CHOBE! Attack of the wild warthogs, monkeys, baboons, and mongoose!!
At the very strong suggestion of Mike and Nick that if we wanted to see game in and from our camp site without renting a car, we should go to Chobe Safari Lodge's campground and put our tent near the elephant fence against the National Park. This we did, and we have not been disappointed. The first two days after dusk we saw Elephants up close and personal, across the fence about 20 feet! We are right at the wide Chobe River and we can look hippo in the eye. One came up against the shore and laid his head out of the water on the bank! He only left when Laura started banging her pan to get the monkey's to leave her cooking area alone. You see one of them had the audacity to steal the only egg we had left! The monkey ran through one of several warthog size wholes under the fence, and then had a very tough time trying to figure out how to eat his prize. (See photo of monkey with something in his hands and mouth.)
We had not planned to come to Botswana because it is generally set up for upscale travelers, and even if you rent a car to self drive the very deep sand into Moremi, Savuti, and Chobi, the rental price for a four wheel drive high clearance may be at least several hundred us a day. Many travelers to those places get to experience elephants up next to their tent, hyenas dancing around the light from their campfires, etc.
We have been quite happy with the level of excitement so far, which includes a guard near our tent at night. We discoverd his hiding place in the bush when his cell phone went off at 4:00 in the morning. We often awake in the night to animals screaming in fear or pain!! A Baboon troop which regularly sleeps in a huge tree about hundred yards into the park across the fence are especially startling when the big males call out in fright WAHHOOO!
The guards think that it might be a leopard bothering the baboons, as one or two have been seen in the spotlights which face out from the fence a short distance at night! We also awakened one night to the security guards chasing off 'teafs' as they called them, or theives.... Thrillseekers!
We just hope a lion does not decide to come under the fence..........
Even though some of you would think we are partying every night, this is a business trip. True! Why yes, we have broken our personal record for the number of nights in bars, since most of the hostels and campground bars are where people meet at night. We have met soooooo many fun and interesting people from many places around the globe!
We have also given out many cards to international travelers for our Sanddollar Cabana business to be on the Texas Coast. ( More info on possible hurricane damage to our place, later, as it comes to us.)
For example, the Chobe Safari Lodge camp ground has a separate cabana style bar on the water from the main Lodge. A man about our age was sitting at the bar when we arrived and we started up a conversation with him. From southern Africa, He had been a pilot with America West at one time and had actually spent a night or two in Austin. We later learned that he was the owner of this lodge and three others!
That same night we met four hell raisers who live in South Africa. All were ex military men, and all now ride harleys . They really enjoyed hearing us talk about the time we had a Harley when we were in college. Before you know it we were buying each other drinks and they took us to a friends' bar down the road. We met a number of nice people who live and work in Savane.
Next morning they took us on a wild boat ride on the river, and we were chastized by the Namibian rep for fishing too close to the Namibian side. They took us up into the edge of Chobe National Park, where we got up close and personal with swimming elephants. What fun, great guys!
We are planning to take a game drive in the morning and a boat game drive in the afternoon. We did this with Nadxi, Jerry, and John from nearby Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, when we were there five years ago.
CAMP COMMANDER WRITES
David Lewis, Camp Commander, Wimberly resturanteur, playboy, and our best happy hour buddy, wanted to know in a recent communique 'what about the Four Seasons, did they have one of those upscale places for a fine happy hour?'. We always try to find one in Dave's honor. Well we found Chobe Marina Lodge, several blocks down the street from our campground. We had a great dinner in luxury the other night for a reasonable price, and in one of the most beautiful lodges we have ever seen! Wish you were here.
We are enjoying walking around here, as people say it is safe and we had to be soooo careful in Capetown and other parts of our trip. Its about six blocks to the Spar, which is a very good chain supermarket which we also visited last time were in Zimbabwe.
Nice modern landscaping and buildings beside a little rougher housing etc here and there. Main road is hard top, rest are dirt. The occasional elephant may wander in at night, and the baboons and monkeys as well. People seem to become very happy and friendly the moment we speak to them. I think the wealthy whites who visit here do not normally greet blacks?
We are really beginning to miss our friends and family back home, but enjoying the laid back adventure while it lasts, which about two more weeks.
It is beginning to get warmer at night, and hot during the day. Was probably 75 when we went to bed night before last. By morning, it is quite nice and cool. Warms up to 85-95 during the day. We have been enjoying hanging out in the air conditioned Kasane Computers Internet Cafe.
Please stay tuned, and send us news of whats going on in you life!