Day 38: Drive to Livingstone, home to one of the 7 natural wonders of the world: Victoria Falls. The water level was rather low (only the beginning of the rainy season), but the view was still no less than spectacular.
The Victoria Falls stretch across 1.7 km in length, and 108 m in height. On average, over 1 million liters of water fall every second. This makes it one of the most visited attractions on this planet, and it is certainly worth a visit.
Day 39: Recovering from the past week or so, the long drives and the lack of sleep. Was able to get quite a bit of work done thanks to a good internet connection for once (yipie). Hopefully this will enable me to share stories with you on a more regular basis.
Day 40: Had the privilege of doing a 15 min Microlight flight over the Victoria Falls. While the price for such a treat is far from cheap ($135; $270 for half an hour; same price for helicopter rides), it is well worth it and it feels truly special up there.
The “bird view” perspective is breathtaking, and it enables unusual sights of the local wildlife such as hippos and crocs.
Day 41: Last day spent at Vic Falls today, and most importantly our last day spent with the majority of the group which then splits up (3/4 of our group take another truck to Johannesburg; 4 of us continue our journey further south).
The highlights of the day included a sunset cruise along the Zambezi River, filled with lazy hippos and sunbathing Nile crocodiles. A nice way to say goodbye to our fellow travel companions!
Day 42: Departure for the Chobe Park, only some 80 km or so from Livingstone. Chobe is renowned for having the highest concentration of elephants in Africa, with an estimated population of over 64,000 individuals.
Tonight we are staying at Thebe River Safaris Campsite, alongside the Chobe River. Cross fingers for tomorrow as we have two exciting activities planned for the day: an early game drive and a river cruise. Can’t wait! 🙂
Day 43: Are the Chobe elephants on strike? Believe it or not but we did not see one single elephant in the park this morning. Due to the rainy season, they tend to spread across Botswana’s large game preserve and are not as reliant on the river to drink water.
Despite the disappointment, the game drive enabled us to see a few lions from a distance, the very abundant impala, puku, baboons and a couple of buffalos.
Afternoon river cruise: we finally found them! After searching in vain for over two hours, we eventually saw a herd of about 10 individuals come down for a refreshing drink. I must admit I was getting a little skeptical about the park’s slogan: the so called “land of the giants”!
All in all, the boat cruise proved to be highly fruitful with sightings of grazing hippos, imposing crocodiles, thirsty waterbuck, impala, the very elegant red lechwe, monitor lizards, and a wide variety of aquatic bird species (African darter, pied kingfisher, African fish eagle, African jacana to name a few…).
Day 44: En route to Maun, in the vicinity of the impressive Okavango Delta. The Okavango meanders across an area of over 18,000 km2 and is without a doubt one of the last untouched preserves of southern Africa.
Tonight we are staying at the Delta Rain Sitatunga Campsite, a local favorite for overlanders heading to the Delta.
Day 45: My first ever “mokoro” safari, in a dug-out canoe made from the highly distinguishable Sausage tree.
Mokoros enable oneself to discover the surrounding areas of the Delta in both a peaceful and relaxing way.
We set up camp on a lonely island in the middle of nowhere, then ventured on an afternoon mokoro cruise in search of animals.
Unfortunately, our exploration was suddenly halted when rain started pouring down from the heavens. We had little choice but to head back to the relative comfort of our tents.
Day 46: An unforgettable scenic flight treat over the Delta and the Moremi Game Reserve. The voyage lasted approximately 45 minutes and resulted in spectacular views of the area and its abundant wildlife.
It was such a delight to be able to spot animals from above: elephant, giraffe, buffalo, warthog, hippo, crocodile, red lechwe and even an imaginary leopard. “It’s in the big Baobab tree”, jokingly yelled our pilot as he tilted the plane to the left so we could have a good look at it.
Day 47: On our way to Ghanzi, home to the Bushmen people and the vast Kalahari desert. We were fortunate enough to do a Bushman walk in the afternoon, a great way to learn about life in the desert and some of the local traditions of these incredible people.
It’s amazing to see how little we, westerners, know about nature, yet it is here to serve us as long as one understands how to use its hidden resources.
Day 48: “Welcome to Namibia”. Heading to Windhoek, the capital city. It feels good to be back to civilization to enjoy some of life’s simplest treats, like a delicious Panini sandwich and a refreshing mango smoothie.
Tonight we are sleeping at Cardboard Box Backpackers and have booked a table at Joe’s Beerhouse, a local restaurant well-known for its game meat. Sounds “finger lickin good”! 🙂
Days 49 and 50: Etosha here we come! Two nights planned at Okaukuejo Resort and its famous waterhole. Etosha National Park is over 20,000 km2 in size and attracts a wide variety of wildlife across its various watering holes, especially during the dry winter months.
It is the rainy season at the moment so the game abundance is not as plentiful as we’d hope for. This did not stop us from seeing quality sightings nonetheless, including two white rhinos, giraffe, elephant, springbok, black-faced impala (a subspecies endemic to the region), and three distinct lion sightings.
One of the older males we came across had recently gotten in a bloody fight…it wasn’t pretty to watch. His deep wounds could’ve easily given him the nickname “Scar”, reminiscent of Simba’s uncle in the Lion King.
Looking for Part 5?