Albida Tourism invited my friend Meruschka and I to come and visit Ngoma Safari Lodge in Botswana and to do a river safari. The Chobe Riverfront is most famous for its large herds of elephants and cape Buffalo, which during the dry winter months converge upon the river to drink. During this season, on an afternoon game drive, you may see hundreds of elephants at one time. I’ve seen many elephants in my life! Having a different vantage from the water, truly puts this experience in a league of its own.

14379593_1748834452050359_4836791031100186150_oA river cruise will get up close and personal with hippo, crocodile and a mind-boggling array of water birds.

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You should also not lean overboard – no hands in the water! – this is croc country!

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14361320_1748833532050451_3929399668919208705_o14372387_1748833582050446_6206807154026203510_o14352612_1748833738717097_2582843265028090907_o14290037_1748833788717092_7750026745392515603_oChobe River Safari Elephants Swimming14352150_1748833762050428_660598611017631872_o

#366DaysOfMakingSpace 156/366 Look, I'm no wildlife photographer, but I'm pretty stoked we got to see a leopard in Chobe and that I get to post this picture. I watched her walk to the water, drink the water and then gracefully walk away. RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. She was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. "The Leopard is highly regarded by many cultures and tribes. In ancient and modern Egypt the Leopard is seen as a sign of divinity. If a Leopard crossed ones path in ancient Egypt, that person was thought to possess the highest of spiritual and holy qualities and their advice was sought by spiritual and political leaders. The Chinese have long regarded the Leopard as a great and mighty warrior. In Africa the natives believe that they are animal guides for the spirits of the dead, and help them to find their final resting place." – Zahir Karbani

A photo posted by The Good Holiday (@thegoodholiday) on

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What on earth could possibly be more beautiful than a leopard? 2 leopards?

It is said we only protect that which we love. When a guide tells us what they love of a place, its people, its past, its birds – its stories – they perform an act of preservation through sharing. Ensuring that tourists encounter good guides is therefore one of the most powerful things that responsible tourism can do.

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