Happy Birthday to me – look, elephants!

Another beautiful day in Botswana with another early wakeup – only this time it was in a hotel! It was a bit of a nice change to not have to wakeup, pack up, take down the tent, haul it over to the bus, etc. so I don’t regret the hotel upgrade at all, especially for $60. Slept great, which never seems to be hard to do after these long days, and had a lovely shower.

Today we got out of Maun at 7:30am en route to Nata. On the original itinerary we were going to see some salt plains and stay there overnight however some extreme weather has been happening around here and a lot of flooding has occurred which means the salt plains are now totally under water – which does not make for good camping. So it was replaced with Elephant Sands about an hour or two down the road.

This meant a six hour drive with just one stop, but it was a bit of an exciting journey because a) we saw a few animals alongside the road on the way including an elephant and a giraffe, and b) because part of the road was absolutely flooded (my little Elantra would have been swimming) but the truck took it like a champ! It was quite impressive.

Upon arriving at Elephant Sands we were pleasantly surprised to find it had a nice bar, pool and eating area. No WiFi today which is fine, though it would have been nice to say “hello” to the family on my bday. As far as birthdays go though, I really can’t think of a nicer place to have one!

We had a few free hours before we went on our game drive so I immediately jumped in the pool with a few of the others, some caught up on some reading, some just lied around. It was a very nice, lazy and sometimes entertaining afternoon.

The game drive included two free drinks which was perfectly pleasant so we ordered those in advance and got them on the drive. We met up at 4pm for the drive and had a very nice guide take us around – all in one big vehicle.

Just as we’re pulling out it started to rain, and did that for 15 mins or so. We didn’t miss anything as it was just driving out to the main area anyway. Worked out perfectly.

After getting out of the park and deeper into the area we began to see a whole bunch of elephants, all quite close, as well as giraffe and a few others that were really neat to see up close! The drive lasted three hours overall, the last hour or so was mostly scenery as the sun set, we didn’t see too many animals but it was a lovely sunset again and overall just a great drive.

We got back to camp, Timone and Shemani had prepared us a wonderful chicken stirfry with rice, I went to the bar with a few people for a drink and some battery recharging and then off to bed! It’s 10pm now.

Tomorrow we’re getting up early again to go to Chobe National Park where there’s an optional “extra” game drive that I’ll wind up doing ($40) in the afternoon for 3 hours followed by a sunset river cruise which will also last three hours, so six hours of searching for animals! It will be another very busy day. Then we’re off to Victoria Falls the following day, and that will be it – so only two nights left!!! If feels like it’s flown by.

For now, I’m exhausted and off to bed – so g’night!