Nature love affair

2009-12-05 13:25

 THE town of Kasane in the north-east of Botswana is one of the

country’s hidden gems. It is small, with literally one shopping complex.

There is a store there called Choppies, which resembles a Shoprite

­supermarket and is stocked mainly with South African products.

The town has one primary school, a hospital and a police station.

The houses resemble low-cost housing but just about every home sports a

satellite dish and a car.

Nestled in the middle of this little town is the Chobe Marina

Lodge, which is one of Kasane’s best kept secrets.

It is so secret that the

grand Liz Taylor and actor Richard Burton used it as their wedding venue when

they secretly remarried in the 1970s.

The theme of the resort hotel is a blend of rustic African

influences-meet-European flair.

It is built on the banks of the Chobe River,

which forms a lagoon where the pool, bar, Mokoros Family Restaurant and the

Commissioner’s Elegant Dining Restaurant are built. ­

Often through the wooden

deck floors one can spot a crocodile that comes into the lagoon to cool off from

the 36°C heat.

Standing on the banks of the river, which runs into the Zambezi,

one can see the Namibian, Zambian and Zimbabwean borders.

The lodge’s rooms are equipped with necessities like a satellite

TV, a kitchen and a mini bar, but these are minor compared to the beauty that

awaits outside.

The lodge boasts a vast array of activities including abseiling,

bungee-jumping, game drives, golfing and sundown cruises.

By far the most

spectacular way to view the ­animals in the Chobe National Park is by going on

the sundown cruise along the river.

The cost of the cruise is a hefty $120 (about R880), but one is

guaranteed to see animals as never seen before in their habitat.

Crocodiles swim

in the river alongside the hippos while various exotic birds such as the fish

eagle fly above the river.

Buck, monkeys, honey badgers and lions can be spotted

running freely in the wild. The cruise lasts for three hours.

Light snacks and drinks are ­served while tales by the captain,

Simon, and his co-captain, Bernard, are told about the happenings in the murky

waters of Chobe.

The two gentlemen stop their boat regularly for tourists to take

close-up photos of the animals.

One of captain Simon’s theories of hippo aggression played itself

out. A massive 200kg animal stood up from the water and yawned widely, which we

took as a “Don’t Approach Me” signal.

The most enjoyable aspect of the boat cruise was when a majestic

­elephant bigger than our boat swam across the river.

This was indeed the

highlight of the entire trip.

)?Francis’s trip was sponsored

by­­ M-Net

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