We’ve left the excitement of Zambia’s Devil’s Pool and the majesty of Victoria Falls behind and headed back into Botswana in search of adventure. We’ve lived in some quite rustic spots lately, and so we are doing a civilization reset with a couple of days staying at the Mowani hotel in Kasane…Eish! Hotel! That’s a first for us on our trip. Electricity, own bathroom…with running water…aircon…paradise.
“I think we should go to Chobe,” Nicky wakes me up dissolving my vision of a sedate day at the lodge. She's right. We are all the way here, let's do it. The girls opt for aircon and pools and Nicky, Josh and I head out to explore Chobe. After parting with about R400 - that's costly for just three people - we enter the park in search of the big game. However, it's not the big game we're expecting that we will find. We see lots of kudu, elephant and some amazing bird sightings. However the “big game” is avoiding getting stuck. The roads are Mozambique-style roads - thick and crazy sandy. We spend more time plotting routes and approaches than looking for animals.
After engaging everything including low range and diff lock we decide to take a direct road back. This turns out to not be a good idea. We had thought because the road was not along the river, like that previous road we had been driving, it would be better. We are wrong. It's worse. Very thick sand and hilly.
Nicky closes her eyes as we approach a particularly daunting hill ahead. I put foot giving Pajey full torque. We slide and slither up the thick sand. “Oh no!” I say, which causes Nicky to open her eyes. A vehicle is coming down the track in the opposite way. “You don't move,” Nicky yells. So I hold my course refusing to budge off the road in the hope that he will try and drive off to the side into the even thicker sand. He's going nowhere either. He knows he will be stuck. Eventually as we are nearly on top of him and he's fishtailing towards me I pull to the right…and immediately come to a grinding halt.
To say that Nicky is not particularly enamoured with me is an understatement. However all is not lost. I am able to slowly reverse backwards down the track while Nicky gesticulates furiously at the other vehicle making it clear they must move aside. Eventually, he decides to move aside rather than face the glaring Nicky, and with a lot of scary sliding he manages to get slightly off the track. Giving Pajey full throttle again we slither and slug past him finally making it up the hill.
It's a long drive…or at least it feels that way with us not relishing the thought of getting stuck and having to dig ourselves out in 40c heat with wild beasts everywhere. Thankfully we make it and are soon cruising back homeward bound on a tar road again. Josh has loved the whole experience and wants to do it again…but I fear his mom is not that much into 4x4 adventures.
We have decided to do a cruise on the Chobe because it is famous for its amazing elephant sightings. Grabbing our snacks we are soon seated on the boat by 3:30, grateful that it has a roof to protect us from the sun. The river is glass smooth and we enjoy some magnificent sightings of elephant - close up. As they beach the boat, so we can watch an elephant close by on an island, it decides to walk right up to the boat and then into the water. It's magnificent being so close to them. Later we see more elephant crossing the river with a small baby in tow. The baby literally vanishes under the water, with its trunk popping out of the surface every now and then for air. Somehow it makes it, cooled down and faithfully following mom.
After witnessing another unforgettable sunset over the river, we finally return home. The boks are playing again, and this is one of the few occasions we have a TV - in our own room. They had better not let us down. Thankfully they don't as they hammer Samoa. Now that was fun. Lying in the cold aircon room we let the sweet call of sleep claim us. It's our final night of luxury. Aah, enjoy, tomorrow we're on the move again as we begin to head south, towards home.
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