The next day, Wednesday, 8/19 was spent visiting Chobe National Park in Botswana after passing through immigration for Zambia and Botswana. Our guide for viewing the park was a jovial man with a big smile named Moyta. Chobe is different from Kruger National Park and Hiuhluwe-Imfolazi Game Reserve as we were closer to the water which presented another way to search for wildlife. This area is the Four Corners of Africa where the nations of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe come together.
This day was my last chance to spot a leopard, the only one of the Big 5 I had not seen. The first leopard was spotted under the shade of a tree near a young elephant that had died of natural causes. The second leopard was high up in a tall tree with the prey he had captured for his feast. My Big 5 sightings were now complete!
The Park is noted for its large elephant population estimated to be 40,000 to 50,000. Many water crossings of the elephants were observed as well as the presence of many hoofed animals, fish eagles, storks, hippos, and wild boars. My favorite was the sighting of 10 giraffes including several babies. Also seen were numerous baby elephants with their mothers nursing and following wherever their Moms chose to go...A morning drive and an afternoon boat trip with lunch in between made for a perfect day for my final African experience which was truly magical!
Upon our return from Botswana across the river to Zambia, the vendors hawking their goods were waiting for us. One of them whom I had spoken with earlier was wearing an Arizona Diamondbacks jersey. I purchased one of his copper bracelets for $5 and the rest pursued me until I entered our waiting vehicle and gestured no more buying! I must say I appreciate their determination. Customs/immigration stops are really fascinating observing the number of people trying to cross to conduct their daily business. I was especially interested to learn that the tractor trailer truck units must wait for their turn to cross on the ferry which only carries 2 units and runs just 3 times per day. I counted the line of trucks on our return from Botswana and with 55 truck units in line the wait will take many weeks. It seems patience is a mandatory requirement to operate as a trucker in Africa! A bridge is planned to be built within the next 5 years...
My visit to Africa was truly awesome and amazing with memories and experiences which will last a lifetime! Make plans to go visit for yourself and you will fall in love with the place, the people, and beautiful creatures, big and small!