5.45am start for a game drive in an open vehicle – very cold but provided with a blanket. After previous early morning drives we knew to rug up! Our driver was a hoon – slipping and sliding through the sandy tracks at speed. It started as a bit of a DIY tour, he just kept driving past wildlife without stopping. We managed to see kudu, jackal, impala, guinea fowl, water buck, hippo, croc and giraffe. The best sightings were a herd of water buffalo plus a great sighting of a female leopard and her cub. About 10 vehicles chased like a paparazzi pack as they walked through the bush about 30 metres from the road! It seemed very like wildlife harassment to me! A welcome respite was a stop for tea or coffee as it was freezing! A bonus was the sighting of the African Fish Eagle.
Before going on an afternoon cruise from the lodge, watched the banded mongoose playing on the lawns of the lodge – very cute! The river cruise was fantastic! Not only sightings of water dwellers but also on the land next to the Chobe River. The river is cut into 2 channels and elephants and water buffalo swim across to the island to graze. The island is home to various creatures such as hippo, water monitors, crocs and innumerable birds. Witnessed a confrontation between a water monitor and plovers and kingfishers when the monitor tried to eat the bird’s eggs. The birds seemed to win in the end. Saw an elephant swim the channel to join the herd. Even baby elephants can get across with help from their mothers – amazing! A few crocs were sunning themselves but one was “working” – a female lying on its buried eggs (about 100!) until they hatch, living on stored body fat until that time. One unfortunate aspect was again the tourist paparazzi following the animals – think the authorities need to bring in some rules about how close boats get – there were up to 13 boats hounding wildlife.