Chobe National Park
Chobe Travel Blog› entry 88 of 98 › view all entries
Driving north into Chobe National Park the next morning we had more water crossings which we walked before driving over. Found a French couple with a child and guide on the road walking towards us. They drowned there Nissan 4x4 when the guide told them to drive straight through the middle of a river crossing, we had to cross the same river. We got them all into the Land Rover and drove towards it. We walked it and we (with Matt) decided on a route hard to the right side beside some fallen trees that only brought the water up to door level with a sharp decline down to the left, but the air intake was on the right side if the Landy did begin to slip sideways down in.
On the other side we found the drowned 4x4 which someone had pulled out for them. We offered to help but told them I wasn’t sure what I could do but I would have a go. With the different tools between us we set to work. Air filter was sodden so off with that completely. Could see water looking down into in the carburetor but could not reach into the awkward placed to remove drain plug, removing the carb completely could easily lead to other problems and I had difficulty trying to remove it in the first place.
Then came my disclaimer to the French driver, all the time I was explaining what I was doing and the logic behind it, but this was not my car or I wasn’t a qualified mechanic, it had to be his choice to turn the key as he had rented this car, so he was responsible for it during his 3weeks holiday with many km’s to go. With fingers crossed he turned the key and after a few short turns of the engine she started to take and then burst into life! The engine didn’t sound too bad. Not sure who was more pleased, the French family who could continue their trip in Africa or their local guide who hugged me hoping that he still had a job and a good tip at the end! With a fresh dry tea cloth tripled layered to make an improvised air filter to help keep dust out everyone was very happy.
We continued in convoy with the Nissan sitting far back out of the dust. Another 30kms later we saw elephants coming to a water hole, just the picture Paulina had seen in one of the magazines we had bought about Chobe National Park, so the smile returned to her face.
We pulled just off the sandy track to watch them drinking and spraying muddy water over their backs. It was a large heard, old and young elephants, adolescent bulls and clumsy babies. The French family got out for a better view hiding behind a bush and Paulina stood on the bonnet of the Landy. After a while I got out and stood on the roof rack to take some photos and videos.
The track further on was deep soft sand and I kept the speed up, low tyre pressure, diff-lock on, traction control coming on from time-to-time and we bounced along feeling the speed slow in the deeper sections, but we kept our momentum up not wanting to get stuck. Paulina was holding on with both hands but still continued to bounce off her seat. I asked her to make a video and they result was shaky amazing videos about an unique experience for both of us.
At that night’s camping site again we were with a smile after a HUGE elephant came through! He just passed 10 meters from us for going across the river while we follow his steps during some seconds. The French family stayed beside us that night as they lost too much time to make their booked camping site further north.