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Pip&Judi’s Travel Diary

Monday, 15 Aug 2005

Location: Chobe National Park, Botswana

MapTHE ELEPHANTS GRAVEYARD
We are up at 5 am today for another day of game viewing - this time in Chobe. It was freezing cold and even a sleeping bag on the open sided truck was not really keeping us warm.

This turned out to be the best game drive yet and it was so good it left a feeling that it was almost like a visit to the zoo - only this zoo was the size of Lancashire - and the animals feed themselves.

Any lingering overly romatisised childhood thoughts of there being a secret elephant graveyard soon dissappeared and we were to see 4 dead elephants today. An anthrax outbreak has had a heavy toll on them but they have arond 100,000 elephants here - the highest density in the world.

We soon saw a herd of buffalo and our driver suspecting there were lions nearby went looking for them. He did not have to look far as within seconds a large lioness appeared round a bush just a few feet away - then we spotted several more including some young lions. They were stalking the buffalo and seeing lions break into a trot in search of their breakfast is incredibly exciting. You almost half wish to see kill as it would be such a spectacle - although gruesome. Buffalo dont come easy though and some of the bulls turned and ran back towards the lions to defend the herd - the amount of dust kicked up by a herd of buffalo is quite a sight.

We did not get to see an immediate kill but got the next best thing - just a few minutes later we came across another dead young elphant that had died the night before and was now a combination of breakfast and play thing for 4 young lions. We sat spellbound for ages watching these lions from about 20 feet as they either eat or played with the carcass. One spent several moments playing with 'his' elephant ear whilsts draped across its shoulders. A sad but fascinating sight. The photos of a blood covered lion is something to see.

getting out of our truck just 200 yds further away for a pee was something i dont imagine they let you do at Longleat - for health and safety reasons I guess!!!!!

On the way back to camp we were stopped by 3 young bulls in a 'batchelor' herd who decided to cross the road just feet infront of us - and give the truck a full face on flap of the ears as a warning not to get any closer - although had our driver got closer I think we would all have piled out of the back of the truck and run!!!!

....back at camp the afternoon was by the pool, sipping Gin & Tonic watching the Ashes - How English! How Colonial! How Perfect! Howzaatt!!! - another Aussie wicket falls.

The evening sunset cruise down the Chobe river that forms the border of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and our next destination Zambia is spectacular. Hippos laughing, fish eagles flying low over the water & crocs devouring yet another elephant carcass and a herd of elephants running down the dusty embankment to the river for a 'sundowner' with us!!! HAPPY DAYS INDEED!!.

We left Botswana next morning for Zambia, taking with us memories of the most amazing sights and sounds so far. We have seen Springbok, Oryx, Kudu, Zebra, Crocodile & Ostrich ...... and eaten them all!!! We can highly recommend a medium rare Oryx but Zebra is a bit tough and salty. The croc - well there will be no crocodile tears if we never eat that again! Yuk! I hope the plains of Namibia and Botswana have some left for the lions.

VICTORIA FALLS, Zambia, here we come. Bye Bye beautiful Botswana - We'll be back