A sleep-in day!
As we are not being collected until 11:00am, we have the morning to ourselves. We enjoyed a buffet breakfast at the Kingdom Hotel, after which I sat in the restaurant overlooking the water courses, and wrote my travel diary (I had a bit of updating to do). After an hour or so I wanted to stretch my legs so went for a bit of a walk around the hotel water courses, and did a double-take when I saw a sign that read “This lake is a natural water habitat and could contain small crocodiles. Children playing around the lake need parental guidance.” Now that’s something you don’t see every day!!
We packed, checked out, and our Wild Horizons driver duly picked us up to head to Chobe National Park in Botswana. Our first stop though would be the border crossing at Kazangula where there are two border controls, one for Zimbabwe and one for Botswana. We would have to exit Zimbabwe at the first control, then enter Botswana at the second. We would have to also change drivers and transfer from our vehicle to another on the Botswana side. It all went pretty smoothly, even though it was something of an eye-opener. I needed to use the restrooms there, and they were definitely an eye-opener! All I can say is lucky I had tissues!!! Once we successfully passed through the border controls, we were off in the direction of a town called Kasane which borders Chobe National Park. Our first stop there was a ‘budget’ lodging to drop off two other Wild Horizons tourists who had travelled from Zimbabwe to Botswana in our minivan. Well … our group all looked at each other, supremely grateful we had Shaun to organise all our accommodation as the ‘budget’ place looked decidedly dodgy!! And on we went, travelling through the bustling township of Kasane to reach our accommodation, the Chobe Safari Lodge. Once again, lovely accommodation, situated right on the banks of the Chobe River. The restaurant, cocktail bar, and our River Rooms all had views over the river. Being about 1:30pm when we arrived, we enjoyed the buffet lunch once we dropped our bags in our rooms. After lunch, it was time for our sunset river cruise on the Chobe River. This time the boat was right at our doorstep … literally! We could simply walk down the boardwalk which ran from the restaurant to a small pier, and then hop on board. Not quite the intimate cruise we had experienced on the Zambezi as this boat was pretty full. It did have an open upper deck though where the crew limited passenger numbers. This made for a fabulous way to view the wildlife! Not long after we set off, we spotted a crocodile sunning itself on the banks of the river. Then in the lush green plains of Sedudu Island (viewable from our craft), we saw numerous elephants. Other sightings included Cape buffalo, hippos, impala, fish eagles, kingfishers, kudu, kori bustard (the national bird of Botswana), and Egyptian geese. And plenty of elephants munching the long marsh grass!
After all this glorious wildlife viewing, we witnessed a most stunning sunset as the sky and water magically changed colour to vibrant red, gold and tangerine. Breathtaking!
Once back at the safari lodge, we had lovely pre-dinner drinks in Di and Steve’s room. Di treated us to Amurela (quickly becoming one of my favourite drinks!). We also planned the next day, deciding we would ask if we could swap the boat cruise for a game drive. That would mean we would have two game drives, one in the early morning, and another in the late afternoon. We also thought we would inquire as to whether we could have a “local Kasane sights” tour in the middle of the day (between the two game drives). BIG day coming up!! Then it was off to dinner, our first ‘round table’ dinner. Worked a treat!
End of our first day in Botswana …