I recently returned from a fabulous trip to Chobe in Botswana. A comfortable two hour flight on SA Airlink, direct from Johannesburg to Kasane, was followed by a pleasant 40-minute drive from the airport, through the famous Chobe National Park, to Chobe Game Lodge. The 11 700 km² Park is home to Africa’s largest concentration of elephant and large prides of lion and other sizeable concentrations of wildlife, unparalleled anywhere else in the country.
The newly-refurbished Chobe Game Lodge has a bright and luxurious feel. The staff are all impeccably dressed and highly trained. This place extremely well organized and beautifully kept, with an atmosphere of ‘no pressure’.
The Lodge is extremely proactively run to cause minimal impact on the natural environment. In 2012, it was awarded the highest Ecotourism Level recognised in Botswana and, in 2015, it was recognised as the best property in Africa for resource management. In 2014 it launched Africa’s first, and only, CO² emission-free silent electric fleet of 4X4 game-viewing vehicles. The power for these is supplied by the Victoria Falls Hydroelectric Power Scheme and is thus renewable energy. This year, Africa’s first fully autonomous solar-powered safari boat will take to the Chobe River – powered only by solar panels on the roof.
The Lodge offers guests an ‘Ecotour’, which runs daily at 9am. Join the resident Ecotourism Manager for behind-the-scenes insight into some of the most advanced sustainable tourism initiatives in Africa, including a biogas plant and an on-site glass-brick manufacturing project, and view the running of the first silent CO² emission-free electric game-viewing fleet.
The game viewing from the river is too wonderful, with herds and herds of elephant visiting throughout the daylight hours; swimming, drinking, playing and simply enjoying the paradise that is theirs, now that the rains have come. The rains in Botswana fall from November to March and this year has been excellent and the abundance of water was wonderful to see. The many different shades of green were too gorgeous. The animals all seemed so happy and unstressed – elephants, buffaloes, giraffe and many antelope – kudu, lechwe (an antelope related to the Waterbuck) and many families of playful baboons.
Namibia is the other side of the Chobe River and, when flying over, we saw the Namibian side has been flooded – it was a big flood plain of several kilometres, which was extremely interesting to see and also very beautiful.
Thompsons Africa operates a fabulous day tour to Chobe National Park, from both Livingsto
ne, Zambia, and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, for those visitors not staying over in Chobe. This sensational land and water-based game viewing trip departs at 7:30am. View large herds of elephant and other grazing animals, as well as enormous crocodiles and glorious birdlife, on a Chobe cruise boat, just off the river bank. Then take an open safari vehicle game drive through the Reserve, which includes a delicious lunch at a lodge.
We also operate transfers throughout the region, as well as river cruises on the Zambezi Queen. This lovely 45m houseboat has 14 suites, each with private balcony, and can accom
modate up to 30 passengers. It is a 5-star experience of pampering, indulgence and superior comfort. The top deck is air-conditioned and consists of a dining room, lounge, and bar, as well as a sunbathing area, complete with private pool. No expense has been spared in creating this houseboat, which is absolutely gorgeous! The views of game are just terrific, the staff fabulous and the food, outstanding. When cruising on the Zambezi Queen, there are plenty of other activities on offer, such as close-up game-viewing and bird-watching from smaller boats, tiger fishing, 4×4 game-viewing, a cultural tour of a local village, and aerial game-viewing by helicopter.
What a fabulous trip it was at this lovely time of year! Until next time, ….