The Chobe river offers many moods. Colours best reflect the moods of this river.
“The pale stars were sliding into their places. The whispering of the leaves was almost hushed. All about them it was still and shadowy and sweet. It was that wonderful moment when, for lack of a visible horizon, the not yet darkened world seems infinitely greater—a moment when anything can happen, anything be believed in.”
~ Olivia Howard Dunbar
On our first afternoon, there was plenty of cloud, some of it heavy with moisture. It was warm and unusually there was a rainbow over Kasane. The sun was setting in the west but the magic show was taking place in the east where the setting sun had illuminated the heavy clouds over Kasane. In all the times I have been on the Chobe river while the sun was setting, I have never seen the sky in the east so vividly illuminated in apricots, pinks , mauves, purples and blues. The busy skies hung over what was the still water surface reflecting the pink clouds among the water lilies..
The river was so high that we were able to drive directly over Sedudu island. This island was sprinkled with water lilies. Normally in summer the river is one two metres below the level of the island so we are usually able to watch Pied Kingfishers nesting in the bank.
The low light and the moving boat provided an ideal opportunity to play with slow shutter speeds. This is a motion blur designed to show off the colours without specific shape, perhaps typifying the moodiness of the evening light.
“The stillness of the early morning scene enables me to take in and enjoy many things which pass me by during the bustle of the day. First, there are the scents, which seem even more generous with their offerings than they are in the evening.”
~ Rosemary Verey
The next morning we left the lodge at 6h30. It was light but the sun had not yet risen. The area was infused with soft pastel colours in the still cool air. The next image was taken looking back down river towards the “three sisters” before we reached “Pygmy Geese” Bend.
Early in the morning quietly moving upstream is dream like and exquisitely beautiful. I have often described this time as the closest thing I can imagine to heaven on earth. The stillness, serenity and beautiful soft pastel light together with the sound of a fish eagle calling in the distance is very soothing for the soul.
Further upstream with the sun higher in the sky, we made our way through the vast floating beds of water lilies.
A closer look at the water lilies revealed perfection, and wonderful colours.
“Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.”
~ Leo Babauta
Selecting isolated water lilies can provide wonderful artistic subjects.
The still surface of the river created sublime backgrounds.
” My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe and my camera is my passport.”
~ Steve McCurry
Further upstream we went up to Puku Flats opposite Savanna Lodge. The area was completely flooded.
For those of you who have been on the river, you will see how high the river level has reached. It was literally a few feet below the lodge.
Another image showing how high the river had risen.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”
~ Mark Twain
On our way back downstream from Elephant Valley toward Chobe Game Lodge, we found a small family group of kudu which were licking minerals from the soil.
An hour or so later we were travelling in last light towards Sedudu island. The sun was still relatively high in the sky but the cloud cover was thick making it quite dark.
“You can always make money, you can’t always make memories.”
On the homeward journey, in the warm evening light there is usually much chatter and laughter coming from the passing boats.
The evening sky was, on this occasion, set on fire by the setting sun.
As the sun sunk below the horizon, the evening sky darkened and the colours shifted from warm rich oranges and reds towards pinks, purples and blues.
“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
~ Marcus Aurelius
Another early morning on the river at sunrise. Looking back towards Kasane ridge, once we had passed “Pygmy Goose” bend, the sun had just begun to peer above the ridge
“We all live under the same sky, but we don’t all have the same horizon.”
We were able to take the boat through these vast lily beds which enabled us to see the African Jacana nests and chicks up close.
The intertwined roots of a Jackalberry tree exposed by many years of the river’s water eroding the soil away from the roots’ hold.
On the evening of our second last day. We stopped to take images of the “three sisters”, three Jackalberry trees which have grown on a high sand bank at the east end of Sedudu island. On this particular evening the sky was a riot of clouds and colours.
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add colour to my sunset sky.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore
This is a favourite place for many of the boats to stop and take photographs of the setting sun with the “three sisters” as the point of focus.
This image was taken from our “photographic boat” once we had tied up to the jetty at the lodge. We had to be out of the park by 18h30 but this is often the time of the day which offered the most dramatic scenes.
“Africa is waiting – come!
Since you’ve touched the open sky
And learned to love the rustling grass,
The wild fish-eagles cry.
You’ll always hunger for the bush,
For the lion’s rasping roar,
To camp at last beneath the stars
And to be at peace once more.”
Explore, seek to understand, marvel at its inter-connectedness and let it be.