Admittedly, this might not be worth mentioning. But with all these incredible sightings and encounters of Botswana’s giants, I wanted to combine them at the Okavango Delta.
Even in long-lasting history, it is believed that elephants and Baobab trees have a subconscious connection. Similarities are obvious and make common sense.
However, not all Baobab trees encounter a peaceful connection with elephants.
Kasane is the gateway for northern Chobe National Park, but there are a few things worth discovering outside the National Park.
At the police station stands a huge and historic Baobab tree.
This one was indeed used to hold prisoners in early days and was the post office at the same time. Prisoners and Mail were collected and transported on the same truck.
The CARACAL World of Wildlife lies on the airport road, just outside of Kasane. This small wildlife centre has to main objectives. One is to help and care for injured smaller wildlife around northern Chobe National Park. Once able to fend for themselves again, they will be released back into the wild.
If injuries are permanent, they will be cared for the rest of their life. With growing human interaction and general growth, all animals can use all the help they can get. Secondly, CARACAL World of Wildlife acts as an educational centre.
Old Voodoo believes about owls and witchcraft are explained scientifically.
This is a major issue on traditional tribal believes.
They have a large variety of venomous and non-venomous snakes. Like anywhere around the world, snakes are feared immensely. The highly venomous black Mamba, various Cobra, and Adder species should be treated with respect. More importantly is to know their habitat and behaviour, and therefore trying to avoid confrontations. Puff Adders are sluggish and hide in the sand without moving away. Black Mambas have poor eyesight and can raise half their body length vertically. Growing 4 meters plus, they would look down on most humans. They prefer the open savanna and are seldom seen.
Most snakes in urban areas are actually non or lightly venomous snakes and are often confused with their dangerous counterparts. These snakes hunt nesting rodents in housing and actually help to limit or even eradicate numbers.
CARACAL Wildlife centre is volunteer-based and depends largely on donations. An impressive human touch caring for its flora and fauna educationally. A great cause.
Overlooking the Chobe Plains, Okavango Delta, Botswana
Passing the little community of ‘Mabele’ numerous times before, I was fascinated by its location. To the west lies the vastness of the Chobe River Plains. Zebras grazing with cattle, while hippos inhabit the waterways. To the east of the township is a higher elevated escarpment, overlooking the Okavango Delta towards sunset.
But most intriguingly, there was evidence of my two favourite Botswana giants. Large Baobab trees lined the rim and all around the floodplains.
This alone is one of my favourite sunset settings. There was a lot of obvious proof for elephant activity and I was hoping for an elephant, Baobab and sunset photo shoot. A small, just wide enough track lead up this elevated area, lined with elephant footprints and piles off shite. No other tyre tracks are seen, this is a remote spot just of the connecting busy road.
Right at the edge stood an impressive Baobab tree, which I spotted from down below. This one was an elephant scrub and tusk sharpening Baobab it appeared. Unless oversized Beavers were trying to bring this Baobab down. Amazingly, this tree was used in exactly the same way all around. What I mean is that elephants know that if they used only one side, the tree would eventually fall. Fascinating.
I parked Zimba in a halfway shady spot and hoped for elephants to pass by on their way to the Chobe River. Unfortunately, that never happened.
I was happy enough to watch the sun sink lower and lower over the floodplains. This is a truly tranquil camp spot with an outstanding view.
The sun reflected over the Chobe River like a vein of life. That is exactly what this river is.
Being higher elevated, I could see the sun setting for longer.
The colours of the sun at its lowest point are just incredible.
The quarter moon was high in the sky as the last sun rays faded in blue skies.
I collected some firewood and set up camp. Knowing this spot is a busy wildlife corridor made this camp somewhat exciting. The fire was on, the stars were out and I was contemplating on a few night shots. I wasn’t that game moving in pitch black darkness without the shelter of Zimba.
For good reasons. It wasn’t long when I heard tree branch cracking sounds not far away at all. Even though expected sooner or later, this sound is heart pumping. I knew in what position I was in, but clearly hoped and depended on the elephant’s gentle nature. Shining my torch towards the crackling sounds, a small herd of elephants passed less than 50 meters from me. They knew I was there and avoided my area. Looking in their staring eyes, they were just as anxious as me. They passed calmly shortly after.
Then there was a digging sound behind me. A Honey Badger made his round around Zimba. A short while later, another herd of elephants passed behind me. Wow, this sound and knowing that the largest land mammal is right behind you without estimating numbers and behaviour is amazing. Exciting is an understatement. I loaded the fireplace with more bone-dry wood and went to bed. Hearing more and more crackling sounds and gentle warning sound from an elephant right next to Zimba, I just laid still in bed. I fell asleep shortly after. Even though I couldn’t combine Botswana’s giants photographically, it was the perfect ending on my adventures here in Botswana. Just mind-blowing.