A 90 minute coach ride took us from Victoria Falls into Botswana and to Chobe. Chobe is the name of the Game Reserve and the river which later down its route becomes the Zambezi. Our hotel was on the bank of the river.
We arrived around midday and spent the afternoon relaxing roun the pool for the following morning we were up at 6 for our first game drive. This was a little disappointing for the lack of animals, but we did see a couple of lions, a giraffe plenty of impala and numerous unusual birds the names of which I’ve forgotten!
The afternoon cruise dow n the river made up for it though. Our boat was again small which just our group on it. First of all we saw a large crocodile resting on the riverbank. This was the first of many and because we were in a small boat we were able to get up really close to them. They did not move a muscle. We then came across around 30+ elephants of varying sizes. They walking by the river towards us and would cool themselves down by coming into the river and splashing around an extraordinary sight. We then came across hippopotamus both in the water and out. They are huge and definitely not a good idea to get too close.
The following day we went for a third final outing in Chobe and this time we were very fortunate to see a pride of 7 or 8 lions walking through the bush. Our guide advised that they looked hungry and had probably not eaten for a week. On this drive we also saw sable antelope which apparently is quite unusual so we were very lucky.
We are having so many laughs with the rest of the group. The four Yorkshire ladies are great and keep us all amused.
On Sunday we left Chobe to return to Victoria Falls and board the Rovos Rail train which will take us down to Pretoria over the next 3 days. Rovos brand themselves as the most luxurious train in the world and you can understand why. There were only 48 passengers but it can take up to 72. There are 19 coaches including 2 dining cars, 2 lounges one of which is an observation coach at the back of the train. The food and service is exceptional. The views from the train through Zimbabwe were a bit dull and it is clear to see the country has been run down by the Mugabe regime.
On our first morning we were up at 5 for a game drive at Hwange and were incredibly lucky to see a pair of cheetahs almost posing for us to take photos we then saw a pride of 3 lions including a male with a fine mane. The lions had recently caught a zebra and were happily feeding . Lurking about a hundred yards away was a jackal waiting for any leftovers.
For dining in the evening smart dress is required. Jacket and tie being the minimum requirement for men. After dinner our lively group provided the entertainment for the other passengers by persuading the staff to turn the music up so we could dance in the lounge. Hilarious and great fun.
We arrived into Pretoria this morning, Wednesday, and were met personally by the trains’owner who gave us a guided tour of the workshop and a potted history of the company - all very impressive.
Our Saga guide was also at the station to take us on to our hotel in Johannesburg and en route we had a brief tour of Pretoria.
Tomorrow we are faced with an 8 hour coach journey to our next stop, Iswandla where we will hear about the Boer War.