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Sunday 16 Nov
Chobe, Botswana

Rainy season Okavanga, chobe

We were now with our new younger but less improved crew but they were still good crack. We crossed over the river into Botswana and towards Chobe national Park. The rainy season was in fulll swing now and seeing all the tents in puddles Anna and I decided to upgrade instead to a class little room. Watching one of the group brushing a scorpion off her tent had me glad we were in luxury for the night. Besdies We needed a night away from tents humidity and puddles. Even standing up in a room to get dressed was a luxury! We wee definately over the novelty of camping at this stage...

We rose early for a game drive to see Chobes countless elephants. We didn't see a single one! We saw a couple of other things like fish eagles , a not so nocturnal honey badger, the snake killing mongooses, birds grooming buffalo and huge hippos but the best thing we saw that day was outside the park a Warthog and babies went strolling through the middle of the town like it was there to do its local grocery shopping - it was not afraid of anybody and was hilarious. That evening we took a boat ride to see kudus, large Nile crocodiles (small by Oz standards) protecting a clutch of eggs and the hippos battling all over the park with huge snorts and canines on show. The thunder and lightening roared that night and we were up at 5am that morning for no reason in particular, I think our tour guide was just mean to be honest - sure we'd sleep like always on the truck in whatever angle on whatever road. Under then sleeping Gigantic male elephants threatened to charge the bus on two occasions as we passed on the road  and 40 giraffes bent their necks to stare at us. There must have been 50 plus elephants on the road - I only saw about 4 and slept for the rest taking in the endless horizon and blue skies in between the snoozes...

We were finally in the Okavanga Delta. Joining our mokoro (little wooden canoes) and our driver bizarrely called Mr T who was possibly the skinniest man I saw on the trip we headed into the reeds of the delta. It was gorgeous listening to the birds, the reeds against the boat and the odd hippo snort. It was one the most relaxing activity we had done in Africa and a swim to cool us down in the delta rounded off a superb 2 hours or so. We then went for a walk on one of the islands were lions were nowhere to be found only a couple of zebras and some tips to keep mosquitoes away by rubbbing elephant dung all over ourselves - think I'd rather get bitten by them personally. That night we sang some songs with our drivers (well the Irish sang anyway) and the drivers did some african songs it was great fun and honey you can't love one will be passed from generation to generation in the delta for years to come. Our sing slong was disrupted by a phyton running over one of the tours lads leg as he sat on the ground straight into Anna and I - he was only a young fella but we didn't know that so we leaped out of its way, we were on high alert and nect thing a scorpion ran under someones foot - it was hilarious and only added to the experience and gave us all a story to tell.... Long after we went asleep Anna grabbed me in the tent telling me theirs a snake in the tent - she was so convinced I told her to stay still while I reached round for a torch to scour the tent.....It must have been a magic snake and I went back asleep and Anna went back to dreaming of snakes in the tent.....

We went for a flight that day over the huge Okavanga wilderness - there wasn't human habitation to be seen for miles just giant herds of giraffes and elephants, hippos beside fertile rivers and parts looked like golf courses although I'm sure a lot wetter. That evening a black mamba, the most dangerous snake in Africa came to visit us at our campsite. Crawling up one of the tents he watched us all while a chameleon he had just bitten changed colour and swayed continuously. The chameleon started to walk off reamarkably but that was when the mamba struck again covering 10 metres in about 3 seconds, riping into its side and biting twice more in the same spot. It was at this point that birds started to arrive and hassle him, then a different type of bird arrived and started savagely attcking the mamba in groups of 5s and 6s, pecking its tail and back of its head, the reaction time of both the mamba and the birds was like a fast forward video. The chameleon swayed a couple of more times, changed colour to yellow green, then collapsed and died. More birds kept on arriving and the birds attack went on for half an hour. It was incredible - I sprinted off to get my lunch gobbled it and rang back but he was gone with the chameleon in his mouth - the birds had chased him under the fence at the back. It was a fantastic nature moment and I could see why the Mamba has such a reputation, its speed and reaction time was awesome to see..... Natures pecking order really is confusing sometimes, birds attacking mamba hmmmmmm.




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