#ThisIsChobe Prize Winners Explore Botswana

Nov 22, 2016 | Chobe Travelers

Jen and John Laceda, our 2016 #ThisIsChobe prize winners from Canada joined us on a 10 night Botswana safari to explore the wonders of the Chobe National Park as well as an extension into the Okavango Delta to discover exactly what it is about Botswana that we rave about. Their itinerary included 4 nights at Chobe Game Lodge, 2 nights further south in the Chobe National Park at Savute Safari Lodge, ending with 4 nights on the Okavango Delta at Camp Okavango and Camp Xakanaxa.

On their return to Canada, we asked spoke to Jen about her trip asking her to share her highlights from her trip as well as some insights for others interested in booking their own Chobe or Botswana safari. Jen also shared some of her favourite photos from her trip which we’ve thrown into the post for your enjoyment.

A big thank you to Jen for sharing her experiences and for flowing our Instagram feed with stunning photos of her vacation. If you haven’t yet followed Jen on Instagram we strongly recommend you do. Here’s her account – @JenLaceda

What inspired you to enter the #ThisIsChobe competition? Give us some background on your travels and why you really wanted to travel to Chobe.

Botswana has always been on top of my travel bucket list. In 2004, I had a friend who went on her honeymoon in Botswana, and she came back with all these amazing stories and photographs of the experience. Right there and then, I knew this was a place I wanted to visit. Since that time, I’ve been following blogs and other social media outlets of travellers, writers, photographers, and safari companies in the region, always admiring from the sideline the many wonderful wildlife sightings and the luxury lodges in the bush. 

For a very long time, I’ve heard so many good things about Chobe, namely, the prolific game to be seen here, along with the gentleness of the people and the beauty of the landscape. So much so that when my first child was born in 2007, we nicknamed her “Chube” – a play on the word that means little sister in Chinese and also after the river in Botswana that gives so much of its life to the place.

I am so fortunate to have followed ThisIsChobe on Twitter and learned that they were holding a social media competition last June, raffling out a trip to Chobe National Park. I knew in my heart that this was the contest to join. I’ve been watching nature shows all my life and I’ve always been fascinated with Africa and the whole safari experience. There wasn’t a day that went by that I did not think of this continent! I’ve travelled quite a bit to Asia, Europe, the Americas, and North Africa, but Southern Africa remained an enigma. In hindsight, I believe the Universe was listening to my calls and it brought me this gift from This Is Chobe.

What was the highlight of your #ThisIsChobe Safari? 

Am I allowed to say that the whole experience in Chobe was a highlight? We loved seeing the animals in their natural habitat – and we saw plenty of them: Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Giraffes, Hyenas, Wild Dogs, Baboons, Vervet Monkeys, Antelopes, Zebras, Hippopotamuses, Crocodiles, and so much more. The birds were also plentiful: Fish Eagles, Vultures, Hornbills, Guinea Fowls, Lilac-breasted roller, Owls, Kory Bustards, Egrets, Storks, and many more. The game in this area is rich and plentiful, so we were not left wanting during our game drives. Special mention for seeing 2 separate lion hunts. A very special sighting indeed!

And all this game is set within a landscape so stunning that it almost feels like a dream. Along the shores of the Chobe River, I noticed that on one bank, it would be green and lush (the floodplains) and the other side would be dusty and dry (semi-arid desert). The contrast is striking! Add to that the memorable sunsets with hues of gold, pink and purple, and it makes you feel like you are caught in a surreal dream in a surreal world.

 

What experience was least expected or exceeded your expectations? Something you did that you didn’t know was possible in the Chobe region 

An experience that Chobe Game Lodge arranged for us that I didn’t quite expect to have made an impact, is the cultural trip to the local village of Kachikau. It’s worth staying an extra day in the region to spend time in a local community getting to know the residents there or just simply enjoying a day in the life of a local. 

We visited the chief in the village “townhall” – and I, being a municipal government worker in Canada, was fascinated to learn about their village’s administrative and judicial procedures. Following that, we also visited a local school and learned more about the educational system in Botswana. We can’t help being full of admiration for what the Botswana government has been doing for its people. 

Part of this local visit was lunch with a Kachikau family. We tasted a traditional Botswana meal that included a dish of mopane tree worms! I told myself, “YOLO” (you only live once) and ate the worms but with double heaps of pap (maize porridge), vegetable soup, morogo (wild spinach), seswa (pounded beef), and chicken stew – all dishes are guaranteed all-natural and free-range!  We learned so much about the Botswana people from this cultural trip, thus adding a different dimension to a typical safari vacation.

What was your favourite wildlife sighting and where was it?

I can’t pick just one, so I will mention two! Our favourite wildlife sightings were in Savute, which is part of Chobe National Park. We went on a search for the elusive Leopard – and we found a one! The guides in Savute Safari Lodge are expert trackers and our pleas for a Leopard sighting were heeded. Our guides toiled so hard to find the super elusive creature, and the team all worked together for a successful sighting. When the Leopardess made her appearance, everyone let out a collective gasp so loud you could hear it from five cars away. Thank you to Baba and OB for working hard in getting us the Leopard sighting.

Our second favourite sighting was of the two Marsh pride Lion brothers feeding on a wildebeest kill. It was an absolute joy just watching the two adult male lions eating and fighting over some meat, while the rest of the pride (females and sub-adults) watched on and waiting their turn. We loved hearing about the rivalry of the Marsh pride and the Northern pride Lions!

Finally, do you have any pointers or recommendations for people considering a Chobe safari? 

The recommendation I have for people considering a Chobe safari is to just do it – and they will not regret it! We saw the most exciting sightings in Chobe compared to other areas we stayed at in Okavango Delta and Moremi. 

The viewing experience and the lodge quality are superb and we can’t recommend it enough to those who are first-timers or repeat visitors! I thought this would be a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but I was wrong. We will return to Chobe again!

We would like to once again take this opportunity to thank Jen and Jonathan for joining us in the Chobe. By the looks of the photos and stories it looks like you had a wonderful time and it was a pleasure having you in Botswana. A special thanks to Chobe Game Lodge and Desert & Delta Safaris who sponsored the #ThisIsChobe 2016 prize winners. 

If you’ve recently visited Chobe and want to share your story with our audience please contact us on contact@thisischobe.com

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