Lyn, one of the Angels at Chobe Game Lodge, enthusiastically welcomed us aboard our riverboat. Chobe Game Lodge is the only Botswana game lodge, and maybe Africa, that has an all female guide team. It probably is a marketing ploy, but it is a very good one. We were off on a sunset safari on the River Chobe, one of Botswana’s highlights.
Before we had cast off we were sitting comfortably in our camp chairs with a gin and tonic in hand. There were only five of us on this particular game viewing boat. As a result this gave us plenty of opportunity to move around so that we could always see the wildlife from the best angle.
Wildlife on the Chobe River
We cruised up river for a while watching carmine bee eaters flit in and out of the mud banks, crocodiles silently slipping into the water, fish eagles calling from their lonely perches and skittish antelope coming down to the water’s edge to drink. The occasional snort of hippo amongst the lilies completed the African ambience. It was bliss.
We drifted downstream towards a couple of mud banks in the river, this was beginning to show a bit of wildlife activity.
We were in for the best seat in the house for an elephant extravaganza. This was obviously the place to mud bathe. Herds of elephants waded through a small section of the river to the mud banks and their bath. Smaller elephants had to swim, sometimes completely submerging in the water. It was touching to watch how the older elephants assisted these smaller and more vulnerable youngsters.
Lyn gently manoeuvred the boat onto the edge of the mud bank and cut the motor. I could hear the rumbling of passing elephants, which were only 5 m away, the trumpet of excited youngsters and the sound of mud splattering on elephant skin, it was extraordinary. The smell was also quite extraordinary! By the way the elephants carried on with their ablutions it appeared that they were not bothered by our presence at all.
It was easy to anthropomorphise; the delight of the youngsters in experiencing the mud bath and the pleasure of the older elephants as they majestically flung mud over themselves. There was also the curiosity of those that watched us on the boat and the squeal of distress as an elephant calf got briefly separated from its mother – it was pure magic.
I don’t think there is anywhere else in Africa that you can be guaranteed to see so many elephants behaving in such a relaxed way. Up close and personal. We sat back and watched elephants on parade – with a gin in one hand and chicken wing snack in the other. My kind of game watching! The Chobe river did not disappoint.
Why Chobe Game Lodge
The beauty about a river safari from Chobe Game Lodge is that you get away from the main drag near Kasane. Boats are limited on the river and you can watch wildlife from a different perspective. From the river you will find yourself facing game as they come down to the water’s edge to drink. There is also minimal disturbance so you can watch wildlife in their natural habitat without disturbing them.
It is an utter privilege.