Sunday, July 3, 2011

we arrive in Chobe

We left the Protea under the guidance of a befuddled transfer agent from OAT who couldn’t even arrange for hotel shuttles to the airport but we managed and took a flight of almost two hours to Vic Falls where we stood in line for a fairly long period of time to get our double entry visas. 
We exited and met our guide for the next 16 days Chamu.  He is from Zimbabwe (Zim) and over time we will learn that he is married and has four children from ages 6 to 22.  He used to be with game control in the anti poaching unit.  Later went into guiding after feeling like he was making little progress in limiting the poaching as this is big money in southern Africa  - the poaching not the guiding.  A poacher can get up to $60,000 US for a kilo of black rhino horn, which is why they have been driven into virtual extinction- but more on that later.
From Vic Falls we drive to the border with Botswana and go through immigration and passport control there- we need no visa. However, we do need to walk through a cleanup area for hoof and mouth disease before we can enter the country. 
Then two more hours of driving and we arrive in Chobe Park and our camp- Baobab Wilderness Camp.  We are given the first of seemingly endless lectures about safety in these wild areas (does anyone really forget and try to go up to a lion or an elephant thinking this is a petting zoo?)
one of driver guides Matsaudi giving us one of several lectures on Botswana history and culture

our first sighting in the wild LOL- the pictures will get better but this guy was just by the road on the way in to Baobab Camp in Botswana - at Chobe National Park.
The camp is lovely and our cabin which has a ceiling of thatch but canvas sides and our own en suite bathroom with shower and toilet and sink area.  We have a porch overlooking a watering hole where we spot Cape buffalo on their way to the Chobe River this afternoon just before sunset.  The main area has a nice lunge set up and a bar and a very long dining area where we all eat with staff members joining us on a rotating basis. 

 sunset our first evening
Our drive in was long but along the way we saw elephants and giraffe and sable and red lechwe.  Since for more than half of us this is our first time seeing animals in the wild (some went to Kruger before the trip started) we are thrilled at these sightings.  LOL little did we know how quickly we would become inured to the newness. 
Because we spent the day in long transfer most everyone is happy to retire early and get organized for the next morning.  They do our laundry daily at the camps so we put in everything but underwear for washing the next day. 

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