Chobe Marina Lodge

Chobe Marina Lodge

Images by Jacqui Ikin & supplied.

The beautiful Chobe Marina Lodge.

Anais Nin wrote “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect”. I often take time to reflect as I am writing these articles, contemplating how blessed I am to live the life that I do. It gives me great joy to share my travels with my readers, both those of the armchair persuasion and those who decide to follow in my footsteps and find the information useful. As mentioned last week, I have always found Botswana to be an incredible destination, and both Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park to be the highlights of this remarkable country.

Typical scenery in Chobe National Park.

As detailed in the last article, on this particular trip my destination was Kasane, or more specifically Chobe Marina Lodge which is located on the Chobe River. This four-star hotel also happens to be a mere ten minutes away from the magnificent Chobe National Park. For me, it doesn’t get better than that!

Relaxed giraffe, ambling from tree to tree and browsing as they go.

On arrival, we were greeted with warm smiles, lukewarm damp cloths to soothe our hot brows and a deliciously cool drink. As you pause to take stock of your surroundings, you realised that you are in a rather grand ‘entrance hall’, complete with a magnificent chandelier made out of what I would imagine is wood. It is a peaceful setting, with the Chobe River in the background. Lush green plants abound, and comfortable chairs are scattered strategically. The best feature is the dark, beautiful wood – the decks, the staircases, simply everywhere. On this hot day, it is surprisingly cool inside, an effect enhanced by tinkling water and fine mist from what is essentially a mini-forest next to the deck. 

We were shown to our room, which had a balcony overlooking the Chobe River. There was time for a quick freshen-up, a thoroughly delicious lunch and then it was onto the boat for an afternoon cruise. When leaving Chobe Marina, the boats are required to check in at the border of the park – a little office on the edge of the river. After that, the real cruise began.

I felt a frisson of excitement – we were in the Chobe National Park! This land is not reconstituted farmland – it’s been wild for aeons. The Serondela area (or Chobe riverfront), situated here in the extreme Northeast of the park, features lush floodplains and once-dense woodlands of mahogany and teak. These woodlands have been severely depleted by the elephants. Chobe National Park, also known as known as ‘The Land of The Giants’, is estimated to have over 120 000 elephants. The heavy use of the vegetation along the banks of the Chobe River has even led to a reduction of other species in the area. Ironically, the Chobe Bushbuck is now rare in this environment – except near human habitation where thickets are protected from elephants. But let’s leave the elephant debate to another newsletter…

A hippo with it’s calf on one of the islands.

The late afternoon was pleasantly warm, with big storm clouds on the horizon and the sun reflecting on the water, making it appear liquid silver. The game viewing was superb, as is always the case in this part of the world. There is an abundance of water birds, and if you’re a keen twitcher, this area is paradise, with a good few specials to be ticked. Hippo, buffalo and elephants are everywhere. At one stage there was a huge commotion, and one male chased another out of the water, all the way across the plains. Let me assure you, they move FAST, despite their appearance. The guide chuckled as the disenfranchised hippo disappeared over the horizon, declaring that he was a ‘loser’ who would have no access to females for quite some time… There was, of course, also the obligatory gin and tonic as the sun edged towards the horizon. Sunset on the Chobe is always spectacular. 

The restaurant where dinner was served.

After the boat nosed its way into the mooring dock, we slowly disembarked, sad that the experience was over. We ambled up to the dining room and enjoyed some really good food before retiring to our room. We were tired, the beds were comfortable, and it wasn’t long before we were dreaming about what tomorrow might hold.

Comfortable chairs abound…

05h30 found us at reception, with the delicious aroma of coffee wafting everywhere. There were rusks and muffins to snack on, as well as fruit juice for those who didn’t want coffee. We were lucky in that there was only one other couple from Tanzania on the drive that morning, and soon we were on our way. The drive to the gate in the early morning can be a little nippy, and it is advisable to take a light jacket along. There are no fences around Chobe National Park, and so even the short drive to the gate provides an adventure – elephants are regularly spotted on the verge of the road. 

A relaxed elephant family seen on the way to the Chobe National Park.

On entering the park, we came across a small group of sub-adult wild dogs, accompanied by an adult. They were restless and staring expectantly down the road. After a while, we moved on. A little way down the road, the adults came cantering towards us on the dirt track, their muzzles covered in blood. They were going to collect the sub-adults to take them to the kill. The unfortunate animal was lying just around the bend. When we returned on the same road barely three hours later, there was nothing left of the large impala ram other than its head… 

The adult wild dog, which was left with the sub-adults, looking down the road intently.

During our game drives, we saw so much – a lioness with cubs, approximately 17 lions on an elephant carcass (killed the previous evening as it wasn’t there the day before), jackal, kudu, hundreds of water birds, dung beetles, vast impala herds with nurseries of new babies, baboons, etc etc etc. This area is so rich in game, it is impossible to go on a drive and ‘see nothing’.

A beautiful kudu bull.

On our return to the lodge, we had a slap-up breakfast – a little of everything one could possibly desire for the first meal of the day. During our time there, we also treated ourselves to a wonderful massage or two in the Spa. 

The inviting pool in which to while away hot days…

Chobe Marina Lodge is simply sublime. There is a warm, laid back, relaxed vibe set against a background of consummate professionalism. Together with its magnificent situation right on the banks of the Chobe River, you couldn’t wish for a better safari experience!!

Jacqui Ikin & The Cross Country Team

INFO BOX:

Both The David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa and

Chobe Marina Lodge are part of An African Anthology:

Head Office: 
Call: +27 (011) 568 4264
Email: sales@anthology.co.za | res@anthology.co.za 
https://anthology.co.za/chobe-marina-lodge/
https://chobemarinalodge.com/

Video with more views of Lodge:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsT73IECU6s

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