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Pamela MacNaughtan

“OMG, Monkeys!!!” That’s what everyone says when they see monkeys hanging around, but believe me after you get to know them, you’ll change your tune.

The lodge we’re camping behind in Chobe is located along the Chobe River (which becomes the Okavango River). The location is inspiringly beautiful, with the river, tall trees with green leaves, Elephants, Hippos, and monkeys. Lots and lots of monkeys.

After our early morning game drive, we had the afternoon to do whatever we wanted until our River Game Drive at 3:00 p.m. The majority of our group chose to walk over to the lodge’s pool and relax. I chose to have a much-needed nap, pick-up some snacks and then head over to the pool.

As we sat in the sun, the monkeys were either overhead or running around the lodge. Initially, I thought they were cute, but my opinions changed. Quickly.

I sat on the edge of the deck chair that Manu was on and chatted. Across from our group was a German family who had left fruit, soda, and other goodies by their deck chairs as they went for a swim. I watched with a lot of amusement as not one, but two monkeys swung their way towards the food, swooped down, grabbed it and ran to a corner to eat it. These monkeys were not cute, they were cheeky!

For the next hour or so I watched as the monkeys around us became more cheeky and daring. They didn’t stay in the trees, they started running around and through our chairs. At one point I tried to ‘shoo’ one off, but the little bugger called my bluff and as I had visions of the monkey lurching at me with ‘Outbreak’ movie type results, I stepped back and decided they were tougher than I was. Besides, I wasn’t about to toss my flip flop at it and end up losing my shoe in the river.

After my stand-off with a small monkey, I became slightly fearful that one would jump me. I watched them steal soda cans and drink them along the river. I watched them try to snatch food from people’s chairs. I watched them swing into the restaurant and try to take people’s food from their plates! The killer though is the fact that despite all this, many of the tourists were feeding them, which means I was ready to start bitch-slapping a whole lot of people.

My reprieve from the monkeys didn’t happen until later in the afternoon when it was time for us to board a boat for our River Safari. I’ve never been on a River Safari before (so many ‘firsts’ on this trip!), but I was anxious to spot more Elephants and hopefully see some Hippos. Honestly, I think I was just excited to be on a boat, relaxing and cruising along the Chobe River.

At this point in my trip, I have seen quite a few Elephants and each guide we’ve had has had some slightly different facts about them, so as I sat there on the boat, I had a little trouble listening to the guide. Instead, I was concentrating on scouring the river and marsh for Elephants and hippos.

Cruising along the Chobe River at dusk was lovely. The (very full) boat sailed around small islands where we could watch Crocodiles, Elephants, and Hippos going about their evening routines. In this instance the Crocs were sunning themselves along the shore, the Hippos were sleeping in the water with just the tips of their head breaking through the surface and the Elephants were leisurely drinking and eating.

As the sun started to slip below the horizon the sky was painted with pinks, purples, indigos and soft yellows. I sat at the back of the boat and watched the day slip away, the water was calm except for the waves we made and as the boat made its way back to the lodge.

Although we didn’t see as much as I had hoped, (and really, that is totally out of everyone’s control) I still enjoyed sitting the boat, chatting with the others in my group and watching the sun go down.

Thinking of traveling to Africa?

Traveling in Africa, solo can be a scary thought -especially for solo female travelers. I’m not saying it can’t be done, it can. What I am saying is that there is nothing wrong with joining a group tour.

For 45 days I traveled from Kenya (Nairobi) to Cape Town with Intrepid Travel. This was my very first group travel experience. At first, I wasn’t sure what I had gotten myself into, but as time progressed, I began to relax and fall in love with this type of travel. In fact, I would definitely travel with Intrepid again. 

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