One of the special things about Chobe is how freely Park Rangers and Guides will share sitings and general information. When entering the park, it is always worthwhile to stop at the entrance gate and ask questions related to specific animals you want to see that day. Also, while in the park, don’t hesitate to raise your hand as a guide vehicle passes and ask about major events of the drive. Be sure to share your experiences also as guides will remember you and be more eager to swap information. The following is a very brief, but powerful example of the friendly opportunities that exist.
Justin (my 26 year old son) and I were leaving Chobe after a good morning of viewing, but having not seen any predators. While I went to the toilet at the gate, Justin went inside and chatted about the park with one of the rangers. He asked had lions or leopards been spotted this morning. No, the night before, lions had been at Serondela (an old logging area in the park), but nothing had been seen this morning. Justin left the office and we prepared to head back to our lodge for a mid-day break. As we were driving out, the Ranger came running out to our vehicle rapidly waving his arms. A leopard had just been spotted in the park very near by …. but not on a typical park trail. If we hurried into the park and took the first road to the right, we just might catch a view. The ranger gave specific info on which side of the road, etc.
Off we went. The rarely used road had heavier sand, so we needed to shift into 4 wheel low, but … with my sons sharp eyes, we spotted the cat. We watched through our binnoculars for a while and eventually, our quest crossed the roadway right behind my truck! A leopard in the open is a rate site, so this was a special moment … all thanks to chatting with the local Ranger!
By the way, upon leaving the park, my son made a special effort for us to relocate the Ranger (who had now changed post positions) and sharing the photo captures on the camera viewfinder. The Ranger really appreciated the effort and each time we saw him over the subsequent trip days, he always waved and smiled.