Trip Report: Chobe and Okavango Delta

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Jul 9th, 2004, 02:20 PM
  #1
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Trip Report: Chobe and Okavango Delta

I have just returned from a trip to Botswana and wanted to let you know that the waters in the Okavango Delta are still rising.
We began our trip by flying from Johannesburg to Kasane, then by safari jeep to Elephant Valley Lodge, outside of Chobe National Park. The waterhole there attracts elephants, hyenas and baboons which are fun to watch while sitting by a warm fire (winter time now so very chilly/cold depending on what you are used to) and sipping warm tea. We cruised on the Chobe River on two different ocassions and witnessed an elephant totally submerging itself in the Chobe River in order to cross to the other side and graze. The inventors of snorkeling!! The camp itself is nice and secluded, but after a few days the drive to any interesting places got too long.
Next we flew to Chiefs Camp, a really luxurious camp where now 60% of the roads are under water, still driveable however. The animals were everywhere and diverse, including the recently re-introduced rhinos. We were able to drive within 10 feet of resting lionesses and 30 feet from the rhinos. The elephants were very 'sassy', trumpeting whenever we came into their sight. This may be due to the high water levels. For us, the really exciting part was the mokoro trips out into the channels of the delta. Our poler, Shande, showed us a daubchick's nest, frogs and ..... giraffes, wildebeests, red lechwe and elephants. Seeing the animals from a dugout canoe is an incredibly unique experience! We requested 2 hour trips on two different days and I would recommend that so you can see more animals. On both rides, the elephants cut off our return and we had to divert to shallower water. This is the real thing and your poler makes all the difference. Ours was great! Meals went like this: 6:30 am breakfast snack, 10:30 am breakfast, 12 lunch, 3 pm tea, 8 pm dinner. My feeling is that Chiefs Camp is worth the money, both for the accomodations and for the animals.
Our last camp was Xakanaxa, also in Moremi Game Reserve. Two hippos call the camp home and while we were there lions came into the camp. On my first night, I was awakened by a grazing hippo! On the second night, the lions were roaring quite near. Both here and at Chiefs were were escorted to our tents after dark. There's not really a mokoro experience available even though they advertise it, but the boat ride out into the channel is very relaxing at the end of a day of game viewing.
We made arrangements over the Internet with Island-Safari and were pleased with their service. We found the small Cessna plane flights over the Delta quite delightful and could always see elephants down below.
I hope this helps those of you still making plans to go. If you have questions, please feel free to email me, [email protected]
acabot is offline  
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Jul 9th, 2004, 02:32 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Sounds absolutely wonderful!
I'm curious about the waters rising as when we were in the Delta in mid June they told us they were falling a touch. I wonder if they have had more rains which have raised the levels again?
I agree, a mokoro trip is just magical. We took several when staying 3 nights at Jacana Camp.
Kavey is offline  
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Jul 10th, 2004, 09:26 PM
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Wonderful report. I think some of the most beautiful photos we took were from the mokoro...
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Jul 13th, 2004, 04:41 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
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Thanks for the report. Chiefs Camp sounds like a superb spot. It's wonderful that you got to see the rhino on Chiefs Island. Hopefully someday they'll be so many we'll see them all over.

Can you imagine that about 25 years ago, there were thousands of rhino, and it was very common to see them all over Africa. South Luangwa had over 4000! Now they are on the edge of extinction. Thank goodness places like Botswana are protecting them so well, and they are having some breeding success.
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