Day 23 – August 5
(CHRIS) Sleep came easy that morning too and we again missed the best part of the day for seeing lions. We compounded the problem by driving the wrong way upon exiting and missed the most populous of the animals in Savuti. Nevertheless, we were on our way north. Chobe’s roads were sandy and it was easy to get stuck so there were often newer roads running alongside. These had more bush interference but less sand. These side roads helped us keep in front of slower drivers. One car that was stuck, tho, we did stop for and we helped them get free.
At one park gate/restroom, the rangers showed us a unique sight. Two baby hyenas had been left behind the toilets while their mother was out hunting. They were small, cute, and afraid. We looked and did not touch. Mama would be mad if we caused problems. This middle part of the park was basically devoid of most animals. In fact, traditional villages still existed in the park and we saw more people and cattle than zebras and elephants. Eventually we reached the north end of the park – along the Chobe River.
Now we started to see tons of game. 100’s of elephants and antelope (including the majestic Sable) dotted the plains by the river. Some of the elephants were mere feet from our car. Some came a bit too close when we stopped for the traditional PB&J. It was neat. We were one with nature. Paul even painted his hair green and started a war protest. A stopped tour-truck alerted us to some lions.
Yes, three snoozing lions only 15 feet from the car. Several other groups of tourists came and went, but we kept our vigil for some time. They all knew that lions sleep 20 of 24 hours and to see action was rare. What they did not know is that WE WERE TUMBLEWEEDS and WE HAD ROCKS. It logically follows, therefore: We threw the rocks. We waited ‘til the tourists were gone tho, so only we got to see the huge male and his female escort rise up and look about. Great photo op for all. They were only mildly concerned at the rocks landing next to them tho, so they went back to sleep pretty soon.
About 1 km later, we saw another lone female looking out over the river from her hidden shay spot. She looked more alert and hungry than the others but bided her time as a herd of elephants dominated the marshy plains below. We continued to see hippos as we came closer to exiting Chobe. We were happy and free as we entered the town of Kasane to find a campground. The trendy Chobe Lodge and Campground was full so we settled in down the road at 3 Rivers. But we went back to the Lodge to sample the fine dining they offered.
We decided for the nice fancy restaurant rather than the common buffet. We had lucked out at Moremi and this was where we spent the money we saved there. Great soup, wine, and appetizers and a visit to the nicest bathroom I’ve ever seen were followed by the main course: impala for me and Paul, Botswana steak for Sam. All was awesome. Now I can say I’ve eaten impala antelope. “I’ve eaten impala antelope.” There was a desert bar so we pigged out and left stuffed and about $40 poorer total.
After calling home to hear the news that there was a lion killing a human in Zimbabwe, we went back to camp and fell asleep to the sound of snorting hippos in the nearby river.