Hippos, Lions, Giraffes and I

There was no way in hell that I was going to spend this much time in Africa without doing a Safari. Camping out in the bush listening to the lions roaring in the distance isn’t something I was about to pass up.  Travelling through Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia it’s not as though we were out of options either, from a few hours, to a day or a week long stay, from under $100 bucks to well over $3000 per person, our options were plentiful.  We started the journey in Gaborone which I thought would have been just another city, but it was much more than that.  From our arrival in Gaborone it’s evident that we are in a location that is rich in wildlife.  There are trails through oceans of green trees from pretty much anywhere.  We stayed on the outskirts of the city surrounded by baboons!  They were all over the road, apparently coming from the hill nearby.  A bit of a pest, especially to women and children as they are not shy and keen to take anything from you with a bit of aggression.  As a bonus, our super hosts had 7 dogs and 2 cats on property, our pets for the week!

We took a bus to Maun which went relatively well and in all honesty, after taking a long distance bus in Togo and surviving, I am easily pleased with the basic comforts of other buses.  We stayed in a nice secluded area surrounded by thick bush and only reachable by crossing a river with a Mokoro (a thin, wooden dug out canoe typically used by the locals of the area).  The Hippos dip just around the bend and 2 gorgeous crocs hung out by the edge.  We couldn’t get enough of sitting around the fire, played with the dogs, sheep, cats, chickens and roosters. We had no wifi, electricity only for a few hours at night, not a neighbor in site or walking distance away and we got to cook most our meals on an open fire in the outdoor kitchen.  It was absolute serenity and a great start to discovering the unique nature this area of Africa has to offer.  My host here – who was a  hoot, gave me my first African bush walking tip – “Look, if you see a Lion, just don’t move and stay calm, you can talk to him if you’d like, he should just walk past you, but after all, if he attacks you it’s just cause you were meant to go, you can’t change that, that’s nature!”

After a relaxing 8 days, and successfully NOT being eaten by Lions, we made our way to Kasane, a small town near the 4 boarders shared with Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia.  From here we finally got to book our Safari with Kalahari Tours, a 3 day 2 night option that had us taking a boat along the River and spending the entire time in the famous Chobe National Park. Our first day alone was a success with endless animal sightings from Hippos in and outside of the water, Elephants, Lions, Giraffes, Eagles, Crocodiles, Water Buffalo’s and heaps more.  That was on DAY 1!!!!  We ended the day eating dinner by a campfire and drinking too much boxed wine.  Being here in rainy season was a huge bonus for us, because although sightings tend to be more difficult, when you do have an animal sighting they are usually accompanied by cute little wee ones and the overgrown greenfield look great in photos!

I don’t think I could ever get bored of watching any of these enormous animals grazing along in these open lush green fields.  Their perfection is fascinating, there colors bold and bright.  But time did end on the safari and we were due to head to Victoria Falls.  The few kilometers from Kasane to the town of Victoria falls in Zimbabwe are a complete contrast.  The struggle is much more evident in Zimbabwe.  The traces of the worthless Zimbabwean dollar are still being sold to tourist on the streets for souvenirs and the corruption is blatantly obvious, but with a leader like Mugabe for what seems like an eternity, it’s hardly surprising.  Put all that aside though and you’re left with an amazing culture, friendly locals and freaking Vic Falls!!!  Bring your waterproof everything because you will get soaked from head to toe.  The water that gushes off the edge of these falls is breathtaking.  We were fortunate enough to have blue skies and early enough to see the rainbow that forms near the falls.  I feel like mother nature has been very hospitable to us our whole time here.  She’s provided polite rains mostly at night and during our rest days, she’s given us a cool breeze just when we needed one and bright warm sunshine the rest of the time.




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