We had made it all the way up from Maun to the Chobe River, staying at Dijara Camp near Moremi Game Reserve and in Savuti, it had been awesome. We had seen elephant every day, 2 lion sightings and lucky to have seen a leopard
We now found ourselves on the banks of the stunning Chobe River at Ihaha camp. We had already seen large herds of zebra and a roan antelope as we drove along the river’s edge and we were greeted at Ihaha by a massive herd of buffalo (there must have been close to or over 1000). Better was still to come.
We left our trailers at Ihaha and set out for Kasane to replenish dwindling stocks of cold beers, ice, fresh food and fuel.
Some way down the road there was a stationary vehicle and people standing along side it, waving at us, there was obviously a problem. They looked so desperate to get our attention so I flashed my lights, just to let them know I had seen them.
When we rounded a corner I could see exactly what their problem was – they were stuck in thick sand. I stopped before the patch of thick sand and walked to them. The man and two women were foreigners that had hired a car in Namibia and had decided to do a day drive in the Chobe. They had now been stuck for about half an hour, it was hot and they were petrified, but now relieved that we were there.
I knew Jan was carrying a snatch rope and we should get the vehicle out in no time. Once hooked up and the tyres deflated. I got in drivers seat and noticed that the vehicle was not in 4×4 or even low range. A quick tug and we were out. I wanted to keep the momentum going, but Jan was digging in, so I had to stop, still in the soft sand.
Unhitched, with Jan out of the way and the vehicle now with softer tyres and in the right gear I had no problems getting the very relieved and thankful foreigners through the sand. After giving them a crash course in off-road driving I got out to wait for Sue, who had gone back to get our vehicle.
Sue was a bit nervous about the soft sand and didn’t quite think that I had gone all the way through the patch and she wasn’t stopping. There went my lift, straight past me. Iain, nervously, did stop and we caught up to Sue about 1/2 km down the road, now on firm soil.
A game drive vehicle parked at the side of the road is often a good sign. The guide mentioned that just behind the bushes was a pride of 8 lions.
The foreigners came up along side my vehicle and mentioned that they were going to leave us and head down to the river. When I told them about the lions they couldn’t believe it. First I had saved them and now I had shown them lions – I think they were rather happy with me.
As it was now getting late in the afternoon we left them and headed back to camp to set-up.
We had just finished getting camp in order as the sun started to drop. The large herd of buffalo had moved out of the bush onto the floodplain just out of camp. We jumped into our vehicle and drove right up to them and parked right in the middle of the herd. It was wall to wall with buffalo, of all sizes. It was such an amazing experience being amongst them and watching whilst the sun was setting.
To top off another wonderful day a breeding herd of elephants came past, heading to the river to drink.
Later that evening we saw more elephants, they were on a bank above our campsite. Seeing us, fortunately, they went around us and went down to the river.
More Chobe magic to follow soon…