The Green Venice of Africa

The heady days of the Victoria Falls were still fresh in our minds, when we already anticipated the next highlight of the tour, the beautiful Botswana. As one of the safest and most stable countries in Africa, Botswana is also due to its highly impressive national parks in the tourist’s favor. And we were going to visit two of these jewels of nature.
Shortly after the border Chobe National Park, famous for its huge herds of elephant and buffalo, was waiting for us. Although the Buffalos were quite rare sights, we got a lot of elephants in front of our lenses. So we saw, among other things, a very direct “flirt” of a bull elephant waving his second trunk. Very impressive. But the lady was not interested and so the five liters of blood could be pumped back into the brain again.
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No less impressive was a pack of lions, which was relaxing after a successful hunt. From only three yards away, we watched from our open jeep, how the lion ladies and children thoroughly cleaned themselves, lounged and frequently yawned. Our camera was running hot again. Shortly thereafter, we discovered a group of banded mongoose, which just were trying hard to scrape insects off the ground. They were soooo cute, the little ones, that we could not get enough.

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 Next a large baboon clan came along. Here, too, the spring fever seemed to be strong and they merrily made love. In the end a cute baby elephant waved us goodbye and with a big smile and lots of new photos we left Chobe and his animals.
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Then the Okavango Delta was on the program. Unlike a traditional delta the Okavango River empties not into the sea but in the inner Kalahari Basin, where it fans out and gradually seeps into the ground. Depending on the strength of the rainy season, the Delta can therefore be up to 20,000 sq km in size. From the town of Maun, we explored the canal system of the Okavango in traditional dugout canoes. Equipped with a professional poler (Italian: Gondolera) we went deep into the water maze. While the sun beat down on us, we enjoyed ever new views on water lily-covered lakes and strained our ears for any sounds of hippo.

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In the afternoon we reached our base, a larger island in the heart of the Delta, safely. There we jumped into the refreshing water at once, we tried ourselves in poling and explored the island on foot. After a delicious dinner (see picture) there was a little song and dance routine of our guides and we were off to the tents. After we had  a visit from a small family of elephants the next morning, we returned to dry land.

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But we had not had enough of the Delta, and so we headed to the local airport, where we chartered quickly a bush pilot and his Cessna. Although this was emptying our travel purse dramatically, the spectacular view from the top was worth it and thanks to the contributions of our pilots air acrobatics we could review a lot of animals “up close”. However, the quality of the picture at 280 km/h and 80 degree inclination was unfortunately quite poor. But the fun factor was the higher.

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Again there was one country less on our Africa list and the end of the journey slowly came closer. But two more great weeks on the truck were still waiting for us …