May 31 student reflection: Danielle

Today was truly an experience of a lifetime. We were given a remarkable opportunity to visit Chobe National Park in Botswana. At the park, we went on a safari boat cruise on the Chobe River and a safari jeep ride through the park. For an animal lover, such as myself, this trip was like a dream come true.

We started the day off, once again, bright and early at 7:30am. We didn’t mind getting up early this morning because we knew what was awaiting us. The first mission we embarked on was the safari boat cruise on the Chobe River, which is the fourth largest river in Africa. Before we set off we met our boat driver, “Captain O” who was one of the best tour guides we have had so far on our trip.

Boat cruise on the Chobe River in Botswana

Boat cruise on the Chobe River in Botswana

As we began our cruise, the first thing that I noticed was the breath-taking landscape. This is the first time I really began to appreciate Africa’s untouched countryside. The first animal that we came across on our tour was the impala. Even though it was one of the most common animals to see in the park, I never got tired of its beauty and innocence. Next we began to see crocodiles of all sizes and Captain O informed us that they can grow as old as fifty years old. Let’s be honest, I wasn’t too thrilled to see this animal, but I admit it was pretty thrilling to see it in person. We then started to see glimpses of hippos in the water, which Captian O humored us by calling them “sausages”. I learned that hippos are actually terrible swimmers so normally they stay in shallow water and walk along the bottom. After seeing many glimpses of hippos we saw several African Cape Buffalo on the shore. The most exciting thing by far we saw on our boat cruise were, of course, the elephants. Captain O was brave enough drive up and slowly park our boat on shore right next to the elephants so that we could get a close encounter. I am at a loss at words to explain how amazing it was to be among these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. We spent a good thirty minutes observing these creatures and getting some amazing footage of them. But this was just the beginning…

Lots of elephants...

Lots of elephants…

After a delicious lunch buffet at the Chobe Lodge it was then time to embark on our next mission, the jeep ride. This has been something I have always dreamed of doing ever since I was little, so you can only imagine how excited I was. Our team split into two different jeeps and then we were off. For this ride, we were informed that we all had to use hush voices so that we wouldn’t scare off the animals. After seeing many more impalas up close and personal, the first new animals we saw were the warthogs. These animals were very amusing because in order for them to eat, they have to kneel down to eat the grass because their necks are so short. We then saw many more Buffalo and their adorable babies. The next new animals that we saw were the giraffes. We learned that the colors of the giraffes actually represent their age. The spots on the giraffe start off very light and get darker as they get older. Our tour guide, Daniel, was very determined to find some lions for us to see so he began taking us to possible locations of where they could be hiding. We were lucky enough to see the carcass of a buffalo the lions had killed that very morning.

Buffalo carcass - but no lions in sight...

Buffalo carcass – but no lions in sight…

After about thirty of minutes of intense searching for the lions we decided to give up; luck was not on our side that day. However, little did we know the next best thing was about to happen. As we were driving back, elephants began coming up from the river and were crossing our path. At one point, about twenty elephants surrounded us. They came so close up to our jeep that I could reach out and touch them if I wanted to. That was probably the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. You could say that the safari was definitely a success and something that be one for the books.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. sibks
    Jun 01, 2015 @ 18:01:26

    I just read this post and loved hearing about the animals. It sounds like a fantastic experience. I did not know any of that~crocodiles living till 50 or warthogs kneeling or that giraffe spots tell us something! And the elephants getting so close to the jeep~wow! Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us!

    Sent from my iPad



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