The Daily Dozen: Khwai to Savuti Photos

Twelve photos from each day of our Africa adventure.

After two nights camped along the Khwai River, we headed to the Savuti Marsh in Chobe National Park. I’ve seen the name spelled “Savuti” and “Savute.” I choose to go with the i because I’ve heard the name pronounced “Sa-VU-tee” not “Sa-VU-teh.”

Warthogs in mud puddle.

Warthogs. They were mud wrestling.

En route, we came upon two warthogs mud wrestling in a puddle in the road. Tusks to tusks, and sometimes on their front knees, they pushed back and forth. Good, cool fun, that. That a car wanted through the puddle didn’t matter in the least to them.

Wild dogs walking down the road.

African Wild Dogs, or as they say in Zimbabwe, painted dogs.

Just before we entered the park, we came upon a pack of African wild dogs—our second group, so far, for this trip. It was midday and hot. Like the warthogs, these guys were taking advantage of puddles in the road, lying in the cool, shady pools, coating themselves with mud.

We pulled up nearby and stopped. They seemed to know we wanted to get by them on the road. They got up and filed past us, moving to another shady, puddley spot just behind the car where they plopped down again to continue their heat-of-the-day snooze.

The name “African Wild Dog” seems way too un-special for these animals. Their Latin name actually means “painted wolf,” and we saw a sign in Zimbabwe alerting us to painted dogs in the area. I like “painted dog.” Their painted fur, at least when not coated in mud, is beautiful.

As social animals, I like these guys way-yonder more than lions. In lion culture, even though females do the hunting, males tuck into a meal first. Females get what’s left, and when they’re finished, the young finally get a turn. In painted dog culture, young are permitted to eat first, and the pack will even carry food to sick or injured family members. Such manners and kindness!

Baby wildebeest

Baby wildebeest. It doesn’t look very wildebeesty, does it?

The color of this wee one makes him look different from the adults, but the mohawk and bull terrior-like head profile place him clearly in the wildebeest family. Look at those teeny-tiny horns.

Did you know that “wildebeest” is the Afrikaans name for “gnu”? I just learned that.

Mama and baby wildebeest.

Mama and baby wildebeest.

But don’t even think about getting closer.

Wildebeest aren’t as big as I initially thought. I still think they’re on the bottom of the Pretty Antelope list, but those mohawks are great. It just so happens that there are a lot of pretty antelope.

Wildebeest parade through a shallow water hole.

Wildebeest parade through a shallow water hole.

We’ve not seen such large groups of wildebeest until now. Here we have herds of them.

I was surprised to learn how shallow this waterhole is. Waterholes in general are much smaller than I imagined, both in diameter and depth.

Egyptian geese

Egyptian geese which are actually large ducks.

Egyptian geese are actually ducks. Apparently, ancient Egyptians considered them sacred and liked to draw them.

Banded mongooses

Banded mongooses. No, they’re not mongeese.

On our first evening drive around one of the pans, we came upon a group of banded mongooses. They remind me of weasels: quick, agile, playful, cute, curious.

Yeah, these two are doing what you think they’re doing. Ahem.

A giraffe head sticking up above the trees.


My favorite way to see a giraffe: Its head above the trees and brush, like the tallest kid in the second grade class.

Close up of elephant face and eye.

Elephant-eye-tis. Elephant eye, this.

“The corn is as high as a elephant’s eye . . .” Don’t you love the long eyelashes? They help keep the mud out of the ellie’s eye during mud baths.

A lilac-breasted roller.

A lilac-breasted roller.

Lilac-breasted rollers are common and always a delight to see: great tail streamers and great colors, though individuals are not always this bright.

Three cape buffalo, one with a muddy head.

The three cape buffalo stooges: Larry, Mo, and Muddy.

The Three Cape Buffalo Stooges: Larry, Mo, and Muddy.

Cape buffalo with freshly mudded head.

Muddy cape buffalo.

“Who you callin’ ‘Muddy’? They call me ‘MISter Muddy.'”

Categories: Africa, Africa, Travel