Stupendous Safaris! *Video*
I have been on safari before – in Kenya and Tanzania – and they were really fabulous. That said, the Botswana and Namibia safaris I went on during my 19-day Acacia Africa Desert Tracker tour were mind-blowing!
Here’re the highlights of the national parks and some of amazing animals we saw:
Checking out Chobe
Located in northwest Botswana, Chobe National Park is Botswana’s first national park, founded in 1967. More than 31,600 square kilometers in size, Chobe is also considered Botswana’s most diverse park.
The park is particularly known for its high concentration of elephants, numbering more than 50,000. And not just any elephants – but an elephant population that is thought to be the largest continuously surviving population. Chobe’s elephants are also Kalahari elephants, physically the largest of all types of elephants.
The park is divided into 4 areas, each with its own ecosystem. The marsh and the hinterland are my favorite:
• Marsh: The Chobe marsh was captivating! I think it was also my favorite because it was a boat safari. (And also because our Supreme (tour) Leader Jay filled a cooler with his own mojito concoction – so it was a “happy” sunset river cruise for us all!).
We were able to get so close to the animals on the boat it was amazing – and slightly frightening. Particularly our up-close and personal views of the hippos! Check out those champers!
• Hinterland: The hinterland is mostly dry and hot, full of grasses and woodlands. It is a place that is particularly known for seeing elands. And we saw a number of them, big majestic horns and all!
Founded in 1907, Namibia’s Etosha National Park is called the “Great White Place” due to the salt pan smack dab in the middle of the park. Originally more than 80,000 sq. kilometers, today Etosha encompasses 22,912 sq. kilometers (more than 14,000 sq. miles).
Created by tectonic plate activity more than 10 million years ago, Etosha’s pan is essentially a dry lake bed that is crusted over with salt. It covers 4,731 sq. kilometers (nearly 3,000 sq. miles), and measures nearly 110 kilometers at its widest point.
Surrounding the pan is dense woodland that is home to Africa’s “Big Five”: Elephant, Lion, Rhino, Buffalo, and Leopard. On our several safaris, my friends and I saw cheetahs, blue wildebeest, oryx, kudu, springbok, jackal, impala, giraffe – in addition to elephant, rhinos, lions, and buffalo (4 out of the 5)!
Okaukuejo Waterhole: My absolute favorite part of Etosha – and a Desert Tracker top draw – was the watering hole at Okaukuejo Camp where we stayed. This small man-made lake was surrounded by floodlights and benches – providing an optimal view of animals as they came to drink at dawn and dusk.
Literally we sat on the sidelines and watched the animals roll in! The elephant herd we saw one night, more than 50 elephants coming out of the dust to drink and play in the water, was simply magical! Just check out the footage here:
Can’t see this video? Click on this link: http://youtu.be/yhl6jT3ylUQ
Seriously, nothing is better than watching lions stalk giraffe, all while holding a cold beer and a camera. What a thriller — the best drive-in movie around!
These activities were part of my Acacia Africa 19-day Desert Tracker safari from Cape Town, South Africa to Livingstone, Zambia. It was an unforgettable experience and I highly recommend you check them out if you’re planning an Africa adventure!
This entry was posted on Monday, December 5th, 2011 and is filed under Africa.