Written sometime in early August
Sometimes it takes being on a safari in Chobe National Park in Botswana, relaxed and unaffected by seeing a group of elephants walk past the road ahead as everyone decides whether to capture the gentle giants or the giraffes in the sunset to realize how cool your life has become.
I’ve been in Africa a mere 9 days and after the stop at the Elephant Sands in Botswana my tour mates and I are ‘over’ elephants…Snobby? Perhaps…but as I watched my fellow safariers (spelling? …word?) fumbling lenses in crisis mode as to what to capture I came to enjoy the fact that I could actually just sit and observe the African wild. The tour we’re on changed groups in Victoria Falls (Livingstone) which is somewhat of a hub for Acacia…so those of us doing the 25 day SWS have returned to 2 of our stops. Not a problem though as our stop at Chobe was a cruise of the river the first time and we were given a game drive option the second…not to mention elephant sands is amazing.
Last time we were here we waited til dark to make a fire by the watering hole that is maybe 5 meters away from the seating area…when we shun our torches the elephants were nearly right in front of us, dozens of them playing and caring for the young. This isn’t decked out Indian or Asian elephant tourist crap…this is legit African wild, and it is incredible.
The Chobe river cruise hosted perhaps the most stunning sunset I’ve seen in my life, and gave us some great viewing of crocs and hippos among the water buffalo and elephants we’d already seen in Kruger…and impala of course….so. many. impala.
Victoria Falls…It’s dry season at the moment, so apparently they aren’t as good…but I was still in awe…the falls were one of my draws to Africa as a continent, specifically the south. The drier weather was actually nicer to see the rocks and not get completely covered in overflow. I watched a proposal and stared at the double rainbow created for quite some time. Nature’s beauty is a whole new level in Africa. Even the most touristy of places are untouched by western standards. Destruction if any is done by animals not vehicles, and the travellers to Africa, those willing to take the adventure, are respectful and honour the wildlife.
I want to tell everyone to go to Africa…but I kind of want to keep it to myself…just a little longer.
Acacia Africa…the first leg (Joburg to Vic Falls, aka African insight) was unbelievable. Our guide and driver (Sam and Tony) were incredible [They usually do legs including gorillas to cape town…if you are doing a tour along that route in either direction ask for a tour they are doing! Africa is stand alone breath taking, but having the best staff present it to you makes it that much more incredible]. They cooked us tons of local food, told us a lot about where we were, and where they were from (in Kenya). Example meal: avocado salad, lamb stew, grilled stuffed green pepper for vegetarians, pap (local maize meal dish). Everything was easy, worry free, and any requests were always met. We also lucked out with 8 people who were completely functional. Everybody pitched in to the participation aspects of meals and loading the truck, we all enjoyed a good beer after dinner, and many beers on the all inclusive zambezi sunset cruise in Livingstone. The campsites so far have far exceeded expectation, and I’ve become quite good at sleeping in truck as we go over the uneven roads.
Elephants have become old news. But I’m grateful. Because I’m on a tour, I can actually just sit and enjoy. It’s not that I don’t think its absolutely rad, its just that I don’t feel the need to take 20 photos of each one. To see the beautiful creatures of nature actually in their environments is fascinating… and being over elephants has made me realize how much being a tourist makes you miss in the midst of trying to capture it all. Bit like life, some might say…