After Zimbabwe, my second segment of the journey through southern Africa took me to Botswana. Highlights were the visit to the Chobe National Park, the barbecue with the elephants at the “Elephant Sands”, the trip to the Okavango Delta and the short hike through the Kalahari Desert with members of the San people.
Botswana is considered one of the safest countries in Africa and during my trip I never had the feeling that I had to doubt it.
Chobe National Park
The bus ride between the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Kasane, the settlement on the edge of the Chobe National Park, is just under two hours. So if you set off from the waterfalls in the morning, you have enough time in the afternoon for a unhurried boat trip on the Cuando River. The river is about 1500 km long and is a right tributary of the Zambezi.
It was very impressive to see so many different animals in one place, which you would otherwise only see in the zoo. We could see elephants grazing and fighting, warthogs drinking alongside sedentary crocodiles on the riverbanks, monkeys swinging from tree to tree, impala, springbok and buffalo grazing on the land, giraffes nibbling at the treetops and hippos lounging comfortably in the swampy waters. There were also pelicans, bald eagles, marabous and many other animals here.
The next morning we went again to the Chobe National Park. But this time with the off-road vehicle. Before sunrise we met a mother lion with her son who was strolling along the river bank and some hippos who were lying tightly packed in the water. Later we came across baboons, impalas, elephants, giraffes, zebras, springboks, crocodiles and a leopard.
I spent the following night in the “Elephant Sands” lodge. In the center of the lodge is a waterhole where elephants gather to drink and bathe, mainly in the evening. It was a very impressive and undoubtedly unique experience to watch two elephant bulls fight over a campfire and a glass of wine from a few meters away.
The next day I went to Maun, a town in northern Botswana, from where I saw the Okavango Delta from the air on a scenic flight in the afternoon. The view was extremely impressive and gave a very good impression of the extent and beauty of this inland delta.
After the flight over the Okavango Delta, the next day we went deep into the delta by car and boat. The local Kavangos brought our small travel group, as well as provisions and some tents, with their mokoro boats to a remote place in the middle of nowhere. Mokoros are about 4 meter long dugout boats that the Kavango use mainly for fishing.
We spent the day quite relaxed with a nice walk. From afar we watched zebras, antelopes and elephants. The area was paved with countless treacherous swamps and burrows in which all sorts of animals used to live, including black mambas, which we luckily didn’t encounter.
In the evening we sat around the campfire with the locals and let them show us their dances and typical games. Additionaly, we learned from our guide that there are more than 900 different languages in Africa.
The next morning I went on to the Kalahari Desert, where I met a family from the San people to learn about their lives. An English-speaking guide translated the many clicks and clicks of the San into a form I could understand. They talked about the different ways to get water in the desert and how they use the herbs and roots of the barren landscape as food and medicine. In addition, they demonstrated very impressively how quickly you can get dry grass to burn with the help of two sticks and a little practice.
In the evening they sang and danced around the campfire, often imitating animals and reenacting hunting scenes.
My short trip through Botswana ended here and I continued to Namibia the next day.
All images were taken with a Fujifilm X-T2 and the following lenses: Fujinon XF18-55mm f/2.8-4, Fujinon XF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 and Samyang 12mm f/2.0