"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Africa Journals, Ch. 25, Chobe Safari Lodge

The Africa Journals

Chapter 25
Chobe Safari lodge

It is not the destination where you end up but the mishaps and memories you create along the way!
― Penelope Riley, Travel Absurdities

I failed to be punctual and Brian and the coach abandoned me.  I knew I was in Soweto at the Hector Pieterson memorial and museum, but I had no idea how far away my hotel was in Johannesburg, and I didn’t know its address, either.  Usually I get a business card from the front desk for these situations, but I’d neglected that this time.

I searched the courtyard of the museum and found no one I recognized.   I went back in and looked for any familiar face.  I walked up and down the sidewalk where the coach had dropped us off.   No one.

After about ten minutes and something quickly approaching panic, I finally spotted Brian looking for me.  He’d seen me in the museum gift shop just a short time before.  Apparently the instruction to meet around the rear of the museum in a large parking lot had never reached my ears.  

Back in the womb.  Close call, but not the last one.  

I was going to have to do one of two things:  1)  Watch that Brian, or 2) Pay attention.

Our gate, Joburg airport.

The next morning we are off to the Johannesburg airport for a flight to Kasane, Botswana.  The Joburg terminal is massive and confusing.  We check in on the ground floor, then go upstairs a level or two, then walk a long, long way through endless kiosks and duty free shops, then downstairs to our gate.  Brian is behind, herding us like sheep so we don’t get lost.

This flight is on a small regional jet and luggage requirements are strict, 44 lbs. for a checked bag and 17 lbs. for a hand-carry.  Earlier, Brian had briefed us about our luggage:  Put nothing valuable in your checked bag, even if you lock it.  Theft is a severe problem.   A pen inserted in the zipper will open the bag and when a thief re-zips it, you can’t tell.   A paper clip opens those TSA locks.

A red-tagged bag.

Aircraft personnel at the boarding ramp will red tag your hand-carry if they think it’s too large and require it to be checked.   If so, remove your valuables and hand-carry them.  Brian will seal your bag with plastic zip-ties and hopefully everything will be there when we arrive.

I was ready.  My knapsack was small enough, but in case, I had my valuables in my handy, multi-pocket travel vest.  I made it through just fine.  As far as I know, nobody lost anything to theft, even though their bags were checked.

We land at a humble, very humble airport in Kasane and go through passport control for Botswana.   Then we collect our bags.   A group of young men are standing near the luggage and when the first of our group reaches them, they say, “Go ahead that way.”

Sign in Kasane "terminal."

There’s some construction going on so we drag our luggage down a looooong outdoor shaded (but still hot) corridor that winds around and eventually reaches the parking lot where we board Land Rovers.  Brian arrives in a fit of temper.  That group of young men were the porters who were supposed to handle our bags.  He refuses to tip them.

The long, hot walk.

A few minutes later, the Land Rovers drop us off at the Chobe Safari lodge.  We walk into the open lobby and are brought to a halt.  I think we all, as a group, feel our jaws drop as we look at our surroundings.   They are spectacular.

A small part of the dining room.

A Vervet monkey in the rafters.

Seating in a dug out canoe.

Raised boardwalk over a gully.

The drainage gully.

Which apparently is popular with hippos, which means we might see some.

Uh-oh, look at just a part of this gift shop.  Danger ahead.

The resident wart hogs.

My fabulous room.   Those are mosquito nets hanging from the ceiling.

Thatch roof.

Complimentary items

With the usuals

More usuals

And more usuals

Again, a usual

But this was a new one for me

Note the warthogs in front of the rooms.  

Front desk.

View of the cocktail lounge from the river.

Pool and dining room

At the pool, looking towards the bar.

Warthogs around the Rondavels  (guest rooms).

We don’t have long to find our rooms and get ready for our first adventure in Botswana:   a late afternoon cruise on the Chobe River that flows past the lodge.

The lodge is located near the group of buildings on the right side of the photo, close to where the river channels merge, which is Botswana.  The other side of the river is Namibia.  The island belongs to Botswana, though this was contested and finally decided (before going to war over it) that the deepest channel in the river would be the boundary.


  1. I'm glad you made it home okay....got the impression that Brian wasn't so sure you would. ;)

    1. Brian has a great sense of humor and I had the feeling he enjoyed some of my misadventures. He called me "one of the happy people," and never failed to look at me out of the corners of his eyes to see how I reacted to one of his jokes. I, on the other hand, never failed to disappoint, usually with a tortured expression. He often sat with me at meals. We had a very special conversation at the end of the trip, but you'll have to wait to hear that one.

  2. What beautiful surroundings. What a beautiful room with SO MANY USUALS and one UN-USUAL that being insect repellant.

    I am amazed that you of-all-people seem to be .. at least from time-to-time .. one of the odd-ones-out as to meeting-up-with-the-group(s) where and when and on time. I would suspect you to be firstest-with-the-mostest each and every time there is a meeting place to be on time and ready to go. The resident warthogs .. are they friendly .. do people ever try to sneak-them-treats? NO hippos however ?

    I have had things stolen from me KNOWING THEY WOULD TRY TO DO SO .. LOOKING INTENTLY AT MY BAG AS IT WAS INSPECTED .. AND FAILING TO CATCH THEM (who ever 'they' were .. customs .. security .. you name them..) .. they are fast and they are good. Nice no one had anything stolen. It is a real problem and a real boring reality. Loving Your Trip .. Cap and Patti ..

    1. I was on time for every departure but sometimes my curiosity led me astray once we were at the destination. For the most part, I was prompt for everything, if not early. Brian had seen me making a purchase in the gift shop and said 'when you're finished.' I never heard where to meet the bus. At the last moment I decided to purchase a book on Soweto and there was a problem with the credit card machine, so after waiting a while and getting anxious about not being prompt, I dug out enough cash. By that time, all the others were on the bus which was hiding around the rear of the building. And I was lost. Just another adventure.

  3. You never cease to amaze and amuse me, Gully. I would describe you as one who prefers to color outside the lines. Three cheers for you!!

  4. Gully color outside the lines??? I have known Gully for MANY years ... she doesn't see lines!!! Hugs. Patti