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Safari Sunday: Greeting elephants

Posted by barb on May 28, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

The elephants that we saw at Nxai Pan were all bachelors. The family groups, which we had been seeing at our other camps, had recently moved in toward the middle of the Pan, because the rains had started. Those parts of the park were not accessible from the roads we had to say on.

Unlike the family groups, who stay together essentially at all times, the bachelors go off on their own, then come back to rejoin the group as they please. The elephant in the left on this pictures was just returning to the group, and we caught the greeting. This is apparently common.

Elephant greeting

Elephant greeting

Elephant greeting

Elephant greeting

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Safari Sunday: a dignified cheetah

Posted by barb on May 21, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

On our first morning drive in Kwara, the other truck’s guide found this cheetah – that’s how it works on safari – the guides share their finds (after their own truck has had some significant time on their own, that is), so that all the guests can see the hard-to-find animals.

This cheetah was just hanging out under a tree, enjoying the morning.

Cheetah

Cheetah

Cheetah

Cheetah

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Safari Sunday: a newborn impala for a Mother’s Day

Posted by barb on May 14, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

Our safari coincided with baby impala season. The pregnant impalas can control, to some extent, when they give birth, and the babies all drop within a couple weeks after the first big rain. (There are limits, of course – if there’s a drought, for example, they can’t wait indefinitely for the rain.)

On our last morning drive at Chobe our guide spotted a newborn impala – born just minutes before we stumbled upon the mama and baby. We had plenty of time before we needed to get to the transfer for our next camp, so we decided to wait to see the baby’s first steps. It took about 30-45 minutes, and we saw several clumsy attempts, but finally the little one stood on its wobbly legs, and tried to get to mama to nurse.

Newborn impala

Newborn impala

Newborn impala

Newborn impala

Newborn impala

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SafariSunday: hyena pups and their mama

Posted by barb on May 7, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

In these pictures there are two cubs – one “kissing” mama and the other nursing. Hyenas live in packs, but the pregnant females peel off from the pack when they are close to giving birth and form a den where they raise the cubs for about a year.

On our last evening drive in Pom Pom, one of our truck-mates declared that he had had enough lions, and that our guides should try to find us something else. He did not consult us, of course, because there is no such thing as too many lions. However, our guides were up to the task, and we had a great drive even without lions.

First we found a couple of baby giraffes who were hiding in a groves of trees where their mamas had left them for the day. We weren’t able to get pictures because the babies were fairly shy – which is a good survival trait!

The guides then headed toward where they had seen previously seen female hyenas and suspected their baby den might be nearby. Have I mentioned that the guides seem to work magic? They spotted a hyena cub from further away than I could have made it out, and drove us straight over.

Hyena cubs and mama

Hyena cubs and mama

Hyena cubs and mama

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Safari Sunday: Hippos on the shore

Posted by barb on Apr 30, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

Our first full day at Chobe included a boat trip along the Chobe river bordering Botswana an Namibia. This turned out to be one of the few times we saw hippos out of the water – they prefer to hang out in the water during the daytime.

Hippos on the island

Birds on the hippo

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Safari Sunday: Nursing lion cubs

Posted by barb on Apr 23, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

On one of our afternoons in Chobe, our guide knew where a couple of female lions tended to have their babies hang out during the day. He told us that in the late afternoon they’ll call to the babies to come out so they can see how the cubs are doing, and get them some exercise. So we found the females, and then hung around for a little while.

Not long later, two cubs came toddling out from the brush to their mama. They played and ran around for a bit, then found mama and nursed. We stayed and watched for a while, then moved on.

Mama and cub

Mama and cub
Nursing cub

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Safari Sunday: A silly baby elephant

Posted by barb on Apr 16, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

At Chobe, the groups of elephants that we saw were all family groups with a matriarch, related adult females, and young of a range of ages.
This little one was the youngest in the group of elephants we saw on our game drive on our last morning at Chobe – essentially our drive to the airport with a several hour detour through the park.

He was quite a cutie.

Fun fact – baby elephant’s trunks don’t work for sucking up things until they are about 6 months old. When they visit the water, they’ll imitate the adults, but you’ll see the babies go all the way in up to their mouths so they can drink.

Silly Baby elephant

Silly Baby Elephant

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Safari Sunday: A pied kingfisher fishing

Posted by barb on Apr 9, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

Our last camp, Nxamaseri, was on a river, and while our time there was not about game drives and seeing animals, we did get a chance to go out on the river our first evening there. Along the river we found hippos, crocodiles, and lots of birds.
We spied birds that seemed to hover in the air. It was the pied kingfisher, and they were hunting. They would hover over a spot on the river, watching for a fish or insect, then dive down.

Pied Kingfisher diving

Pied Kingfisher diving

Pied Kingfisher diving

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Safari Sunday: a sunset giraffe

Posted by barb on Apr 2, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

On the way back to camp from one of our evening drives at Pom Pom Camp, I heard the guide asking if I saw the giraffe. Now, you would think that giraffes would be easy to spot – I mean, look at them! I’m embarrassed to say I had to look and look before I found it, and its not like she was that far away.

Sunset giraffes

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Safari Sunday: Grooming lions

Posted by barb on Mar 26, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

We saw prides of lions nearly every day in Botswana; however, it wasn’t until our fourth camp that we found male, maned lions. As we set out for our evening game drive our first night at Pom Pom Camp, the guide asked us what we wanted to see, and one of our truck-mates said he wanted to see maned lions. Ha, ha, as if we can just order up what we want to see, right?

We were in luck, though, because the male lions had left tracks and were in the area. The guide picked it up, and found them. I know a lot of this is luck and being in the right place at the right time, but it felt a bit like the guides were working magic.
We stopped near one of the lions, and the second one came up and started grooming the first. These two are brothers and they form a coalition. Together they hold the territory – fighting off rivals and mating with the females (apparently they will both mate with any female in heat – that way they don’t know which cubs belong to who).

While we were watching them groom, 10 feet away, Andrew started leaning closer to me. He was on the side of the truck near the lions, feeling as if his pasty-white legs were looking like a yummy meal. “Are you scared, Kuchling?” I asked, and giggled at him. Then, a few minutes later when the lions relocated, our truck pulled up and I was the one on the side of the lions. Suddenly I knew what he had been feeling! We had been this close to the female lion prides, but there was something about the males that was just that much more heart-stopping.

Grooming lions

Lion Coalition

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