How to have an amazing Chobe escape...

2017-04-09 11:35 - Meruschka Govender
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As a travel blogger I’ve been on many safaris but my experience at Chobe National Park has been my most special safari experience yet.  Why – elephants, lots and lots of elephants and a very special encounter…

Honestly, I’ve never seen so many elephant in my life!! It feels like you’ve been transported back in time to an Africa past – the massive elephant herds roaming the floodplains are truly a sight to behold.

Chobe National Park, the first national park of Botswana, was established in 1968 and covers approximately 11,700 sq/kms, with the Chobe River at its northern boundary. The Chobe wilderness is home to the largest elephant herds in Africa, estimated at about 70 000.  

Visit Chobe in the dry season to see the herds of elephants and Cape Buffalo which converge upon the river to drink in the during the winter months from May onward. On an afternoon game drive, we saw hundreds of elephants, scores of giraffe, buffalo, crocodile, hippo, a leopard and too many bird species for me to count. Baby ellies are the cutest and we saw so many of them!! 

Getting up close and personal to ellies, without feeling unsafe. (Photo credits: Daréll Lourens

Chobe is great for birders! The more safaris I do the more I get into birding. This is a yellow-billed stork, sometimes called a wood stork or yellow-billed ibis. (Photo credits: Daréll Lourens


Don’t miss the river safari! There are lots of large boat safaris but I strongly recommend taking a tour on a smaller boat for a more intimate experience. You really get up close and personal to elephant, without feeling unsafe. Watching wildlife from a boat in a different experience. 

Elephants really are amazing creatures! (Photo credits: Daréll Lourens

We got within spitting distance of this massive croc! Our guide warned us not to put any limbs out of the boat!! (Photo credits: Daréll Lourens

Our amazing guide MK, from the Ngoma Safari Lodge(Photo credits: Daréll Lourens

The matriarch took her time deciding if it was safe to cross. (Photo credits: Daréll Lourens


Our fantastic guide MK from Ngoma Lodge was super knowledgeable and intuitive. Not only did he point out tons of bird species, but he had a feeling that these group of elephants were going to cross the river.

So we waited 20 minutes until they made up their mind and finally they did!! Have you ever seen an elephant swim? Apparently elephants are fantastic swimmers despite their size!

Elephant are great swimmers. They use their trunks like snorkels! This baby ellie was totally submerged!

(Photo credits: Daréll Lourens

 

On our game drive back from the river safari, my friend Dee mentioned to MK that all she wanted to see was a leopard! 5 minutes later this young female leopard literally crossed our path!

It was a rare sighting seeing leopard in the mid afternoon. We tracked her for 5 minutes until she disappeared into the bush. 


Where to stay:

We stayed at the exquisite Ngoma Lodge, a boutique 5-star lodge bordering the western side of Chobe National Park. Nestled on the banks of the Chobe river, Ngoma’s location offers panoramic views over the Chobe river.  It’s an unfenced lodge and elephant are often seen around the lodge so you can’t walk outside you room at night without an escort. 

Lunch with a view on the banks of the spectacular Chobe river. You can’t really see it in this photo but there were elephants on the other side of the river. (Photo credits: Daréll Lourens

As we sipped sundowners at our private plunge pool we watched the elephants in the distance as the sun set. Truly a breathtaking sight! But the real magic was yet to come… 

  

(Photo credits: Daréll Lourens)

On our last morning at Ngoma, we heard a rustling outside our suite… I opened the door to investigate and quickly shut it.  A herd of elephants had come to drink from our plunge-pool! I was scared and excited at the same time- all that separated me from these massive creatures were the glass doors of our room! They seemed really thirsty - they cleaned out the pool. It was the perfect end to the most incredible safari experience.

 

Meruschka Govender is the blogger behind the Mzansi Girl Travel blog. Follow her adventures on Instagram or twitter.


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*Disclaimer: Meruschka Govender was hosted by Ngoma Safari Lodge for the Chobe River Safari Experience