Chobe National Park
It’s day 11 and it feels like we’ve been here way longer! We have breakfast at the hotel and then head to the grocery store to fill up. Clearly, we had no idea what we’re doing as we end up with a few bags of chips, some vegetables and bread and not much else. We expected it to be like Etosha National Park where there are small grocers and large restaurants. Boy, were we wrong.
We hit the road for Chobe and are instantly met with very deep sandy 4×4 tracks. Other season South African travellers are getting stuck in the sand and I start to realize we might be in a bit over our heads. Luckily Devon had experience driving in sandy conditions from when he lived in Australia.
We’re in the park for 5 minutes before we see our first major elephant sighting with a massive herd and we realize that the tall trees and grasses of Chobe National Park will make for interesting wildlife encounters. We literally can’t see far in front or beside us meaning we could turn a corner and be faced with a bull elephant!
Beware of Aggressive Elephants
After hours of deep sand driving and getting lost, we make it to Linyanti campsite run by SKL Camps. The employee who checked us in advised us to “beware of aggressive elephant in the area” which of course stopped us in our tracks. We probed further and she told us that a large herd of elephants had been terrorizing the campers all day. They destroyed their tents looking for food. She said if the elephants mess with us, it would probably be best to abandon our vehicle…in the African bush…with wild animals all around…
Let’s just say I was terrified and Devon put on a brave face for the two of us. Never a dull moment, a few minutes later we see the herd in question. Devon stops the car and we hope to go unnoticed. Luckily we were able to wait it out and they moved on a bit.
In the ablution block (bathrooms) I meet two women who were freaking out in a language I didn’t understand. I tentatively asked them what was going on and they explained that their camp was attacked and tents destroyed. They had to hide behind their vehicles and hope the elephants lost interest. They were in the ablution block hiding their medicines which has orange oils in them. When travelling through wild parts of Africa, never keep fruits with you, especially oranges! Elephants love oranges and travelling during the dry season means they were THIRSTY and determined at this time.
At this point, we were properly freaked out and tentatively make our way to our campsite which of course is the furthest away from the ablution block and other campers. When we arrived, a South African couple was hanging out in the shade of the big tree on our lot. We chatted with them and they told us of their own encounter with the elephants, you can learn more about that one by visiting our Youtube video of this day!
Knowing how nervous we were, they invited us to come over to their campsite for a fire once we were set up which we graciously accepted. This ended up being one of the best nights. They were so sweet, they cooked us food over the fire and taught us about life in the bush. Things to look out for, stories of their years of travelling through these areas, and more. It was incredible and we both learned a lot.
After a very full day we drifted to sleep listening to hippos in the distance.