Safari: Kwara Day 1

Posted by barb on Nov 21, 2016 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels |

Mike, our guide from Chobe Elephant Camp, left us at Kasane Airport, but not before handing us over to one of the airline representatives. We felt a bit like a package, being moved from one place to another, but honestly, we were thankful for it – it meant that we make it where we needed to be.

Today would be our first time on one of the many small aircraft that would shepherd us around to the various camps. I loved the ride – it was a little bouncy, but the view was spectacular. The airstrips near the camps were packed dirt, which was a little disconcerting, but worked just fine. Here’s our plane taking off after it left us at Kwara Camp.

Take-off

During our customary safety briefing in the camp’s lodge, this elephant was grazing across the lagoon – greeting us to the camp.

Elephant greeting

We were then shown to our tent. This was our first bona-fide tent on our journey. We quickly found out one of the down-sides: the baboons were running around the trees, bouncing off our tent roof to their next destination!

But, the tent itself was beautiful. We overlooked the plains, where we could often spy elephants or antelope. There was no mosquito net, which made us glad we had brought our own – we were able to hang it from the ceiling. We wondered if we were being over-cautious, but later in the night, we watched fireflies circling.

Kwara accomodations

Kwara view

After unpacking and a short rest, we returned to the lodge, with this view. The fire pit is where we’ll have breakfast each morning, and can sit after dinner at night (though if Chobe is anything to go by, we’ll be too tired to sit around much after dinner).

View from the Kwara Lodge

Before long, we started off on our afternoon drive. Our guide, Carlos, and our tracker had heard a pair of leopards mating earlier in the day. They were hot on the trail, but weren’t able to find the leopards before they needed to be at the airstrip to meet the plane. However, that meant that Carlos knew the general direction of the leopards, and from our perspective, drove right to them.

Carlos told us about the mating habits of the leopards. They mate 3-4 times per hour, all day, for about a week. This was how they knew the leopards should still be around.

Sure enough, we found them…um…in flagrante. We watched them do it once, then rest, then before long, the female was demanding the male go at it again. She was quite insistent. We watched several times before calling the other truck and guide so they could see as well.

Mating leopards

Resting leopard

Ready again

Male leopard

The mating was *very* violent. She would lick her wounds after each session, and it seemed that we could see new ones form almost before our eyes.

Mating leopards

Licking her wounds

Once the other safari truck arrived, we moved on to see what else we could see. There was some rain threatening, but not for long. When the sky started to clear, we got a beautiful rainbow. And, seemingly at the end of that rainbow, we spied a pair of elephants.

Elephant rainbow

Rainbow elephants

Around another bend we found this zebra – lit by the dusk. He kept a close eye on us.

Zebra

And then Carlos and our tracker found a pack of wild dogs. We saw a group of tsessebe antelope running, so the guides headed toward where the antelope were running away from.

Then we spied the dogs jumping – they do this to get a view over the grass at their potential prey.

Wild dogs hunting

Thankfully, we did not witness the kill, but our guides found them munching on a fresh body. They are vicious and had made short work of the kill.

Wild dogs eating

Wild dogs eating

When we arrived back at camp, we unwound with our safari group with a drink before dinner.

Our Kwara safari group

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