Overseas Adventure Travel
Ultimate Africa Tour Review
July 19 through Aug 9, 2022


Due to the length of the review, it is in six parts to help with the download time. The links to the other pages are at the top and bottom of each page. 

Page 1:  Fly to Johannesburg; Karongwe Game Reserve, South Africa; Hwange NP, Zimbabwe
Page 2:  Hwange NP, Zimbabwe; Kafue NP, Zambia
Page 3:  Kafue NP, Zambia; Chobe NP, Botswana
Page 4:  Chobe NP, Botswana; Okavango Delta, Botswana
Page 5: 
Okavango Delta, Botswana; Bwabwata NP, Namibia; Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Page 6:  Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe; Return home


Day 14 - Chobe National Park, Botswana

In the morning it was 58 degrees, much warmer than the other camps.  It felt great.  I took some photos of the view from our balcony.  I was pleased to have two baobab trees within view.  This was the nicest one.  I guess this is why the camp was called Baobab Camp.

We had a 7:00 AM game drive. Once again Ledi was our guide.  We stopped at the park entrance gate while Ledi completed the paperwork for us.

We would be driving on the sandy bumpy road again.  This is what it looked like.  It shows all the bumps very well.

We saw some kudus in the bush.  I liked their pretty faces.

Further down the road, we had a special treat.  A family of chacma baboons were close to the road.  I liked their serious expressions.

It was so much fun to watch the young one’s play. 

A mother was nursing her baby.

We headed down the hill toward the river basin.  Mr. V had explained to us that the basin was called no man’s land.  This is because it is a river during the rainy season and the country borders are assumed to be along the riverbanks.

The first thing we saw were some guinea fowl. I was thrilled to see these beautiful birds.  While in Chobe, we would see so many, it became a joke when we would see one and point it out to everyone as though it was a new species we were seeing.


We came up to a group of giraffes.  We were able to get very close to them as they were eating.

I took so many close-up photos to get one showing their long eyelashes.  I finally did.

One of the giraffes was pregnant.

In the treetops were a couple of tawny eagles.

Unlike in the other parks we visited, Chobe had lots of guests visiting in their own or rented 4-wheel drive vehicles.  It was a different experience.

We stopped at a relatively young baobab tree.  Ledi showed us the destruction that elephants do to them.  Elephants use their tusks to peel off bark, since it has moisture and nutrition in it.  If they peel off enough, it will kill the tree.

We came upon another group of baboons along the road.  There were some young ones having a great time playing with each other.  It looked like they were playing king of the hill with them pulling the other’s tails.

One mother was nursing a very young baby.

We could see the baboon’s sharp teeth when he had a big yawn.

We saw a red-billed spur fowl with chicks close to the road.

A pretty good distance away from us were some spur winged geese. 

After driving around for a while, we came to another group of giraffes.  A young one was fighting with a bigger one.  I thought that I took a video of it, but it wasn’t on my iPhone, so I somehow didn’t take it.  At least I got some photos of the fight.


After they were fighting for several minutes, an older giraffe got between the two.  It looked like mom was breaking up a fight between her two kids.  They stopped fighting.

We were always excited when we saw a warthog.  It had been challenging getting good photos of them.  This one was no exception.  They are very quick. 

We saw a pretty tree that still had all its leaves.  Ledi called it a monkey orange tree, but when I looked it up, the ones I saw weren’t that pretty.

We saw a lilac breasted runner on the ground, I tried to get a photo of it when flying and failed again.   I took a photo of a bird that I don’t know what it was.  The markings were just gorgeous.


We got back from the drive around 11:00 AM.  After lunch we had some quiet time before an activity for some R&R. 

At 2:30 PM, we had a basket making presentation.  These ladies were very talented and made some beautiful baskets.  One of them told us how they make them and then gave us a chance to put in a stitch.  I could never have the patience to make one of these.  She asked us if we knew where the different dies came from that she used for her baskets.  We would guess and then she would tell us the correct answer.  The one that blew my mind was when she asked what she used for blue dye.  The answer was carbon paper.  It wasn’t the natural ingredient we were expecting to hear.  I didn’t even know that people used carbon paper anymore.  We enjoyed learning about the process.


At 4:00 PM we went on our second Chobe afternoon game drive. Chobe was much warmer than the other parks.  It was 87 degrees, but it felt great with the low humidity.  Our first sighting was a red-billed hornbill that was close to the road.

Not far along was a greater blue starling.  A beautiful bird, but he was a good distance from the truck.  I was just glad that I had the opportunity to see it and at least get an adequate photo to show its beauty. 

As we got closer to no man’s land, we were seeing fishermen from Namibia.  We would see a lot of them.

We saw a fish eagle in the tree, but this wasn’t the normal sighting.  He had captured a fish and flew away with it.

We stopped once again to get a photo of the lilac breasted roller.  As much as we tried to get it to fly so we could see its wings, it wouldn’t move.

We saw a lot more wildlife, but nothing worth putting in the review.  As we were driving around, we saw some jackals out in no man’s zone.  We heard them howling with some of the pack further away.  It was fascinating to hear them communicating.  They were very far away, but I was at least able to get a photo of the jackals howling.

On the way back to the lodge, we saw a safari truck stopped in the road.  As we got closer, we saw that a monitor lizard was on the ground.  I hurried to take some shots before it disappeared into a log.  I was so glad, since I had been missing seeing or getting shots of a monitor lizard on several occasions.


When we got back on the highway, Ledi turned the truck around because he saw a couple ground hornbills crossing the road.  He told us that they don’t see them much anymore and that they are an endangered species.  A pair only has chicks every nine years.  That alone is a problem for growing the population.  They do live up to 70 years, but they are not well-liked birds in some areas.  They are thought to bring bad luck and death by some cultures, so they are frequently killed.  Even though they aren’t particularly pretty birds, we were lucky to see them.

When we got back to the lodge, we were having an absolutely gorgeous sunset.

As it got later and the sky’s color changed, Jody told us that she wanted to take a photo of us, since the sky looked so pretty.  The photo she took looks as though we are standing in front of a fake background scene as they do on cruise ships.  It was the real thing.  Thank you so much for this most special photo, Jody.


Day 15 - Chobe National Park

After a great night’s sleep on the very comfortable beds, we did the normal routing of walking to the lodge for breakfast and boarding a truck for our 7:00 AM morning game drive.  We changed guides for the day’s drives.  Six would be showing us around.  After driving some into the park we saw a small black bird called the drumbo.

A large group of impalas were close by.  This park was so rich in wildlife.

As we were continuing our ride, Six suddenly stopped the truck and pointed out a large bird that was walking in the distance.  He told us that it was a rarely seen ground eagle.  It was quite impressive as it strode along at a good pace.  While writing this review, I couldn’t find any information about a ground eagle, but in researching African birds, I found that this was actually named the secretary bird.  It is an endangered species and we were very lucky to see one.  I couldn’t tell how tall it was from a distance, but knew it was tall.  They are over 4 feet tall.  That is a big bird.

Continuing our drive, we were seeing many guinea fowl and impala, as well as the secretary bird proudly walking along in the distance for some time.   Six pointed out three baobab trees in the distance that were referred to as the three brothers. 

Nearby a fish eagle was on a branch that was relatively close to us for decent photos.

Out in the river, we saw a fisherman in a small boat.  He was a Namibian fisherman who had been setting nets.  We would relate to his mode of transportation much more in a few days.

We saw a large group of white pelicans that also appeared to be in a synchronized swimming event.

As we were driving around on the dirt roads, we saw a group of giraffes moving very fast toward us.  We wondered if there was a large predator in the area.  After the giraffes stopped to graze on the other side of the road, we saw the predators that had scared them, two soldiers with weapons.   Six told us that we could not take their pictures.  They protect the park from poachers.  Six told us that the wildlife isn’t concerned about people in a truck, since they just see it as a single big object.  They see humans on foot as a threat.

We drove down to the edge of the Chobe River.  Although not that far across during the winter, we would be under water where we were parked during the rainy season.

I was able to take a closer up photo of a yellow-billed stork.  I hadn’t realized that they had some pink in their plumage.

I was intrigued by this tree’s twisted branches.  They looked like trees that belonged around a haunted house.

Once again I was impressed how many different types of wildlife were sharing the no man’s land river bottom area.  Namibian farmers even put their cows there to graze.  It seemed like a bad choice of places with lions and other predators around.  We asked if lions would cross the water to get to the cows.  Six said “absolutely”.  He had seen them do it.

That morning it was very windy.  With us being in the Kalahari Desert, the wind was blowing the sand in some areas.  Six told us that August is their windy month.  I guess that we had been lucky not to have experienced it on other drives.

We saw a saddle-billed stork walking through the grass.  These storks are on the endangered species list in South Africa.

With there being a river close by, there were also plenty of crocodiles.

As we were searching for our next viewing, Six saw some elephants moving on a path that would eventually cross the road.  He sped up the truck passing by the elephants and stopped.  We wondered why did he pick the particular spot, since the elephants were behind us.  He knew better.  It wasn’t long before the elephants crossed the road right in front of us, uncomfortably close.  Quite a thrill!


After the first group passed by, one bringing up the rear came close by to check us out.

This area also had so many giraffes.  We saw so many groups of them.We were surprised to see one sitting on the ground.   The zebras weren’t paying any attention to it.

Six stopped the truck right under a branch with a lilac breasted roller.  With it being so close, I had to take a photo.  I’m glad I did because it was a good one.

We came upon a warthog that was on its knees digging into the ground for food.  I didn’t realize that they had such a large mane of long hair.

He got into a staring contest with Cathy for a short time before heading into the bush.  It also allowed us to see its tusks.

This area of the park was different from where we had previously been.  There were pods of vegetation spread out across the sand.

Six said that it is an area where leopards like to hide in the shrub waiting for a victim.  I could see how that would be a good game plan as two giraffes came sauntering by.  It would be very easy to surprise a victim.

A kori bustard was walking alongside the road.  They are a strange looking breed.

All during our visit to Africa, I was surprised to see so many large termite mounds.  They seemed to be everywhere.  In addition to the termites being a food source for some animals, the mounds themselves are used for getting higher views for sentry’s and homes or hiding places for others.

We stopped at a pond to observe a large group of hippos.  They are fun to watch when they are not mostly submerged in the water.


Two of them were having a skirmish fighting with open mouths.  It kind of looked like a shouting contest.  One of them bit the other in the butt.  I guess he won.


We passed by the Chobe Princess III.  Six told us that it is a 5-star safari cruise boat.  I looked it up to check the price and it is $600 US per night per person for double occupancy. 

With it being lunchtime, we pulled into the Serondela Picnic Site.  There were other visitors there also having lunch.  It was nice to have tables to set out the food and eat at.

After lunch we stopped to see the grave of William Lamont and the remains of his small home.  He was born in 1884 and lived in the home until his death in 1974 at 90 years old.  He was the last resident of the area encompassed by Chobe National Park that was established in 1967.


We then came to an area with so many elephants.  We were in the middle of different families.  They were so close to us, as you can see of a different group’s truck below.


I took the below video of a family that was going down to the water for a drink.  Mama wasn’t really sure about us and kept an eye on us.  She stopped for a bit and then decided it was safe for the kids to continue their walk.  We were glad she didn’t find us to be a threat.



We watched other groups just walk by us, but this one mother didn’t appreciate us being there.  She came very close making aggressive sounds, so we quickly left the scene.

Our other truck with Ledi driving had a more serious confrontation with an elephant when they were charged by one.  There was another truck in front of them where they couldn’t speed away until they moved.  They had a story to tell about that experience.

It always surprised us how the guides could spot an animal in the brush while driving quickly by.  Six saw this cape buffalo sitting down in the shade.  They are one of the Big 5 because their horns are prized possessions. 

I was able to get a relatively close up photo of two saddle-billed storks.  They are pretty birds.

We came upon another solo warthog who was quite close to us, so the photos show bristly hair on its body as well as its tusks that can grow from 10 – 25 inches.


We came upon another family of baboons.  I couldn’t resist putting in a photo of the cute baby with its parents.

It was so nice to look out and see so many different animal species grazing together in the same area.


We came upon some kudos with beautiful large horns.  I couldn't resist putting their photos in the review.  I hated that the face was obstructed by bushes, but I had to include it to show the magnificent horns.


Just before we were ending our almost full day game drive, Six asked us if there were any animals we hadn’t seen that we had hoped to see.  Marianne said that she loved sables and was hoping to see one.  Not five minutes later, Six stopped the truck and pointed far away into the trees.  He asked if we could see the sables.  Talk about timing!  They were far away and the photos don’t do the beautiful animals justice, but I was glad to see them.


When we were back on the highway, Six slowed down the truck and stopped.  He told us to look over the side of the truck where a black mamba snake had been run over.  I chose not to take a photo of it.  I did prefer to see it that way rather than while we were walking around.

When we returned to the camp, we went back to our cabin.  We saw evidence that a baboon had been on our balcony.  We were glad he hadn’t done any damage.  When we went to the lodge later, Mr. V confirmed that the fecal evidence was indeed from a baboon.

While at the lodge, I took one of my favorite photos of the trip.  This was the view looking down to the river from the lodge balcony as the sun was getting ready to set.

That afternoon we had a controversial topic discussion led by Nedi regarding Botswana’s shoot to kill policy.  The law permits the park police to shoot to kill any poachers that are in the national parks.  This has caused issues between Namibia and Botswana, since they share the Chobe River as a border and Namibian poachers have been killed in the park.  This is quite a controversial topic in that part of Africa.  There are so many sides to it.  The policy came to be because the security forces were being killed by the poachers who were trying to stop them.  If the police shot to defend themselves, they could have been tried for murder.  By establishing the policy, the police were able to stop the poachers even before they shot at them.  We wondered what if someone was just walking through the park and got shot.  We were told that no one is supposed to be in the park after dark.  That is part of the reason they are so careful about people entering and leaving.  If someone enters the park in an unmonitored area, it is probably for poaching.  Everyone that lives anywhere near one of the national parks is aware of the consequences for being in the park.

It is difficult to justify killing a person that is poaching, but it is a matter of protecting the security forces.  Also, poaching must be controlled, or the very important tourist industry could go away from Botswana.  Someone mentioned that the security forces should use stun guns rather than bullets.  It does sound like a reasonable thing to do, but I sure wouldn’t want to be in a jungle at night with just a stun gun that goes maybe 20 feet protecting myself from a poacher with an elephant gun.  It is a very difficult subject.  Unfortunately, there is no right answer to stop poaching.  The policy has helped to reduce poaching but not stop it.

At 6:15 PM we went to an area of the camp where we hadn’t been before.  It was a large open sandy area with a pit.  Chairs and tables were set up in a semicircle around the fire.  We were told that this type area is called a boma.  It is a meeting place in African villages, where important decisions are made and other group activities.  We were there for dinner and entertainment.

It got to be very dark, so it was difficult to take any photos.  Our first course was a delicious, sweet corn soup which we were told to eat by sopping it with a roll.  The traditional method is to sop it up with polenta.  I liked the roll better.  We were told that we were welcome to eat the rest of our meal with our fingers like they do, but they also provided utensils for us.

After dinner, the staff came out to perform several songs and dances for us.  I was surprised at how many people they had on the staff to support our small group.  There were over 20 people.  We did take up almost all their cabins.  This camp and the previous two were OAT exclusive camps, so they never have more than 16 guests.  I guess this is why they were able to take such good care of us.  The performers who were dancing really got into it.  They got a very good workout that night.  The show was around fifteen minutes with several different songs.

This was a farewell dinner since we would be heading to another camp the next day.  We had thoroughly enjoyed this camp and would have happily spent more time there.  After dinner, we headed back to our cabin to do our packing routine, which we had become very familiar with.  Every time it got easier.


Day 16 - Fly to the Okavango Delta

This was the day that we would be traveling to the south of Botswana where the country’s other area with rivers is at, the Okavango Delta.  The delta covers an area of up to 5,800 square miles.  It was once part of a lake that dried up over 12,000 years ago.  I had seen TV shows showing the delta, but had no idea what we would see in the part we would be visiting.  We met at the bus loading area where several of the staff members were waiting for us.  As we entered the bus they began singing songs to us.  We appreciated the songs.

As we were driving down the park highway, some elephants crossed the road.  Welcome to Africa!

It took about an hour to arrive at the Kasane airport.  A nice modern facility for this small town.


Since we had well over an hour before our flight, Cathy and I took advantage of our Priority Pass membership again.  Surprisingly, this airport had a very nice lounge where we could use our card.  It was much more comfortable than the hard seats in the main waiting area.


For this flight we were in a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan private plane.  It had the same 12 seat arrangement as the Beechcraft Caravel.  I wouldn’t have known it was different plane if the safety info didn’t say it.  During the hour and 25-minute flight, we were able to look down on Botswana’s different landscapes.  Our destination, Shakawe, was a bigger town than I had expected.


The Shakawe airport terminal was rather small, but the airport had a blacktop runway, unlike others we had used.

The safari trucks waiting for us were slightly different than we had had at the other camps.  The front row had a large ice chest where a ninth seat had normally been.  It didn’t cause a problem because the trucks were never full, but it did make those seats less desirable.  These trucks also had enclosed cabs which meant that the front view was restricted.  Additionally, each truck had spare tires behind the rear row, which restricted viewing.  I was a bit concerned about the viewing possibilities with these trucks but would soon find out that we wouldn’t be doing that much viewing in them.


Shakawi was a bigger town than I had expected.  Mr. V said a few thousand people live there.  Once we left the main business area we got onto the highway.  It really shouldn’t be considered a highway, since the road had so many deep potholes, driving on it was terribly slow.  The road had been narrowed by people driving on the sides to avoid the potholes.


It was actually kind of funny to watch people swerving all over the roads and driving on the wrong side and/or dirt sides.  We were pleased to arrive at the gate of our camp, the Shakawe River Lodge.  The entrance looked nice and welcome drinks were waiting for us. 


As we walked into the lobby with a hippo skull decoration, we were pleased that we were in another very nice facility for three nights.


I had been concerned about this camp after reading some bad reviews about it needing a lot of maintenance.  What we were seeing looked new, so I was quite happy.





This location was totally different from any of the previous camps.  It was on a river and the surroundings reminded of a Louisiana bayou.  It sure didn’t feel like we were at a 3,200 ft elevation.


We met our guides Moss and Nine.  There was a discussion about us having Six at the previous camp and we wondered where Seven and Eight were.  Nine said that they were eaten by lions.

Moss                                          Nine

The camp manager was Steve.  He was quite a character.  We would learn a lot about him while at the bar in evenings.  His family came to Africa from Europe in 1654. That isn’t a typo.  That’s long ago.  He came to this camp in March.  As the reviews had said, he confirmed that the camp needed a lot of work on the facilities and the staff.  The prior owners/managers weren’t team motivators and the place was dying.  Steve and his backers turned it around in four months.  He was able to get everyone to pitch in and get everything looking like new.  He had done a great job and the employees there seemed very happy with the changes and Steve’s management style.  He was also probably the hardest working person at the camp.  He seemed to do everything.  He was a good guy.

When we arrived at our cabin, we were blown away with how nice it was.  The room was even decorated with artwork.  Most appreciated was the air conditioning.  This area would get into the upper 80’s in the daytime and mid-50’s at night, so we were thrilled. 




Our charging station had G, M and 2 US/European plugs. 

I really liked the painting over the bed of a crocodile with guinea hens in a marsh.  The hens are hard to see in the photo, but very obvious in the real painting.

We had a partial view of the river from our balcony.

The bathroom was also very nice.  We were going to enjoy this camp.


After going back to the lodge, we looked around the grounds some more.  We appreciated the warning signs.

A long boat went cruising buy with a group of women on it.  We were told that they were workers going home on a taxi type boat.  We would understand where they were coming from soon enough.

On the grounds was a bench made from the same type of boat we had just seen the ladies in.

We were going to have our first excursion on a motorboat. This would be an interesting type of game drive.  At the dock there was a large boat and two smaller boats.  Our group was broken into two and we used the smaller ones.  We were pleased that the seats had backs, since the boat we used on the Chobe River didn’t. 


The first bird we saw was what Nine told us was a heartthrob warbler.  There is no such bird named that in anything I could find online, but the barred wren warbler looks like the photo I took.

A little further upriver, we saw where the ladies in the boat were coming from.  They were cutting down and bundling up the common reed that is used for construction and other purposes.  As we were taking photos, one of the women was yelling at Nine in an African dialect.  The bottom line was she did not want us taking photos, and Nine was in trouble because she was his older cousin.  He said she would get over it.


The area was covered with papyrus and the common reed.   What appeared to plants on land was really just a large floating island of plants.  The papyrus is photogenic, but they don’t use it for anything.

The common reed is what was being harvested is an invasive species but is useful.  In addition to construction, it also can be used for medicinal purposes.

While admiring the endless fields, we saw a baby croc in the reeds.  We would be seeing plenty of his older relatives.

We came to bird homes that were familiar to us.  These were the mud holes used by bee-eaters, but these were carmine bee-eaters.  Once again, we were enjoying watching them fly all around. 



This ride would mostly be focused on bird life.  We didn’t expect to see antelope, giraffes, elephants or zebras in the water.  The next bird we saw was the hamerkop.

The next one running along the shore was what Nine called the Jesus bird, because it appeared to walk on water.  They walk on the water lilies and other growth.  The real name is African jacana.  Close by it was a water thick-knee bird.  There was so much bird life in this area.


Nearby I was able to get a nice profile photo of a fish eagle.

We then came into an area with some water lilies. 

We also saw some water chestnuts.  We were told that they purify the water.  I had read that the water in the Okavango was very clear.  The water chestnuts were a good reason for this.  The water we were seeing didn’t look that clear.  When Nine put in a clear bottle to collect the water, we were shocked that it looked just like water out of our tap at home. 

There were lots of crocodiles on the water’s edge.  They had very big teeth.

 I also liked their beautiful skin.  I can see why they are popular for belts and other items.

Nine then pointed out an African hawk carrier bird.  These are a member of the raptor family.  It looked more like a pigeon to me.

We continued riding along the river.  It was a lovely area to cruise through.


We next saw a pied kingfisher.  Nine had pointed it out previously hovering over the river before diving in for a fish.  This was the first time I could get a decent photo of it.

We then pulled next to the other boat and connected for our sundowner.  A different one, but most enjoyable.  Since everyone in the group had become great friends, we chatted and laughed most of the time.  We were enjoying this different type of sundowner.

We had a pretty sundown, but not as pretty as some other camps, but it was still gorgeous. 

As we were heading back to camp 20 minutes later, the sky lit up.  With the reflection in the water, it made it very special.

We only had two more sundowns in the wilderness before we headed for the civilization in Victoria Falls.  We would miss the sundown’s; and after leaving Africa, our new friends.




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