Safari: Nxai Pan Day 2

Posted by barb on Nov 26, 2016 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels |

Today we took two drives around the Nxai Pan park. Our guide explained that the area had recently had their first good rain, so many of the animals had started moving toward the center of the pan. Since the area is a national park, we were confined to the roads, unlike in the reserves we stayed at in the Okavango Delta. So, we would find what we could from the roads, which did not go through the central areas of the park.

Still, we saw a lot of amazing things. We started the day with a herd of springbok, including this silly guy rubbing his head on the ground.

Head-rubbing springbok

Head-rubbing springbok

Then a jackal graced us with his presence.

Jackal

Jackal

We came upon a herd of wildebeest.

Wildebeest

And two of them started running around, chasing, and mock fighting.

Wildebeest

Wildebeest

We did find one truck that was off-roading. The guide explained that it was a documentary crew that was following a cheetah with two babies. They had special permits to follow the cheetahs wherever they went. That meant we always knew where the cheetah was…but sadly they never came very close to the road. I swear, though, I did see a couple small shadows moving near the truck, where the guide and tracker were pointing.

Documentary truck

Then we returned to where we had spied the male lions yesterday…past the even smellier elephant carcass. I swear that smell is still caught in my nose.

Sadly, the lions were sleeping well off the road, so we could barely see them.

Sleeping lion

We passed by one of the human-made watering holes, but no one was there. Then we took our morning coffee at one of the official camping sites in the park. This was the bathroom building – with a number of means to keep elephants away from the building.

Elephant-proof bathroom

Another jackal came up close for a good shot.

Jackal

Then we stopped by one of the baobabs in the park. Our guide let us get out and grab some pictures near the tree – though, I stayed in the truck because it’s hard to get in and out with my orthopedic boot on.

Andrew and the baobab tree

Andrew and the baobab tree

And then we found some elephants. Most of the family groups had moved toward the center of the salt pan, so what we found was a group of bachelor elephants. These guys have a loose group where different members come and go as they please.

Elephant

While we were watching, another member joined the group. We watched as he was greeted by another member. They touched and intertwined their trunks.

Elephant greeting

Elephant greeting

On the other side of us, a small group of giraffes passed by.

Giraffe

Giraffe

Then we returned to the camp for lunch and our siesta time. During that time, I spied some of the smaller animals in the park.

Dragonfly

Lizard

On our evening drive, it wasn’t long before we found the bachelor group of elephants.

Elephants

And a male ostrich.

Ostrich

The wildebeest were grazing near a kori bustard.

Wildebeest and Kori Bustard

We returned to the male lions, through the stinky-elephant-carcass gauntlet, but this time they were much more picturesque.

Lounging lion

Lounging lion

As dusk was approaching, we spied a kori bustard taking off, and I was able to grab a shot of him silhouetted against the colorful sky.

Sunset kori bustard

Then our sundowner drinks…

Sunset

… and elephants on our drive back.

Dusk elephants

Back at the lodge, I brought my iPad with a map of the night sky for our area, so Andrew and I could do a little star gazing. I easily spied the Magellenic Clouds – they are huge and look a lot like the Milky Way, but just as clouds, not a streak across the whole sky. We also found Orion, Sagittarius, the Southern Cross, Cetus, and Cygnus.

I had hoped to do more star gazing when we returned to our cottage, but it was not to be. Andrew found a scorpion hanging out on one of the walls, and when we sprayed it with the “doom” bug spray, it got annoyed and crawled out through a crack in the wall…right out to our back porch where I was going to go to stargaze. So…no. I was good. Didn’t need to go out again.

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