Left the hotel in Johannesburg at 7:30 this morning and headed for the airport. The Johannesburg airport is definitely one of the most inefficient airports I have been in. Long lines moving a snail pace. Our plane took off at 11:00 and it was a 90 minute flight to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. As we were landing we could see the mist from the falls. The Victoria Falls airport is very small. We were the only plane there.
Below is a picture of the airport.
The local citizenry was there to greet us upon our arrival.
Not going to Victoria Falls until Tuesday. Today we were heading for Chobe National Park in Botswana. About ten minutes after we left the airport, I saw an elephant munching on the leaves of the trees about 15 to 20 yards from the road. I was the only one on the bus that saw him. They all told me that I was imagining it. We drove for about 45 minutes before we finally saw another one. About an hours drive from the airport we crossed the border into Botswana. This was a very rustic border crossing. Our group was the only ones there. As soon as we crossed the border there were elephants everywhere. We even had to wait as an elephant crossed the road. Unfortunately we changed to a very small bus at the boarder and all our hand luggage was piled on our laps and no one could reach their cameras. But they say by the time we leave we'll be so used to seeing them it will be no big deal. We got to our lodge about fifteen minutes after we crossed the border.
When we arrived there were warthogs all over the lawn of the lodge. I passed the sign below as I was walking to my room.
There are monkeys everywhere. They warn you to keep your balcony door closed because they will walk right into your room.
The lodge is located just outside Chobe National Park on the Chobe River.
There was just a beautiful sunset. As I was writing this I looked out the window and saw the sun just about to go down. By the time I got outside it had completely set. Below is a picture of me just outside my room. Look for the critter just behind me.
The warthog is the one on the right. This is a very nice lodge. My bed comes complete with mosquito netting. I am about to go down to dinner now. The dining room is outside overlooking the river. Tomorrow at sunrise is our first game drive.
Hello again folks,|
This email ended up being way too long. The best pictures are at the bottom if you don't want to read the whole thing. We were up before the sun today for our first game drive. Our group split into two safari vehicles. The first thing we saw was a large herd of cape buffalo.
Our guide could tell what animals had been through the area by looking at the foot prints. He spotted some giraffe prints be we never did find them. Below is what a tree looks like after an elephant finishes with it.
These large birds are maribou storks. They are scavengers and have a very large wing span.
We saw lots of different birds. In the picture below are fish eagles.
We saw dozens of hippos throughout the day. They make a very loud snorting noise similar to a pig. Notice the baby right behind the lead hippo.
We heard on the radio that some lions were spotted up ahead, so we hit the gas and sped over before they went away.
We took a coffee break along the river.
In the picture below is a vulture.
Elephants tend to stay in the brush until a little later in the day. We did see one group of elephants heading for the river.
We saw hundreds of impalas throughout the morning. This one decided he would pose for a picture.
We saw several banded mongooses following the impalas.
Below is another large pod of hippos. You can see one large one completely out of the water.
The kudu is a large African antelope. Pictured below is a female kudu.
After the morning safari we went back to the lodge for breakfast. We had some free time until our cruise on the Chobe River at 2:45. It was a little warm at the beginning of the cruise. We saw a lot of animals that you have seen above. Below is a photogenic crocodile that we got very close to.
We saw a herd of cape buffalo coming down to the river for a drink.
When the sun started to go down the cruise was a lot more pleasant. We crossed the border of Namibia during the cruise. We passed a lot of beautiful water lilies during the cruise.
The most breathtaking sight of the trip was seeing a herd of elephants cross the river.
We saw a lot of hippos, but they spent most of their time below water. There are about 10 hippos in the picture below. You can see the jaws on the third one from the right if you look close.
We drove the boat to within about twenty feet of the elephants you see below.
We watched these guys for quite a while. They would walk into the water and completely submerge themselves. There are some little ones in there too.
And in case you don't believe I am really here and am just downloading these pictures from the internet, I'll include the picture below.
My favorite picture of the day came just before we got back to the lodge.
Have to be up before sunrise again tomorrow for another game drive. I will dress a little warmer for this one. It gets really hot here during the day but it gets quite cold overnight. I have to go down to the main lodge building to send this email. There isn't any internet in the rooms.
Oh good, I hear water running. We have been out of water all day, a pipe broke. If you actually read all of this I hope you weren't too bored.
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