One of the first countries we had talked about visiting in Africa was Botswana, but alas the Botswana economy is doing relatively well and tourism tends to cater to the up market, which needless to say is not us. So when we learned that there were overnight trips available from Vic Falls to Chobe National Park in Botswana, we were very excited.
The original plan was to do an overnight camping trip in the park with game drives, boat cruises and “sundowners”- game viewing at sunset with a little beverage of choice. Following the normal amount of confusion we of course were unable to do that trip. The alternative was to stay at a private lodge just on the Zim side of the border and then take a day trip to Chobe with the masses. I was a little skeptical that it would be as good, but it was a bit cheaper and our options were running out.
Remember that mantra: expect the worst, hope for the best? This time we unexpectledy experienced the very best. When we arrived at the lodge and went to our room to freshen up, Dave immediately became concerned. How much is this again? I swear she said it was cheaper than camping.
We enjoyed one of the most pleasant days of our trip. Dining on fantastic home cooked food made with fresh vegetables from the garden, taking a private guided cruise down the Zambezi, sitting quietly just meters away from a pack of 40 or more elephants and their babies, waking up in our private bungalow to the sounds of hippos along the banks of the river…so this is how people with money experience Africa! I highly recommend it. It was especially nice because it’s a very small, private lodge with incredibly personable folks who shared their tales of life in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia I was reminded).
We realized it would be hard to top that day of indulgence, but the trip to Chobe National Park also proved rewarding. Chobe has the highest concentration of elephants in Africa, so sighting them is not hard work. Drive to the river. Simple as that. Cruising the Chobe River also affords fun hippo viewing and loads of water fowl.
Without knowing it or planning it, we gave ourselves a brief vacation from our travels. Meanwhile we also made it to one little corner of Botswana. No signs of Precious Ramotswe this time, but maybe we’ll make it back to Botswana in the future.