the safari issue
Mighty beasts and mind-blowing waterfalls
No matter where you stand at Victoria Falls, the water comes at you like an opera. If the pyramids are Africa’s greatest human feat, this roaring curtain of water – twice the height of Niagara - is nature’s finest achievement. “The smoke that thunders” plummets 100 metres into the Batoka gorge, quenching the thirsty rainforest with its mist and throwing a luminous halo into the sky on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Have you ever seen an elephant taking a mud bath? The deliriously contented way they roll around in the squelch, then send cascades of brown water out of their trunks? You’re sure to catch this spectacle at Chobe National Park in Botswana’s far-flung north east. A staggering 120,000 elephants live here, along with countless impalas and buffalo.
Chobe is all about the river. All manner of herds and birds drop in to cool off in its sapphire waters. You might clock a crocodile, basking in the sun. Take a river safari and you can play the voyeur from the safety of a double-decker cruiser. Or embark on a mist-cloaked game drive at sunrise and you may spot an elusive leopard, returning from its morning hunt.
The Okavango Delta does nothing in small scale. The world’s largest inland delta, its vivid oxbow waterways are visible from space. On the ground, big cats and even bigger elephants roam one of the last great wildernesses. Listen for the swish of papyrus reeds in the evening breeze, punctuated by the crazed whoop of the spotted hyena and the occasional roar of the lion prides stalking their domain.
Okavango is one of the best places in Botswana to observe the Big Five. Immerse yourself in the drama of their extraordinary habitat on a star-dusted night safari under Africa’s wide-open skies. Or glide along marshlands alive with bathing hippos, crocodiles, birds and tiny reed frogs in a traditional African canoe. The possibilities for adventure are as bountiful as the land itself.