Hands down, Botswana is in my top three places I’ve visited on this planet. There is absolutely nothing in my life that compares to seeing elephants, giraffes, water buffalo, hippos, monkeys, lions, leopards and so many more animals in their natural environment.
We took a bus from Zimbabwe to Botswana, stopping to get our visa’s and passports stamped and to walk across the border as our bus was inspected. The border crossings here are much different than the ones I’ve been accustomed to seeing driving back and forth from the US to Canada. Instead of lights, lanes, hours of wait times, etc.. this border station was a little wooden hut along a dirt path with a wooden “gate” (a stick perched on a stand which was manually moved anytime a car/bus was granted entrance). We unboarded the bus- a little weary about what was going to happen once we did as we’ve all heard stories of tourists being taken advantage of at road blocks, however this was a very easy and pleasant border crossing. We walked in the door in Zimbabwe, through the wooden hut single file, paying our fee for the Visa and then walked out the other side into Botswana. Before we were able to board the bus which was going to take us the rest of the way, we all had to walk through some sort of chemical to make sure there were no invasive species stuck to the bottoms of our shoes. We watched as the bus drove through the same liquid, hoping it wasn’t going to disintegrate the bottoms of our shoes or the tires on the bus before we got to our destination!
We boarded the bus, which took us another few hours up the road into Botswana where we were dropped off at the entrance to Chobe National Park. We were then picked up in a Jeep from a representative of the lodge we’d be staying at. We bounced up the dirt road inside the park for a solid 45 minutes – seeing Kudu, monkeys, warthogs and other incredible wildlife along the way until we pulled through a gated area into our resort. The porters grabbed our luggage as we made our way inside where we were welcomed with delicious and beautiful drinks resembling an African sunset. We made our way down to the balcony, which overlooks the wildlife watering hole and sat in awe, taking in our surroundings. Words simply cannot describe what an incredible feeling it was to be here in this place and time, looking out into these sacred lands full of animals I’ve only ever seen in books and on TV.
The next 4 days were spent going on safari around Chobe National Park. During this time I saw every animal you’d expect to see when you think of “Africa” with the exception of a Rhinoceros as these are typically in regions South of Chobe. I saw everything from a 2(ish) month old elephant to 12 foot long river crocodiles, giraffes awkwardly bending over to drink water to a lion king sunning himself after a full meal of someone lower on the foot chain. II saw troops of monkeys, dazzles of zebras, pods of hippos, towers of giraffes, cackles of hyena’s.. literally everything and more I had ever hoped and imagined to see: I saw during my time in Botswana and I’m forever grateful for this experience. Of all the places on earth I want to take my children – this is at the top of that list. I’m very much looking forward to them being a few years older and brining them back to this spot to live it for themselves and to make their own memories.
Thank you for the incredible experience, Botswana.