A Daily Dozen Post
That means 12 photos from our day . . . out of the 551 we took. Plus 29 videos. Yes, I counted. This is our second day in Chobe National Park, which should make it easy, right? Because we saw it all yesterday. What could possibly be left?
Kudu (and Impala)
Kudu: The antelope with the milk mustache and pince-nez.
Many antelope have cool horns, but kudu have the coolest of the cool horns. They are popular decor items, as is, or incorporated into lamps and furniture. They are also hollowed out and polished into musical instruments and signal horns—a horn horn. Mind you, they’re not like antlers that fall off annually. Horns are on the animal until it dies . . . or is broken off, which happens.
The barely-there stripes on the kudu’s back are either camouflage or frosting drizzles to make them more appealing to lions and leopards. Or maybe they’re . . . oxpecker (ahem) residue.
The frequency with which we see oxpeckers on kudu makes this last explanation the most likely.
Wonder how that impala might have broken his horn? I have an idea . . .
Or maybe he was kicked by a giraffe.
Or maybe he tripped over a log, got his horn stuck in an ant hill, and had to break it off to extricate himself.
Or maybe a croc bit it off while the impala was drinking.
We’ll just have to keep wondering, I guess.
And speaking of crocs . . .
Croc and Spur-winged Goose
Tiptoeing past the crocodile on the bank. Silly goose.
We saw a ton of crocodiles! Huh. I was speaking figuratively, but that’s probably literally true, as well.
A cow waterbuck. That seems like an oxymoron, and “bull waterbuck” seems redundant. Can’t we just call them waterboks, like steenboks, springboks, gemsboks, etc?
The “water” part of the name comes from the fact they they don’t wander far from permanent water sources, needing to drink daily. Apparently, they are also decent swimmers and will take to deep water sometimes when threatened. I’ll bet the crocs love that. We have, indeed, always seen them around water, but we’ve never seen them swimming.
Don’t you love the white heart around this lady’s nose?
Why are waterbucks always invited to birthday parties? So attendees can play Pin the Tail on the Waterbuck! Why do you think that ring is there? Du-uh!
As we cruised the Chobe floodplain, I recognized a dead and down tangled tree that I’d noted yesterday. It’s the kind of tree a gal can play on for hours, the kind of tree that ought to house some sort of animal, or perhaps an entire family.
I was so excited to see the tree, I might have missed . . .
. . . the lion outside my open window!
Luckily, Mike spotted him.
We’d just been glassing across the river to where a single lion remained, tugging on the now flat, hardly visible elephant carcass. Yesterday, Mike wondered aloud how long that elephant might last the lions. We have our answer: one day.
This lion was probably one of the four “lionesses” we watched through the binoculars yesterday, but—surprise!—it’s not a lioness: It’s a young male lion. His mane is starting to come in.
As we watched him, another lion—a lioness—strolled down from the brush and sprawled out near him, in the open. It was a coolish, somewhat cloudy day, so shade wasn’t imperative.
We didn’t find the two small cubs.
And we totally forgot to get a picture of that super-cool tangled tree, which I was asking Mike to do when he spotted the lion. Sigh.
Elephants, at Last!
Ha! Found ’em! The elephants are on the west end of the park just now. It’s greener out there.
The ones closest to the road were youngish sparring bulls. So much pushing and pulling and harumphing, but all in rather slow motion.
When we were here three years ago, I occasionally found myself feeling worn out, saturated, overwhelmed with wildlife sightings. I couldn’t process them all.
That’s how I felt today. We drove through the entire park, east to west. After camping in Kasane as we explored the east end of the park, we pulled up stakes (literally) to camp in Muchenje while we explore the west end of the park. Today, we enjoyed nine hours of cool wildlife, beautiful scenery, and rough roads. Exhausting!
During the last stretch, when we thought we were past all the fun stuff, we happened upon a giant eagle-owl. Then, as we hurried to find our way in the last light of day to a not-well-signed place we’d never been, something ran across the road. We knew from the movement of the silhouette what it was, and of course we were going to stop and watch.
But it was already hunting, watching the woods intently, never once looking our way. Then it dashed out of sight. We were okay with that; truly, it was enough.