Solo Traveller Insights: On Safari in Africa
Being on Safari is like an addiction. The more you see the more you want to see. It feels like you just can’t get enough.
Driving across the border from Namibia to Botswana, you enter the game park. With hardly a moment passing since driving into the park, two elephants grazing! The amazement has just begun.
Journeying through the park to reach our hotel we pass by town - we see baboons on the roof of the local supermarket and a warthog walking casually down the main street.
A SPOT JUST ON THE RIVER
Our hotel, located on the Chobe River, is just as you expect to experience in Africa. The setting is picture perfect and my room is beautiful, with a bathroom as big as the bedroom. Drawing back the curtains, reveals more warthogs right outside your door, and baboons in the trees and on the pathways. Staying at Chobe , it’s clear you are now in the animals’ territory, they are right there, and there’s no forgetting to keep a safe distance.
Once settled in you don't have to walk far to realise this place is special. I went for a walk across the road, along the way, in the bushes to the side are some bushbuck grazing, I can get so close. These graceful animals are so beautiful. A special solo’s memory, enjoying it quietly to myself.
AN EARLY MORNING GAME DRIVE
Safari starts early – it’s when spotting is at it’s best. The safari vehicles arrive, and we all load in. We’re a happy crew of solo travellers excited to see the best of the dawn break. There’s one thing to learn about being on safari in Africa. Night can be freezing and days hot. And, at 5am it’s super cold. We’ve rugged up and off we set to the gates of Chobe National Park.
Next is what we all came for - the lions are lurking. An exciting moment; our driver gets wind that the lionesses are on the prowl. He does his best to get us to the perfect spot. And within minutes, we arrive, look to the right, and there they are. Looking through the bushes, it’s a pride of lions, and they are on the move. Our driver does some swift manoeuvring. We strike an incredible moment. I’m sitting in the back, and a lioness walks right behind our vehicle. I’ve got the best window view. Then the moment she locks eyes on me. Oh no.... wonder what she's thinking. It feels so close, almost as if there is no barrier of the vehicle between her and our safari group. She sniffs around and casually strolls away.
NOT LONG TO WAIT IN AFRICA FOR SURPRISES
Animal spotting is tasking - our necks begin to hurt from the tuning left to right, right to left, like a turtle with necks sticking out trying to spot what we could. But we are all too content to worry but such a minor affliction. That day, we were lucky to see giraffe, hippo, elephants and even a cheeky hyena who appears from the bush.
Then another monumental surprise as we’re driving along. A leopard crosses the road right in front of us. You’re told on safari not to get your hopes up of seeing a leopard – the hardest of the big five to spot! It was nothing short of amazing.
And more of the incredible as we travel along on the dusty road. An entire heard of elephants that have stopped and want to cross in front. It was at that moment, one of the passengers turned around and shed tears. Tears of joy at natures truly beautiful sights. Mumma elephant stops the vehicle in our tracks. She’s making a check that all is safe to ensure her family can cross safely. There’s a stand off among the herd. Then one elephant starts the crossing, then the next and the next, while the calves are protected by the family. What a sight, there would have been 22 elephants that walked by. Witnessing the care of the leaders of the herd making sure it was safe crossing was my reminder of the intelligence of these sentient beings.
I usually holiday with my family, so this time joining as a solo traveller I was hoping it wouldn’t fail me, and it sure didn’t, rather, it exceeded all my expectations. There was the comradery of my wonderful fellow solo travellers. I also felt the space to have quiet moments of reflection to myself. Hands down, as a solo traveller, I think a safari is a great pick. I loved the small group experience and the chance to get to know everyone in my group. And it was our amazing guide that added even more colour to our time in Africa.
Chobe National Park was just one memory of my incredible safari in Africa, a window into what it’s like to head off on an African safari adventure. I felt the same about all the visits along the way. Wonder never ceased and always amazed.
CHOBE NATIONAL PARK, OUR SAFARI ACCOMMODATION
Located on the banks of Chobe River in Botswana. A sort after lodge for safari guests.
VISIT Chobe Safari Lodge website
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