A Day To Remember

(Another contribution from guest blogger Ruth Binney)

If you’ve ever wanted to see a herd of elephants walk down to the water to drink, cool down and play, watch crocodiles and monitor lizards basking or see more than 25 different species of birds all in the space of a few hours then the place to be is in Chobe National Park in Botswana.

The one day safari from Chanters Lodge begins with a drive to the border on the Zambezi, the only place in the world where four countries meet (Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe), There you quickly realize that the speed boat organized to take you across the river is luxury indeed, On both sides there are lines of trucks a mile or so long waiting to be carried, one at a time, by the three ferries that ply the water, At worst, we learned, it can take more than a week in the queue.

Our party – myself, Richard on a rare day off and his wife Ireen and Henry aged 7 – were transported the short distance to Chobe Safari Lodge for the first and most spectacular part of the day, a 2 1/2 hour boat trip along the river Chobe. What an experience! Botswana’s bird spectacularly on display, best of all being the malachite kingfisher (pictured, lilac breated roller (Botswana’s national bird, fish eagles, maribou storks and lappet faced vultures. Plus the elephants with mothers protecting their young between their legs and many hippos in family groups. A game drive through the park followed lunch, when Henry excelled himself spotting a tortoise and mongoose – neighbours to the many elephants, wart hogs and giraffes.

Altogether an excellently organized day thanks to Bushtracks and their informative guides and our driver Chris who sped us through the form filling needed to cross the borders back and forth. Another outing not to be missed from Chanters and a thrilling day for Henry too!


Rising River

The level of the Zambezi River passed the four-metre mark over the weekend and reached 4,14 metres at Katima Mulilo yesterday – eight centimetres up from Saturday. The normal level for this time of the year is around 2,30 metres, and exactly a year ago, the Zambezi level measured 3,75 metres, according to Namibia’s Chief Hydrologist Guido van Langenhove in the Agriculture Ministry.

“The monitoring and early warning systems are better in place this year,” according to Van Langenhove. “The US space agency Nasa and MeteoSat satellite images have been indicating good but not very high rains over the past days. Adequate and timely information regarding upstream river levels is being received from Zambia. As part of the UNOOSA sensor web initiative, the Ukraine Space Research Institute will also provide radar images of the flooding situation upstream,” he added.

The Okavango River at Rundu had dropped to 6,03 metres by yesterday afternoon, 8 centimetres down from Saturday. The average level for February is 5,44 m, and a year ago the Okavango was 6,19 m high at Rundu due to heavy rains in southern Angola.

In the previous two rainy seasons both the Zambezi and the Okavango River burst their banks and caused devastating floods in Namibia and Zambia, affecting thousands of people and causing severe damage to houses, fields, bridges and roads.

Courtesy of the Namibian


Chanters & The Biosphere

I re-blogged a piece yesterday about hotel reviews, here’s the latest review of Chanters Lodge:

“I spent two short periods (two nights and three nights) at the beginning and end of a Biosphere expedition to Caprivi at Chanters Lodge having stayed in one of the bigger hotels last year. Chanters was delightful and the staff very friendly and helpful. Richard, the manager, made advance bookings for me of a number of activities by email and arranged free transport from and to Livingstone airport which maximised my time to see the sights and wildlife. The free wifi to check email was a bonus.

The restaurant has a tempting menu with a wide range of dishes including authentic Zambian food and does not disappoint. We had our end-of-expedition dinner there and they coped brilliantly with the unexpected extra numbers. Some people on our expedition switched to Chanters on our return leg as a result of our positive reports.”

How nice is that then!

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