Twelve photos from each day of our Africa adventure.
One map series we found useful and current was the Shell series, written by Veronica Roodt and sponsored by Shell Oil. We got maps for Chobe National Park, Moremi Game Reserve, and Botswana. Several blurbs contain helpful and rather amusing safety advice.
Do not leave anything outside at night because hyaena’s carry away whatever they find, especially braai [barbeque] grids, pots and shoes. Be careful while preparing food at night because they snatch unattended food from the table as soon as you turn your back.
If you have small children, take extreme care to accompany them everywhere. At night they are vulnerable even in the camp around the fire. Hyaenas, leopards and lions see small children as easy prey . . . If your campsite is far from the ablution block, rather drive.
I hoped to see hyaenas in Chobe, but we didn’t. We did, however, see the following:
It’s always fun to see different species in close proximity, which happens often at waterholes.
I think impala are getting short shrift so far in pictures. They’re abundant, so they become less special and unique, but they’re also beautiful. Oh-so slender and sleek with several interesting features, like the black heart-shaped anklets on their hind legs. What a crazy thing to have, and yet they all do.
Other diagnostic features of the impala are the gracefully curved horns, which are only on the males, and the black M on the rump.
Spurfowl are birds we see often, the red-billed kind, anyway. Pippy is particularly fond of the ones in her yard. This, however, is a Swainson’s spurfowl, and this is the only place we’ve seen it so far. It, too, has a red bill.
The black-and-white stripes against the green grass and blue sky are striking, no? See how the brown shadow stripes make the zebra’s back black and brown rather than black and white? I don’t love that. It makes them look dirty.
Our first reedbucks. He was chasing her through the tall grass. Huh. I wonder why.
Slender mongooses, I believe. See those red noses? They’re supposed to be solitary, but there were four here. Maybe it’s a litter.
Where do cotton balls come from? From cotton-ball trees, like this one.
This way-cool bird is a southern ground-hornbill. It’s 3–4.5 feet from tip to tail. We watched it dig a giant dung beetle out of a pile of elephant poo. Yummy!
This picture is better when viewed at a larger size, so click it if you can. I’ve said it before: I love wispy wildebeest mohawks!
Hup, two, three, four. Keep it up, two, three, four.
“I am not in trouble. Mama likes to get muddy, too.”
Finally, I get it: One purpose of elephant tusks is to support the heavy trunk while the ellie sleeps. Really. That’s what this bull and his pal are doing. That only works with long tusks, though, so take good care of your tusks, kids.
This is not a great picture. I know. The video is worse. I snapped shot after shot after shot, but that wonderful, lucky split-second capture eluded me. What the picture does offer is a glimpse at the highlight of the day for me.
Part of our drive was through a pan of waist-high grass. As we stirred up the grass and insects, bee eaters flew alongside and hovered by the car just a couple of feet away. A super-quick (pushy and intrusive) person could reach out and grab one. They’re insect eaters, and we saw many nabbing bugs in midair.
They reminded me of the Dall porpoises in Alaska that play in the bow wakes of boats: The bee eaters would fly for a bit beside the car then dart away. Half a dozen or more would dash in, hover for a moment, then dash out. The action was steady. Bee eaters are beautiful birds, brightly colored, some with tail streamers. It was fun to watch and wait for the next one or two to arrive. Which side of the truck? What colors would it be? Would it have a long tail? Would it catch something? Can I catch it in a photo? Well, yes, but not very well, it turns out.
It was tough to spot other animals in the high grass—that’s part of the reason this is the off season—but the bee eater action made up for anything we might have missed.