African experiences generally throw in animal surprises when you least expect it. My second visit to Botswana was no exception.
In May 2016, whilst I was on a lost luggage challenge with Money Supermarket I ended up in Senegal and The Gambia. The Gambia trip gave me the chance to get up close and personal to crocodiles at the excellent Kachikally crocodile farm.
I really enjoyed that toured and love the idea of adding more and more wacaday animal adventures to my travel repertoire, these spring to mind, many of these still unwritten and joining a list of 2,000 unwritten blog posts.
Admiring penguins in Antarctica
Whale watching in Mirissa, Sri Lanka
Watching flamingoes in the deserts of Bolivia
Feeding hyenas in Harar, Ethiopia
Watching lions at Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania
Watching wildebeests in the Serengeti, Tanzania
Searching in vain for the elusive rhino at Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Feeding giraffes in Nairobi, Kenya
Safari in the Maasai Mara, Kenya
Feeding kangaroos in Tasmania, Australia
Holding a koala in Brisbane, Australia
Watching Tasmanian Devils in Australia
Watching wild duck billed platypus in Latrobe, Australia
Walking next to wild rhinos in Mosi Oa Tunya Game Park in Zambia
This time, we had crossed into Botswana by land at the Kazungula border from Zimbabwe. We chose to sleep here at the Chobe Crocodile Cottage within the Crocodile Farm! Yes, we spent two nights in the little blue and pink cottage here, run by a very experienced animal expert, Sue. The cottage was a great place for a couple of nights, and I will review it separately. But first – I was off on the crocodile farm tour!
Touring Chobe Crocodile Farm near Kasane, Botswana
The tour costs 50 Pula, which is less than $5 US Dollars, so a bargain and well worth the money. The tour is conducted by crocodile expert Sue herself. Sue commences the tour in a room housing three circular concrete compounds for adult crocodiles.
It is in here that she explains the difference between crocodiles and aligators. There is information about this on the walls, as well as a jaw bone from each of a dead crocodile and a dead alligator.
Even today, I find the difference hard to understand. It is partly about the jaw and teeth but also the country. Alligators tend to be in North America. Crocodiles have more of their teeth outside their mouths. This room we are in has three basins of crocodiles. For the record, there are NO alligators here in Botswana.
The tour continues into another building which houses younger crocodiles. There are hundreds of them in a small enclosure at the back!
The third building houses baby crocodiles and we mean the newly hatched eggs! Here I can hold a one month old crocodile. Sue lifts them up without hesitation, her babies. Their teeth are too young to bite and they feel so different to the adult ones. I remembered back to stroking the adult crocodile in The Gambia and how it felt hard and dry. These babies are soft and not dry, a little slippy.
There are over 1000 crocodiles here including the baby ones. I usually am not fond of crocodiles, but I find the baby ones quite cute, although their eyes do look a tad scary to me!
There are two more parts to the tour. One is peering over a wall to view the biggest crocodile they have. Sue tells me that only the bigger ones are given names. These large crocodiles roam in a larger area with water pools naurally developed from the Chobe River. Some of them are relaxing with their mouths opening.
All throughout the tour I learn interesting facts. Crocodiles can live up to 100 years and can survive weeks without food. They also fight each other a lot and some of these crocodiles have scars on their skin, even missing parts on their tails. Also penises are not visible so it can be hard to tell a male from a female. The willy is tucked up inside the body. The final part of the tour, we go inside the enclosure and are pretty close to the crocodiles. This was more like my crocodile farm tour in Kachikally, The Gambia now. Again, these were the bigger crocodiles all housed in an enclosure down by the Chobe river, virtually their natural habitat.
I leanr from Sue that crocodiles are very clever, fully aware animals. When a human comes close to them, they can tell your age, your weight, if you are pregnant, and if you are sick.
More information about Chobe Crocodile Farm
At Crocodile Farm, they raise Nile Crocodiles, and offer educational and entertainment tours. The farm was started in the early eighties by Sue’s father who passed away in 2000 so Sue has taken up the reigns of running the farm. The farm also is an educational farm so a lot of schools within Botswana do visit as well as international tourists and groups. The tour is ideal as an inexpensive activity fro backpackers, families, school groups or anyone interesting in learning about crocodiles, fees are less for groups and students. I recommend it. Thanks to Sue for showing me around her lair.
Here are the details for booking a tour of Chobe Crocodile Farm in Kazungula, near Kasane, Botswana :
|Mon:||8:00 am – 12:00 pm, 2:00 – 4:00 pm|
|Tue:||8:00 am – 12:00 pm, 2:00 – 4:00 pm|
|Wed:||8:00 am – 12:00 pm, 2:00 – 4:00 pm|
|Thu:||8:00 am – 12:00 pm, 2:00 – 4:00 pm|
|Fri:||8:00 am – 12:00 pm, 2:00 – 4:00 pm|
|Sat:||8:00 am – 12:00 pm|
Here are some videos from my time touring Chobe Crocodile Farm in Kazungula, near Kasane, Botswana: