Trip Start Feb 2005
31Trip End Aug 2005
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Where I stayed
The room is beautiful! Quite opulent and with a beautiful view of the river almost right underneath the balcony.
After chilling out for a bit yesterday we went to organise some tours for today.
We had read (in the Lonely Planet giude to Botswana - sadly no longer in print, endless thanks to M for getting me a copy, especially since it looks like she nicked it, which she didn't!) that you can do a game drive in the morning and a river cruise in the afternoon so that was our master plan - a day full of gawping at wildlife taken a million and one photos. It was possible to do the game drive either at 6am or 10am, and since we'd been travelling for two days we went for the 10am option, leaving us two hours to have lunch and chillax before the river cruise at three (both being three hours long)
After booking the trips and making enquiries about another trip to Victoria Falls we went to the bar, got a couple of beers, sat on some benches on a grassy "bit" (official technical term) below the terrace where dinner is served and watched one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen, again overlooking the Chobe river.
When yesterday's boat cruise pulled in we headed back to the room to get ready for dinner. While we had been sitting on the "bit" O had gone back to the room to get the camara so we could take photos of the sunset and on the way there he had seen loads of monkeys running around so he also grabbed an apple with the express intent of going against all the signs dotted around requesting guests not to feed the monkeys and giving them an apple in payment for photos (naughty boy!). As we walked back to the room we saw one and the thing immediately zeroed in on O's apple and made a beeline (or is it a b-line?) for us. O took a bite and tossed it to the monkey while it was really close to him. We took a couple of pictures of it and then gave the rest of the apple because some other tourists were coming and closer and were looking very disapprovingly at us for feeding the "pests".
At dinner we sat outside on the terrace-type thing. The food was a big buffet with the meat cooked on a brai. Last night there was beef-steak and ribs, O had both
This morning, after we woke and showered and made ourselves vaguely presentable to the world, we headed down to breakfast which was another buffet job but cunningly served in a different restaurant bit which still had a balcony that we sat on. We ate well, me knowing that we would be out all morning with no opportunities to snack whatsoever I assumed I'd be starving by lunch time and so, naturally, gorged myself. Then O helped to roll me out to wait for the safarimobile to whisk us away on to our adventure.
The game drive was fantastic! Chobe is a beautiful national park and the views we were driving through were worth going for anyway! The first animals we saw were birds of some description, then we saw impala and eventually we saw some elephants! They were everywhere. Huge whopping groups of them by the side of the tracks we were driving through just hanging out, eating and wondering around. At one particular point there was a big family by the side of the track and we stopped so we could see them (also they were on the road and I don't think our game leader supreme and the safarimobile could have taken them on), then they all started to cross the road behind us and they were SO close!!
We also saw a little crocodile, some warthogs (charming creatures to a hog) and a solitary waterbuffalo off in the distance. At one point on the way out of the park someone saw a giraffe, but it was so far away you almost couldn't tell that it wasn't a tree except that it kept moving.
After the game drive we went straight to the booking office and arranged our trip to Vic Falls. We had initially planned to do it on our own and drive th car into Zambia and stay a night in Livingstone, but the car rental company wouldn't let us take the car out of Botswana (the gits) so we had to go with the Lodge into Zimbabwe. The lovely M had mentioned the Victoria Falls hotel and said that it was worth going for a look, so - since we had already decided to hang the price - we thought we'd spend a night there as well! Because we wanted to make sure we got to Vic Falls we booked ourselves on the trip there and back (they do it in the same day, leaving in the morning and returning in the afternoon). We asked about coming back the day after tomorrow and the woman in the booking office was quite vague and told us to let them know the tomorrow morning before we left if we would be coming back with them that day, this is because we hadn't booked into the Vic Falls hotel yet, but she did say that it would be fine to leave the car in their car park over night
The problem is that there don't seem to be any trips out to Vic Falls on Saturday that we could come back with, but the woman told us to check tomorrow morning and we could arrange something then. However, the office opens at 8 and we are leaving at 8! Ah well, we would just have to figure something out.
Before we went to the office I had tried to call the Vic Falls hotel but the number in my book was wrong and the numbers they gave us at reception also yielded no joy, so during lunch (post booking office) I texted my mum and asked her to find us the number (a risky move since I knew she wasn't totally jazzed about us going to Zimbabwe, I believe her exact words were "do not go to Zimbabwe at any cost!"), but find us the number she did, and I managed to get through and book us a room seconds before we got on the boat for the river cruise!
The cruise was nice, but no where near as good as the game drive. For a start we were sitting quite far back in the boat and so didn't have the most fantastic view (unlike in the safarimobile when we were sitting right behind game leader supreme) and also, shame upon shame, my camara battery died after taking two or three photos. That put a bit of a dampner on the whole thing. We did see more elephants though, splashing about in the river, and some hippos and another tiny croc
Dinner tonight was pretty spectacular - impala and wild boar! O and I had both and both were delicious. We won't stay up too late because tomorrow is Vic Falls day. Before we ate though we went to reception to book another night at the lodge and to ask about coming back day after next. The reception guy booked us in but couldn't help with the return journey so handed us over to the events director Reggie. Ah Reggie - a true gent if ever there was one. He took us over to the booking office (which closed at 6) and had a look at the diary for the Saturday - there was still nothing there but he told us we could still arrange somthing if we came again the tomorrow morning. Again here was the problem of opening hours and leaving times. He switched on the computer to find the booking office woman's phone number to ask her to come in early tomorrow! Her phone was off. Reggie then told us to phone tomorrow and see if there are any trips planned, that they might be able to organise something even if there wasn't and that there should be combis etc at both sides of the border. He then gave us his mobile number saying that if we did get stuck in Kasane he could come and pick us up! - he also wanted to give us his wife's number in case he was in the Delta, but I refused because he had done so much for us already.
Blimy, this is an elephantine (snigger snigger) entry, I think I'll leave it there and appologise for the length.