Chitabe – Elephant, Giraffe
I was lucky to have a direct flight from Kalahari Plains to Chitabe despite being the only passenger. However I think it was a training flight for the young lady pilot since this time it was a real pilot and not me in the co-pilot’s seat. As we left the Kalahari desert region it was obvious already from the air that the landscape changed completely. It was still flat at a height of almost 1000m but covered in numerous small lakes and swampy areas with many trees between them. Even the tracks through the reeds made by the hippos could be seen.
Chitabe Lediba having only 4 lodges is a small neighbour of the main Chitabe site. The individual tented lodges are reached by raised walkways and each one is luxuriously equipped with a veranda and an outdoor shower area, both overlooking a wet reed covered plain. At one point the walkway is laid directly on the ground to allow hippos or even elephants to cross. It is not allowed to use the walkways in the dark without a staff escort, because of possible danger from animals.
On the 40 minute drive from the landing strip elephant and giraffe soon came into view. The damage to acacia trees caused by elephants stripping off the bark is very noticeable as the trees often die. A single large baobab tree had also suffered an attack but was still alive. Many more elephants and giraffes were seen in the next few days. The giraffes feed only on the leaves of the acacia trees managing somehow to avoid the thorns in the use of their tongue.