Africa Day Nine: Botswana: A Cruise On The Chobe River And Lots And Lots Of Elephants

Africa Day Nine: Botswana: A Cruise On The Chobe River And Lots And Lots Of Elephants

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Well if you like elephants, you should enjoy this post. We again had an early start, and I had  a few moments to catch the setting moon from the observation deck while I had a quick cup of coffee before breakfast was served. botswana-chobe-river-drive-1

After a nice breakfast, I loved the freshly made pancakes, we were off to a new country Botswana, and the Chobe National Park. We again drove through the  arid and leafless landscape, awaiting the Spring rains to change it back into  lush forest. botswana-chobe-river-drive-4

After about an hour ride we came to the Zimbabwe/Botswana border and made our way  through immigration.botswana-chobe-river-drive-5

In Botswana we passed long lines of  large commercial trucks waiting to take a ferry to Zambia. Some of the truckers were waiting for three days to use the ferry.  We learned this was because of the high tolls the Zimbabwe government charges for truck traffic. We also learned that there is a bridge under construction which will allow the trucks to cross into Zambia and avoid the tolls. Here is a link to some photographs from our ride to Botswana.

We drove a few miles through the Botswana countryside and arrived at the beautiful Chobe Safari Lodge where we boarded our boat for a cruise on the Chobe River. botswana-chobe-river-birds-1

The Chobe flows into the Zambezi River a few miles downstream from the lodge and serves as the border between Botswana and Namibia. There are large parks preserving wildlife on both sides of the border and some of the largest concentrations of wildlife in Africa our found in these parks. We soon learned this firsthand. botswana-chobe-river-birds-34

As we set out on the blue waters of the Chobe River our first encounters with the native wildlife were the mainly the many beautiful and exotic species of birds that live here such as this, I believe,  African darter  or snake bird. botswana-chobe-river-birds-5

This relative of the  anhinga that are so common in the Florida Everglades gets it’s name as  snake bird from the long neck that often protrudes from the water as it searches for fish. botswana-chobe-river-birds-8

We saw a multitude of birds  including this Goliath heron, from what I understand the largest in the world. botswana-chobe-river-birds-18

And we saw a few more fish eagles. botswana-chobe-river-birds-11

They did not take kindly to other eagles, not sure of this species, moving in on their fishing territory. We watched the tow eagles engaging in a sparring match and I believe the fish eagle won. Here is a link to some of the birds we saw on the river cruise.

We soon began to see some many other animals including cape buffalo enjoying the still green grass near the river botswana-chobe-river-wildlife-4

And occasionally we shared the waters with some wandering hippopotamuses. botswana-chobe-river-wildlife-21

Large flocks of birds  were roosting in the trees along shore. botswana-chobe-river-wildlife-14

 We also saw some of them more than nineteen species of antelopes that like in the  along the shores. botswana-chobe-river-wildlife-13

And we go to witness the efforts of this amorous male in pursuing a female who sure looked like she was playing hard to get. We watched him chase here so some distance until he finally caught up to her. Here is a link to some more of the wildlife we encountered on our river cruise.

It truly was a remarkable cruise, the extent and variety of wildlife was amazing. But it would get even more amazing, with our first  sighting  of elephants. botswana-chobe-river-wildlife-24

I have seen these  magnificent animals in the wild before, on the plains of Tanzania and Kenya, and I have loved them ever since. To see them live in the wild, from birth to death, enjoying each day as they forage for food, taught me that no animal should live in the confines of a zoo. They, like humans, were born to live free. And this opinion was further re-enforced seeing these elephants enjoying life on the Chobe River. botswana-chobe-river-elephants-11

The elephants of various ages seemed to really enjoy playing in the mud and swimming in the waters of the Chobe River. botswana-chobe-river-elephants-16

We were able to get very close to  them and we were able to observe their interactions. Here is one of many videos I uploaded to my YouTune channel. Feel free to watch them all.

One group decided to swim across the river. Unfortunately another boat blocked their route but the eventually made it across.  Our captain reported the captain of  this boat since these elephants may not take the effort to cross the river if they are prevented from making it.  Once the elephants made it to the other side, they actually crossed into another country Namibia, they enjoyed playing in the mud and dirt. botswana-chobe-river-elephants-31

As we made our way back to the Chobe Safari Lodge I was  amazed by the number of elephants along the shores of the river. I was thankful I had the opportunity to watch them in there natural environment but so wish i could have spent much more time in this wonderful place. Hopefully. I will return again someday. Here is a link to some more photographs of the elephants of the Chobe River.

The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book?” – David Attenboroughbotswana-chobe-river-elephants-35