The lifeblood of Chobe National Park in northern Botswana is the Chobe river. This is the focus of most of the animal life in the park, and therefore the safari activities.
My favourite experience when I visited the park in April was an evening boat cruise along the river. My lasting memory of my time here will be the elephants. On my boat cruise we did not have to venture far – we did not lose sight of camp before we came upon a herd of elephants looking to cross over from the far bank onto an island in the middle of the river. When they arrived at the river, the elephants had a good drink before wading into the water and swimming across the channel. I spent the best part of two hours (with a gin and tonic in hand) floating on the river watching them.
At one point, a family of elephants with a small baby decided to cross the river. It was wonderful to see the little elephant swimming with its trunk held high out of the water while its mother swam upstream to protect it from the river’s strong current. To see such well-thought-out maternal protection was lovely. Once the baby had reached the island safe and well, I stated watching two young bulls who were having so much fun playing in the river – without a care in the world they were playing and fighting in the water, and making a big splash seemed to be most entertaining for them.
To be floating on the river with the boat’s engine off, listening to the splashing of the elephants and the sounds of the water, was very special.