Chobe National Park – Botswana
After over a week of packed schedules full of beneficiary visits, long ride days and activities, our Bike Zambia riders finally found themselves with one full day with nothing planned. The next day, the first of our riders would be leaving (early) for the states and our group would never find themselves together, like this, again. Rather than spend the day relaxing, sleeping or packing, we all decided to go on safari together.
Chobe National Park is in Botswana, and requires that visitors from Zambia pass through two border stations on the way there, and the same two on the way back. Luckily for us, this happens all day long, every single day. The lines may be long, but they move quickly. Just after we’d left our friendly driver George on the Zambian side of the fence, we got our exit stamps and headed for the riverbed. A small boat took us across the river that separates Zambia from Botswana and a van picked us up and took us to the next boarder station. A quick entry stamp and a stomp on the “anti-foot & mouth disease” pad and we were back in the van speeding for the cafe that serves coffee and pastries in the morning and fed us lunch as well. Some of us shopped in the tiny gift shop, others simply sipped coffee while waiting for our safari to begin. The most diligent of us took the time to write “Thank You” postcards to the many people who have supported our fundraising efforts on our way to Zambia.
After coffee we were treated to a river cruise where we learned about hippos, warthogs, monitor lizards, elephants and shoebills.
Crocodiles lounged in the sun
and swallows zipped around our boat as we puttered around.
Rumor has it these cute little guys live under the boats themselves and follow them as they make their way around the river so as not to lose their homes.
Even the mighty fish eagle, the Chembe of Zambia’s flag made an appearance.
After lunch it was into safari trucks to find close up views of elephants, giraffes, kudu, antelope, monkeys, and anything else we could find braving the African noontime sun.
All too soon we were repeating our morning backward, passport stamps, river boat ride, passport stamps and it was back into the car with George and off to our last family dinner. Our trip was too short, and our time together filled with too many adventures to process, but none of us will ever forget this time or each other. The opportunity to effect major change is not one most people are given. We took ours and together we built memories and relationships that will last us a lifetime.