Chobe Chilwero Lodge near Kasane, Botswana, Friday, April 30, 2010
This morning we slept a tiny bit later and went for a mokoro ride after breakfast. The mokoro is a dugout canoe which used to be made from a tree trunk, but today is made from fiberglass, but still the same shape, and is poled by a guide standing in the back. The 45 minute ride was wonderful, with close-up views of tiny frogs as well as birds. It was very peaceful and relaxing, reminding of us kayaking at home.
We then were driven to the dirt airstrip where a male lion was walking around on the runway itself. We took off on time in a 12-seater plane for the one-hour flight to Kasane, which has a regular (paved) airport. We transferred to jeeps for the short ride to Chobe Chilwero Lodge on the Chobe River. It is more civilized than the previous camps, but feels lacking in the "camp" feeling of being in the bush - and wonder of wonders, it has air-conditioning.
We had lunch, took a nap, went to tea and met our guide, Rogers. Our group of six went on a cruise in a small motorboat on the Chobe River which is in flood. We saw monitor lizards (almost as big as iguanas), and lots of hippos in the water. Hippos are nocturnal grazers and spend their days in the water, going under for up to six minutes before sticking the heads out for a bug exhale and inhale. A Cape Buffalo was on the shore and we saw a few elephants as well.
Dinner was preceded by a great dance troop who performed Botswanian dances in costume. Anne was very taken by the women's "skirts" which looked crocheted, so she ran right out after them and asked how they were made. Yes, they are crocheted by the dancers from wool. There are no sheep in Botswana, but they must get it from elsewhere in Africa and we think they sort of spin the fringe fibers.
The meal was one of the best - Anne had a delicious roasted butternut squash soup, and bream (a local fish). We were escorted back to our unit (fear of animals?) and went to bed, very tired - tomorrow will be early for a game drive.