Thursday, December 16, 2010

Game Viewing in Chobe

I laid my pen to rest and looked at my watch. I could hear rustling outside of the tent and knew that Oliver must be itching to get going. A pang of sadness briefly swept over me, as I was reminded of dear Miki and our bond that we had held. The last time we were to go game viewing, the boys had left us behind. This would not be the case today though. I sighed and tucked my journal and  pen away, to crawl into the afternoon sunshine.
My reminiscing was tucked into a pocket of my mind to be looked at later and I smiled at my remaining travelling companions as I poked my head out of the tent. Of course, they were ready to go. I waylaid them for a moment, with a brief snack to tide us over until dinner when we returned from our game drive. I have to admit that I was pretty excited myself though. I was pushing with all my might when it was time to shove Arnie off into the vast flat plains of Chobe National Park to explore. Arnie fired to life and we chugged off to the main park entrance with hopes of spying lions, cheetahs, jackals or perhaps even a leopard!
A few hours later, we returned to our camp a little dejected. Yes, we had seen the magnificent landscape that was Botswana and driven along the dirt roads that skirted the river. We saw impala, but it was so abundant in any of the game parks that we had been in that it was a bit of a letdown. The best we got was watching some baboons grooming each other in the middle of the road. We were thirsty for something more exciting; something bigger. Our cameras itched to shoot the big game, but we were denied.
Our game drive the next morning was just as disappointing. We searched high and low for sights of a fresh kill being eaten by vultures, a crocodile attacking a zebra too slow at the water hole or even something, anything more exotic than the by now prolific impala. We were jaded and pooh-poohed the beautiful antelope with its warmly coloured reddish brown coat, white underbelly and thin dark line down its back, that further stretched down each hind leg. It could be found everywhere from South Africa to Mozambique, throughout Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana, even upwards to Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. We weren’t interested in impalas. We wanted blood.
Undaunted, we planned on a last game drive for that evening. We headed for the river where we had spotted the most game thus far. My thoughts drifted to what I would do once Brett and I sold the van, as we slowly cruised along the dirt roads in the park. I looked up again when the van slowed. Ahead of us I could see several land rovers scattered about. Immediately I perked up and craned my neck to see what all the commotion was about. Oliver scrambled to grab his camera from the floor of the van and I could see Brett’s eyes growing in excitement. Obviously there was some kind of interesting animals up ahead, as the closer we got the more land rovers I counted.
Brett slowed the van down and I noted that a huge herd of Buffalos was gradually making its way towards the river. It was getting on to evening and they were having a last drink before settling down for the night. Despite Arnie being cantankerous at the best of times, we decided to stop and see what all the fuss was about. The buffalos were incredible to behold, but something even more exciting was in the air. We were about to find out exactly what that was.

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