Last year – October 16 to be exact – I (un)officially became the luckiest person I know.
Why, you might ask? This is why:
Yep, I was the lucky winner of the epic #ThisIsChobe live twitter safari campaign for 2014 and scored myself a 7 night luxury safari in Chobe National Park and return flights from Johannesburg to Kasane for two (yes, my husband was excited too!).
The campaign, run by the talented Stuart from Capturing Africa Journeys and James from Chobe Game Lodge along with all the very generous participating companies, was an epic event in itself. From dawn until dusk (Botswana time) people around the world were treated to a virtual safari of Chobe while participating in fun Q & A’s throughout the course of the day. I had so much fun participating in the twitter safari that winning the prize was just an added (albeit a life changing one) bonus!
The prize itinerary went like this:
2 nights at Chobe Elephant Camp
3 nights at Chobe Game Lodge
A photo safari on the Chobe River with Pangolin Photo Safaris
2 nights at Savute Safari Lodge
And more mouth-gaping wildlife encounters than I could have ever hoped for!
Each of the lodges was just stunning, and the staff more than welcoming. The knowledge of the safari guides was unbelievable and their passion for Botswana and its wildlife contagious. The Pangolin Photo Safaris tour was an incredible afternoon spent marvelling at, and photographing, wildlife and enjoying the peaceful experience that is floating down the Chobe River.
I cannot even put into words how amazing Chobe is. It truly is a destination you have to visit in person to really understand the magic that emanates from this part of the world. The amount of wildlife – particularly elephants – in and around the park is astounding, though not surprising when you learn how dedicated Botswana is to preserving this unique sanctuary. As if you can’t already tell, I’m besotted.
While in Chobe National Park I had more exceptional experiences, and created more surreal memories, than I can count.
Here are a few of my absolute favourites from the trip:
Favourite animal: Elephant
Favourite experience: Having morning tea on the banks of Chobe River while watching a herd of elephants bathe and play a few hundred metres away
Favourite out-of-the-ordinary experience: Clearing the runway of wildebeest for a flight that was about to land in Savute
Favourite surprise: A private candlelit dinner at Chobe Game Lodge
Favourite guide: Mike from Chobe Elephant Camp. Seriously, that guy knows everything!
Favourite photograph from the trip: Really hard choice, but if I have to choose it would be my shot of a lion cub resting in a tree in Savute
Favourite animal encounter: Watching a pride of lions hunt impala (unsuccessfully….)
Favourite view: Elephants on the Chobe River from the deck at Chobe Game Lodge
Favourite staff at the lodges: Bee, our waitress and all around beautiful person, at Chobe Game Lodge
Favourite smell: The wild sage in Savute
Favourite activity: My afternoon with Guts at Pangolin Photo Safaris on Chobe River. The photo opportunities on this tour are ridiculous and Guts’ knowledge and advice is second to none
Here is a look at my week on safari in Chobe in photographs:
(More on my time in Chobe can be seen in the blog I did for Africa Geographic ‘The magic of Chobe’)