I later asked our morning game drive ranger if he had seen the elephants I had spotted in the distance. His reply was that there were over 70 000 elephants in the Chobe National Park and they were the highlight of the afternoon game cruise, so no one paid them much mind on the regular game drives. “Elephants, hippo, buffalo. You see them better from the water.”
“And rhinos?” I asked.
“No rhinos in Chobe,” was his disheartening response. Apparently all the rhinos they had once had, had been poached until only two were left. The park authorities had then decided to send the last two survivors to another reservation where they would have better protection.
Without rhinos and no trace of the elusive leopard we had heard about, our Big Five count for Chobe was doomed to no more than three. Although we had only seen lions from afar, the elephants and buffalo did not disappoint. Nor did the hippos, crocodiles and various water birds found along the banks of the Chobe river.
Although Gareth and I are old hands at game drives by now, this was the first game cruise we have ever been on, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Where the morning drive was dusty, windy and dependent on luck, the river cruise was a lazy, relaxing outing abundant with sightings. I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.
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