Our lodge in Victoria Falls was close to the Botswana border, and the Chobe River National Game Park isn't too much further, so we were driven to the Muchenje Lodge on the Chobe River. Even on the paved road we were able to see elephants, giraffes, impala and zebra going about their business.
Once we arrived at Muchenje we had a few minutes in our cabin, the chef had set out a light lunch for us, and then we were off on our first game drive. Below is a typical safari vehicle, similar to what we would be using all week. It's thought the animals see the truck and the people as one big object rather than as a truck full of tasty meat.
The second picture shows the view from our cabin. Although they're too small to be seen in the photo, we could see herds of zebra and kudu, some hippos and a troop of baboons out on the plain. Like Victoria Falls, the Chobe River ebbs and flows with the rainy/dry seasons. Mid-November is the end of the dry season, and we looked out on a vast floodplain with a small river in the foreground. In about 90 days we would be looking at a huge lake stretching to the horizon. The plain has plenty of good grazing and it's relatively safe because it's so wide open, but getting there means swimming across the crocodile infested river — risk and reward!
This was our first game drive, and basically it's just like it sounds. Down by the river, up on the hillsides, our guide Rambo, (his favorite movie), was looking for any interesting activity. His eyesight was phenomenal, so he saw things long before we did, and the entire time he was detailing what we were looking at. What's that animal doing, what does that behavior signify, the birds, the plants, what will happen when the rains arrive. It gave us a fascinating context for what we were seeing.
Finally, as would become our routine, we stopped for drinks and a chance to watch the sunset. Then it was back to camp for dinner.
There had been a torrential rain just before we arrived, one of the first major storms to break the dry spell, and the insects were out in force. Flying termites were everywhere, by the tens of thousands – in our drinks, in our food, in our hair – plus every type of crawly insect you can imagine. As we were eating dinner a spider the size of a saucer zipped under the table. They're nicknamed the Kalahari Ferrari, and this guy was startlingly fast. He certainly surprised Devan. Plus we had 8" centipedes, 10" millipedes, this beautiful moth, and an extremely venomous puff adder that liked to hang out next to the walkway to our cabin. (I read later that puff adders kill more people in Africa than any other snake. Maybe taking this picture wasn't so smart.)Created by