Botswana get out of here?
When life becomes routine, there’s no better remedy than packing up the bags and taking a vacation into the unknown. If you’re looking for adventure, an African safari in Botswana is your chance to enter a world without the buzz of incoming text messages and the dull roar of morning traffic. The only roars you’ll hear in Chobe National Park are those of the lion prides as dusk descends on the plain. This is the Africa of myths and legends.
At almost 11,000 square km, Chobe is one of the biggest and most popular safari destinations in Africa. Originally populated by tribes of hunter-gatherers known as the San people, the land became Botswana’s first national park in 1968. The British explorer Dr. David Livingstone – after whom neighboring Livingstone, Zambia is named – visited Chobe in 1850, as have countless other intrepid explorers since. Many of them came for the animals. Populations of Cape buffalo, antelope, lions, and Chobe’s world renowned elephants thrive alongside one another in this magnificent park.
During Botswana’s fertile summers, thousands of Cape buffalo gather to graze and drink from the channel. Predators may be watching from concealed positions in the brush, but they are wary of the buffalo’s horns, which promise any hungry lion a spirited fight. The African Wildlife Foundation explains how these horns are not just a means of defense, but are used by male buffalo to assert dominance. While the males battle for control, keep an eye out for young calves. Buffalo offspring often spend at least their first four years alongside their mothers. You may even see them splashing playfully in the mud, a common way of keeping cool under the summer sun.
Along the same riverfront, especially if you’re visiting during the dry season, you may spot Chobe’s antelope. They are the red lechwe and the puku. The red lechwe herds are usually found on the plain, and never stray too far from the nearest source of water. The other antelope, the puku, is much more elusive. If you’re lucky, you may see one lift its head from the grass and know instantly it is a puku by the distinctive black horns which curl back gracefully from its head.
“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions,” Karen Blixen wrote in Out of Africa. In Chobe, you’ll have the opportunity to see for yourself the truth of Blixen’s words as you watch from safari vehicles and observe lions darting across the nearby fields, chasing galloping herds of buffalo and impala through the tall grass. The Savuti lions indigenous to Chobe are one of the rare few breeds of lion that have adapted to hunting elephants. But taking down a young bull is exhausting work, and the lions of Chobe have been known to relax and take a breather right there on the road beside your vehicle. Their proximity can make for some truly spectacular photographs.
The elephants of Chobe are no ordinary animals. They are Kalahari elephants, the largest of all living elephants. Kalahari are not only distinguished by their massive body size, but by their comparatively small tusks. There are as many as 120,000 elephants concentrated in Chobe alone, which means that any visitor is sure to find ample opportunity to experience these animals in their natural habitat, roaming free as they have done for thousands of years.
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