Dec 262014
 

For day trip #3, we headed northwest toward the Moremi Game Reserve again, but instead of turning off to the South Gate entrance (possibly my favorite out-of-town road), we continued along the main (sand) route toward North Gate. We didn’t anticipate getting all the way to the North Gate; we were just checking out the road and seeing what we’d see.

This is the rainy season. The first week of December, however, we didn’t get a drop of rain. The second week of December, we had rain on four days, from just 2mm on one day to 19mm on another. During week three, we saw rain almost daily, as much as 31mm. Afternoon or evening thunder showers, with the rain pouring down hard, seem to be the norm; the rest of the day it’s sunny or partly cloudy. It’s rather convenient, really.

Drive #3 was an opportunity to test our mettle with puddles and wet sand roads. By local standards, it was probably like cautiously testing out the bunny slope, but to each his/her own comfort and experience level. The 20-year-old Toyota Land Cruiser we’re driving is just plain awesome. It seems to prefer the rough sand roads to the paved road, which I find endearing.

Our first wildlife sighting was pretty spectacular. We saw several animals on the road from a distance and stopped to ID them before scaring them off the road with an approach. Hyenas? Jackals? Something else? Through binoculars and blowing up long-distance photos, we concluded: African Wild Dogs.

African Wild Dog lying in the sand.

African Wild Dog. Check out those crazy, cooling ears and that beautiful coloration.

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Hatching Fun

 Posted by  Africa, Travel
Dec 192014
 
Tiny frog eating a termite . . . on my pantleg.

I recommend that you proceed through this post in the order that it’s presented. That is, watch the video cold, without any background info or written explanation. Then read the text that follows. By doing it this way, I think your experience will be similar to mine, and you’ll have the opportunity to discover or figure out what’s happening on your own, which I find more interesting and memorable than merely being told. Let me know if you agree, okay?

So go ahead and watch this. It’s just under 2 minutes long.

If the embedded video doesn’t play for you, you can watch the video on YouTube.

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Dec 132014
 

Day trip #2 took place earlier this week. This time, we headed northeast toward the south gate of Moremi Game Reserve, about 100 km (60 miles) away. Again, we didn’t plan to go into the reserve, just drive to it. The reserve isn’t fenced, and the animals don’t read maps, so they are clueless about the boundaries and cross them willy-nilly. We might see them anywhere, and we are especially fond of happening upon wildlife in unexpected—or less-expected—places.

We were also investigating the gravel and sand roads, anticipating more of those in the coming months. It’s been dry, so there were no puddles, and the sand was hard packed. No problem.

We left at first light, about 5:30 a.m., and were soon on the pastoral outskirts of town.

Lots of cows on the road

The highway out of Maun.

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Pet Sitting

 Posted by  Personal
Dec 112014
 

For the first two months of our Africa visit, we’re house- and pet-sitting: We have two dogs and four cats in our care.

Squeeky is an older female cat and a fussy eater. She eats small portions throughout the day and prefers to lick the gravy off the food, leaving the rest behind. She likes to have human company while she eats, and if I am slow to get her food, she’ll tap my leg with her paw to remind me she’s waiting. I confess I’m sometimes slow on purpose. She appreciates Mike’s cat lap and is content to sit beside me on the couch.

Squeeky the cat

Squeeky

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Dec 062014
 

We took our first drive out of Maun yesterday. We headed toward Nxai Pan National Park (say “nigh pan,” like the cooking pan) on the A3, a paved road.

In or out of town, this is a common sight:

Cows on the road out of Maun

Cows browsing by the road.

Cows, donkeys, and goats roam freely, munching grass by the side of the road or wherever it can be found. Earlier in the day as we returned from a walk, we cut off a big bull lumbering past our gate, crossing a few feet in front of him. I wondered if he’d mind, maybe get snotty. He didn’t.

About fifty miles out of town, as I searched out my window, Mike slammed on the brakes. Continue reading »

Dec 062014
 

Ha! We got it! (And by “we” I mean “Mike.”)

This is another of my favorite birds, no doubt because of the color. I’m drawn to all things colorful. Note the red and black bill.

Woodland kingfisher resting on the ground.

Woodland kingfisher.

I have no idea why it’s on the ground here, but it’s not hurt.

Woodland kingfisher in a tree.

Woodland kingfisher in a tree.

The male and female look the same. Isn’t it pretty?