As part of the Livingstone portion of the Family Vacation, we decided to visit Chobe National Park to go on a safari. This was a whole-day experience and quite worth it. My dad did all the arrangements for the safari, and the safari vehicle picked us up at about 0730 to take us over to Chobe. Protip: bring your passports, as Chobe is over in Botswania. Another family we traveled with forgot their passports and were turned back to Zambia.
The safari came in two parts, with a boat safari in the morning and a driving safari in the afternoon. After getting over to Botswania and being served some coffee, we loaded up on the boat. Since there were 8 of us, the family got a boat to ourselves. Our tour guide was really awesome and very knowledgeable about the animals we were going to see on the Chobe River. Having been on a booze cruise on the Zambezi, I was a bit worried about how many animals we were actually going to see. I didn’t need to worry, but I was relieved when we spotted some velvet monkeys in a bush along the riverbank. We poked the boat over there for a closer look and some of the monkeys jumped on board.
A little further down the river is when we really started to spot all sorts of wildlife. Our guide spotted a tiny little kingfisher and we spent some time maneuvering the boat to get a good shot. Mom is a bird lover and was interested in getting a good picture, though not as interested as the guy in another boat with a much nicer camera. There were a lot of boats on the river but the animals didn’t seem to mind and it is not worth worrying about all the other tourists. The trick is just to enjoy the animals.
And enjoy we did! Just along the river we saw water buffalo, cranes, storks, hippos feeding in the daylight, crocodiles, riverbuck, kudu, impala, and lizards. The coolest part though was when some elephants decided to cross the river.
Watching the elephants swim across the river to get to some of the good river grass was pretty amazing to watch. We watched them as they approached the river, evaluated the merits of a swim, and then waded into the river, eventually sticking their trunks above the surface to snorkel. The seemed like they had a good time and were rewarded with grass.
We eventually docked and had lunch. In the afternoon we had a driving safari. On the driving safari, we saw a lot of the animals we had seen from the boat, but a major new addition were some giraffes. Elephants are cool, but giraffes are my favorite animals to see on a safari just because of how weird they look. I feel like elephants look about like you would expect an elephant to look, but the scale of giraffes throw you off. Especially when they run, they look like they are moving pretty slow but are in fact booking it, galloping off into the distance.
It was a long and pretty awesome day with some great tour guides and a lot of really cool animals. I know there are a lot of tourists there, but I highly recommend visiting Chobe if you have the chance.