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Safari Sunday: Andrew versus the baobab

Posted by barb on Oct 15, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

Our second-to-last camp was in one of the salt pans – Nxai Pan – which had already seen a significant rain. This meant that many of the animals had moved on from the large watering holes we could access from the roads of the national park (no off-roading here!). But, the park had a number of baobab trees, and we had a chance to get out near one to check it out up-close.

One legend has it that the Great Spirit gave each animal a tree to plant on Earth. He gave the hyena the baobab, and this trickster planted it upside down.

Andrew and the baobab tree

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Safari Sunday: A baby wildebeest

Posted by barb on Oct 8, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

It was baby-season for some of the antelope, or so it seemed. In addition to the baby impalas that were dropping all over, we found a few baby wildebeests when we were at Kwara Camp in the Okavango Delta. This little one was shy, but I can’t blame him, given the pack of wild dogs feeding in the area.

Baby wildebeest

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Safari Sunday: A jumping dog

Posted by barb on Oct 1, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

On a morning drive in Kwara, we had come across a pack of the wild painted dogs who were snacking on baby impalas. After felling and finishing a couple within about 10-20 minutes, they set their sights on something larger across the water.

Our guide knew that they would have to jump to get over there, and positioned us to get a view. Our wait paid off!

Wild dogs crossing a channel

Wild dogs crossing a channel

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Safari Sunday: a stuffed-to-the-gills kingfisher

Posted by barb on Sep 24, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

Our guide spied this handsome fellow on our second sunset cruise on the Zambezi River while at Waterberry Lodge in Zambia. He doesn’t show it, but this brownhooded kingfisher just swallowed a cicada that was as big as his head. Seriously. We we first came up to him, we were all trying to figure out what he had in his mouth. It took a couple of false-starts, but after a couple of minutes, he swallowed it whole. We hung around for another few minutes to make sure he was okay. Before long, he hopped up a couple branches and then flew away.

Brownhooded kingfisher

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Safari Sunday: a leopard in the grass

Posted by barb on Sep 17, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

Remember those mating leopards we spied at Kwara? We sat and watched them for a while. They would go at ti for a while, then take a break. Between their…um…dalliances, they would separate just a bit and maybe curl up. During one of those breaks, I caught the male in the grass like this.

Leopard in the grass

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Safari Sunday: Running Ostriches

Posted by barb on Sep 10, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

We didn’t see many ostriches on our safari – a couple individuals, and then this group that we found in Kwara. We came upon this group consisting of a male and several females in an opening in the Okavango Delta. They tolerated our presence for just a minute, and then got upset and ran to the far side of the clearing.

Running ostriches

Running ostriches

Running ostriches

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Solo Play: Little Circuses

Posted by barb on Sep 6, 2017 in Entertainment, Games

While I didn’t get to all of our games with solo variants while my husband was away, I decided to finish after he got back. For this post, I pulled out a new acquisition, Little Circuses.

In this game, each player builds their own circus with attractions in an attempt to entertain crowds and collect sets of different-colored attractions. you do this by buying attraction tiles such as a strong man, balloon vendor, elephant or giraffe, and contortionist. Then you move your spotlight around, guiding the visitors to the attractions you want them to see.

Ringmaster meeple

A huge note – the first edition of this game has a lot of mistakes. In the rulebook, the “clown” and “elephant” icons are mixed up, so I played this game a couple times thinking it was much harder than it needed to be. Those icons are also wrong on some of the star attraction cards. The rulebook has no explanation of the tiles with two colors, and my bleacher cards are all the same color, even though the rules refer to bleacher cards matching the color of the player score markers.

The solo-play variant isn’t much different from the multi-player game except you can only use the blue side of the star attraction cards, not the red side. This makes sense because the red side has a bit more player interaction.

My circus

In the solo play game, you are trying to get the highest score you can, and will get a ranking according to the score chart in the rule book.

Solo play score chart

I played five times in the last couple of days, including two games before I found the errata online. Every time I was in the “Nice Try” range. I’m just not sure how to get a higher score!

My best score

All in all, though, I found the solo play game to be fun. It’s a puzzle to try and figure out which tiles are the most valuable. Do you go for sets of colors? Or the ones with the powers you want to use most? Some combination of both? I’d definitely pull this one out again.

 
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Safari Sunday: One of the “little five”

Posted by barb on Sep 3, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

While we were on a drive in Chobe, Andrew called out, “hey, what’s that guy?” The guide stopped and told us that Andrew had found the leopard tortoise. I’m not sure how Andrew picked him out, but I’m glad he did! We didn’t catch all of the little five, but this would have been my top choice among them.

In Africa, the “Big Five” are the must-see animals for many folks (or in previous eras, must-kill for hunters). They are the water buffalo, lion, elephant, rhino, and the leopard. These are considered the most dangerous animals to hunt. For those aiming a little smaller, there are the “Little Five” – the elephant shrew, buffalo weaver, leopard tortoise, antlion, and rhino beetle. On our travels, we found the leopard tortoise, antlion, and (maybe?) the buffalo weaver.

Leopard Tortoise

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Safari Sunday: A grazing water buffalo for

Posted by barb on Aug 27, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

On our boat trip during our full day in Chobe, we spied this guy on the shore. He was our first water buffalo (unless you count the carcass we saw the lions munching on). We saw a few more throughout our stay, but this was definitely the best look we got – the others were either further away or running away, or both.

Hello buffalo!

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Safari Sunday: Zebra reflections

Posted by barb on Aug 20, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

While we were on a drive in Chobe, we stopped for while near the river just watching the herds of zebras, kudu, and impala. Our guide noticed this zebra about to cross, and drew our attention to it, knowing the reflection would make a nice picture.

Zebra reflections

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