Friday May 16 – Chobe National Park – Savuti Area
It occurs to me that our days in Africa are coming to an end. I try not to think about it because every day is better that the one before and everything seems more majestic and powerful. We head out early and immediately see a big herd of wildebeest and lots of Impala and a lovely herd of Tsessebe. They are a horsey looking antelope and the Clinton tells us are the fastest Antelope in Africa. I imagine them all suited up for Olympic Time Trials- stretching out their hammies and quads in their Tsessebe uniforms – of course I share none of this with my compadres – it’s far too early to start such silliness.
It is beautiful here – stunning volcanic rock and the Baobab Trees. We are on the Savuti Channel and Plains of Chobe National Park. Animals come here to graze on the abundant grass. It is hot and some elephants die here because of the long migration, heat, exhaustion and lions. We see some new birds – the Malachi King Fisher and the Northern Black Billed Korhaan. We meet some more of Clinton’s mates – artsy funky extra cool dudes who are working on a documentary on lions- I think one of their names is Richard and I believe they are working on “Africa’s Giant Killers” which will be on BBC/Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel. Must check it out! They chat about their incredible world and Clinton gets some inside scoop on the lions and he takes us directly to them. The pride is napping in the shade of the bush – completely hidden from the casual eye. There are three year and half cubs, 3 mothers, one of which has nursing cubs. The three youngsters were very curious and watch us with wide eyes and round ears. They stay in their shady nap spot but are inquisitive. One of the young females had her paw draped over the nursing mother’s hip – she probably is a daughter. It was a very sweet sight; and looked as though she needed to touch her mother to be reassured of her special place in the family. It seemed like we were interrupting some very private family time so we didn’t stay long. They all just looked at us with those big golden slow blinking eyes…..extraordinarily calm and confident. I know why they call it a Pride -Perfectly named.
We left that beautiful family and were bumbling along in the beautiful warm sunshine looking at birds and basically just feeling very happy. Clinton graciously attached Matts Go Pro to the front of the Green Mamba and we were driving through the bright blue water and watching ducks and geese hurry on their way. I knew that Matt would love this! We were just tooling along all happy and smiles enjoying the adventure. Clinton got a message on his radio that there may be some elephants, “on the move” and we were off. We headed off into the marsh and parked the Green Mamba and just took in one of the most incredible sights that I will probably ever see. Elephants can communicate for over 200 miles and when they migrate they call in the troops and go together. And here they came. There must have been at least 60. There were huge bull elephants, tiny baby elephants, youngsters and mothers. They were all marching through the marsh land. Some of the little ones seemed to stumble a bit and those around looked like they were buoying them up and helping them along. We asked Clinton about this and he told us the little ones wanted to play in the water and their elders were keeping them on the task of traveling to greener pastures by nudging them along. It was such an incredible gift to see. No one was squabbling, no one was causing trouble, they all were working together to safely arrive where they needed to go. Another Very Good Lesson There.