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Botswana

11th October
2011
written by Justin

Highlights

  1. Elephant herd crossing the water – Chobe Natl Park, Botswana
  2. Feeling CLOSE to the animals on our Walking Safari – Mosi-oa-tunya, Zambia
  3. Finally getting the hang of mokoro driving – Okovango Delta, Botswana
  4. Camping out really made us feel like we were on an adventure!
  5. Lots of really cool people and animals accompanied us the whole time!

Lowlights

  1. Four whole days doing nothing but travel.
  2. Poor communication between our guide and Acacia Small Groups – this directly caused delays and low group morale.
  3. Getting lost on the way to the first night’s lodge — after 12 hours on the road
  4. Constant equipment issues.  We constantly had issues with tent zippers breaking and other people had to sleep in fleece blankets one night before sleeping bags were found!
  5. Livingstone sales pitch video for overpriced activities.  This sales pitch lasted for an hour and caused other members of the group to miss out on things – The Waterfront, Zambia
8th October
2011
written by Justin

We were sad to leave the campsite when we did – 2 nights just didn’t seem enough to fully appreciate where we were.  However, Maggie and I got to have a completely different experience of the delta once we got out: a 45 minute flight above it!  We were stoked because it had been said that it’s hard to fully appreciate the size of the delta from the ground.  Whoever said that was right!  It was wild to see animals, scenery, and the odd fire from 500-1000 feet up. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Our Plane

Our Plane

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7th October
2011
written by Hazel

Once we had the camp set up we got to start relaxing.  I found this to be a very laid back part of the trip.  Mornings and evenings we got to go on walks on our beautiful island.  We saw some animals (although nothing as spectacular as in Chobe) and enjoyed the landscape.  It was so nice to get some solid hiking in after spending a lot of time in vehicles!  We saw zebra, lots of kinds of antelope, elephants, hippo, lots of birds, and a snake in the big tree IN OUR CAMPSITE.

Island Scenery

Island Scenery

We hiked around a giant baobab tree near the camp

We hiked around a giant baobab tree near the camp

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4th October
2011
written by Justin

We were so thrilled to see so much at Chobe that we were really sad to leave.  Fortunately the next part of our safari was to be a similarly awesome (though quite different) experience.  We were headed into the Okovango Delta (after another day’s worth of driving) – a place that is unique in the world for both its ecology and its culture.

En Route - Early and Cold

En Route - Early and Cold

The Okovango Delta is the world’s largest inland delta – it is a huge area whose geography changes with the seasons.  In the low season, it behaves much like a normal river plain would – grasses and a few river channels (along with wild animals) can be found then.  But in high-water seasons (We were there in August which has a high water level) the islands sink under water and become marshes separated by hundreds of small islands. (more…)

30th September
2011
written by Hazel

This post has been a while coming partly because the amazing awesomeness of Chobe National Park is so huge that it’s a pretty intimidating post to write.  This, for me, was a completely magical day.  I wanted elephants and I got ELEPHANTS.  Tiny baby elephants, elephants having mud baths, a huge herd of elephants crossing a river, and even sunset elephants.  This park has the highest concentration of elephants in the world.  In fact, they like it so much that if they try to take the elephants elsewhere to redistribute the population the elephants will walk back over 700 kms to get back to this park.

We got up in the morning in Livingstone, in Zambia and had to wait for some new people to join the tour.  There was a bit of a miscommunication between the head office and our tour leader (the didn’t tell him that some people were not going to show up!) which resulted in a bit of a mad dash to get the ferry across the border.  Fortunately, our guide was looking out for us and arranged for our game drive vehicles to meet us straight off the boat and take us directly to see the animals.

We had a really nice game drive vehicle and driver and had about 2.5 hours of driving up and down the Chobe river looking for wildlife.  There were so many amazing sightings, so if you want to see all the pictures click on any of these and it will take you through to the gallery.  But here are some of my favorite things!  (EDIT: ok, there are about a million pictures below.  But it really was that great!)

First view of the Chobe River

First view of the Chobe River

Hippo!

Hippo!

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17th September
2011
written by Hazel

We had a great first night camping and slept really well in the nice, sandy campground.

First Safari Campground

First Safari Campground

We had to get up really early, but it meant that we got to see a beautiful sunrise before breakfast!

African Sunrise

African Sunrise

Right after breakfast we got going because we needed to finish driving through Botswana and get into Zambia this day.  The landscape wasn’t that interesting, but we did see a little wildlife before we made it to the Kazungula Ferry that crosses into Zambia.

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15th September
2011
written by Justin
HUGE Termite Mound

Huge Termite Mound

After our time in Hermanus, we had a day where we just did mostly nothing and got caught up with laundry and other things, because then we headed back to Joburg for our overland SAFARI into Botswana and Zambia!  We were super stoked, even though we had to fly to Johannesburg, stay one night, and immediately hop back into the car for a long drive.  But it was worth it!  Nobody ever said that it would be easy to be on safari.  We booked our night at the Backpackers Ritz, which seemed to be affiliated with our safari company, Acacia Africa.  We were happy with the hostel; they upgraded us from a 2-person room and a dorm bed to a room that could fit all of us and helped us to order food from Nando’s (my favorite South African chain restaurant).  We didn’t see too much of it because we left the next morning at 5am to embark on our safari! (more…)