Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Chobe National Park

We spent the morning on a jeep safari in Chobe National Park. Following a sandy track down to the River Trail we crested a hill and below us was a vast grassy plain with a large river running through it. It was an incredible sight as there were just so many animals on view, with hundreds of African Elephants, and smaller numbers of Waterbuck, Wildebeest, Hippos and more. We heard about a Leopard sighting and drove for quite some time to get to the correct spot, but unfortunately it had disappeared and I hindsight we wasted several hours waiting in the general vicinity for the beast to show. But we did see quite a lot of birds such as Hooded Vulture, Pallid Harrier, Burchell’s Sandgrouse, Black-crowned Tchagra, Red-billed Firefinch and Shaft-tailed Whydah.

One of my personal highlights of the day was watching a Collared Palm Thrush feeding on the lawn of a hotel at lunchtime, just right there out in the open. Wow! Almost as exciting as the Bronze Mannikins claimed by one of our jeeps!!

Collared Palm Thrush

After lunch the group split up into two, with a few people going with me in the jeep to look for the Leopard again, whilst the rest went with Charly on a boat trip into Chobe National Park. A great time was had by the group on the boat with close views of Elephants and Hippos right beside the boat, and a new mammal in the shape of a rare Puku. New birds included Grey Crowned Crane, the scarce Luapula Cisticola, Red-faced Cisticola, and Black-headed Heron.

Meanwhile the jeep crew followed the River Trail and the amount of wildlife on view was stunning. Pity we didn’t count the African Elephants but I would guesstimate almost a 1,000 animals along the river, as well as Hippos, Sable, WaterbuckWild Boar, Warthog and Impala all feeding on the floodplain. Some of the ellies were so close…


Elephant at Chobe NP

Blue Wildebeest

Moving on we reached the Leopard tree at 5pm and sure enough the Leopard was there just a few metres away from its kill, resting on a thick branch. Over the course of an hour we watched this young female moving around in the tree and finally coming down to its kill to feed. 

It's a Leopard
What a privilege to watch this beautiful animal in its natural environment, but all to soon we had to leave and rejoin the rest of the group back at the Bush Camp where we enjoyed a fine meal and a little relaxing time at the watchpoint, but nothing much was happening so we all retired early to bed. This had been a great day with plenty of great wildlife viewing and some decent birds as well. 

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