We left Victoria Falls and made our way to the border of Botswana. At the border we saw warthogs running around and within half an hour of crossing into Botswana we had seen our first elephant. Botswana is home to approximately two million people and has therefore been named as one of the most sparsely populated country’s in the world. It is famous for being home to the Kalahari Desert and the Okavango Delta. The country is also well known for its high population of elephant. We spent five nights in this beautiful country and visited Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta.
Chobe National Park
After a quick (involuntary) swim at our camp group we packed the cooler boxes and made our way to the Chobe River. All 19 of us were put into a double decker game viewing boat. After 5 minutes on the boat we were in Chobe National Park. Chobe National Park is situated in northern Botswana and is Botswanas third largest park (after the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and Gemsbok National Park). The park is famous for being incredibly biodiverse and for having over 60,000 elephant. We started our cruise and there were elephant everywhere. With elephant close and far in the distance I must have been looking at one hundred elephant. I have never seen elephant in such high density before. On our river cruise we also saw a lot of buffalo, waterbuck, crocodiles, impala, pied kingfishers, red lechwe (a type of aquatic antelope) and an African fish eagle. We were also treated to a beautiful sunset. This sunset was incredible as we could see a gradient of red in the sun. This was really cool. What a welcome to Botswana!
We arrived at Elephant Sands, our campsite for the night, midday. As we arrived we saw six elephant at the waterhole. This made the whole gang very excited. We quickly set up our tents and made our way to the swimming pool. The pool was in the bar area which was fantastic as we could see the waterhole while swimming. We spent about eight hours at the bar just watching the elephant. This was an incredible experience as the elephant came within 10 m of us. This campsite has definitely jumped to the top of my list. Throughout the day and night, 50 elephant must have come to the waterhole. Honestly just such an incredible experience spent with incredible people.
We were collected early from our campsite in Maun and taken to the Okavango Delta. Along the way we saw a huge male elephant. We paired off into mokoros (small canoe type boats) and set our sites on one of the many small islands. We were on these boats for an hour and a half before we arrived at our campsite on the island. This island was approximately 50 km2 and home to many animals such as lion, giraffe, elephant, wildebeest and antelope. Along the way we heard hippos and other mokoros saw elephant. It was beautiful to be paddling through long reeds and green lilly pads. When we arrived on the island we spent the day relaxing and cooling off by swimming in the delta. It was a really hot day so I really appreciated being able to swim. In the late afternoon we went for a bush walk for an hour and a half. On our walk we saw elephant, zebra, wildebeest, warthog and impala. We also saw a variety of birds. It was nice walking around while it was a bit cooler and to watch the sunset. That night the polers (our guides) sang songs for us and taught us how to play a local game named chief. The next morning we woke up early to watch the sunrise and then headed back to the mainland. This was a very relaxing experience and it was nice to be in nature.
During our six days in Botswana we saw so many elephant. It was special to visit two iconic national parks and to relax at a campsite with an amazing view of elephant. Next stop- Namibia!