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Safari Sunday: Not-safe-for-work

Posted by barb on Mar 19, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

On our first game drive at Kwara Camp in the Okavango Delta, our guide seemed to drive straight to this pair of mating leopards. Apparently on their morning drive, the guide and tracker had heard the sounds of the leopards, but had to call off their search to get their guests to the airstrip on time. So, they knew the general area where the leopards should be. The leopards were still there in the evening.
We learned that leopards mate for about 5 days straight. Over that time, they mate on average once every 15 minutes (!). We watched for at least a half hour, and they went at it 3-4 times while we were there. It is very violent – in my pictures of the female, I can see lots of fresh wounds. In fact, after the session pictured here, my pictures showed a brand new wound on her head from that bite. It is very quick, but also very painful for the female.

After we’d had our fill, the guide told the other trucks from our camp where the leopards were. Once another truck arrived, we moved on.

Moment of agony

Mating leopards

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Safari Sunday: The time I saw into an elephant’s soul (and she saw into mine)

Posted by barb on Mar 12, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

This was the only picture I needed to make the safari worth it. Honestly, even without the picture, the experience alone was enough – the proof of the experience is just the icing. It is by far my favorite of the 10,000+ pictures that we took.

We had found a group of elephants in Chobe, so we pulled over near where they would cross the road. One of the elephants took a few quick steps toward the truck – it was heart stopping (and our guide had his hand on the ignition, ready to get us out if necessary). When she stopped, she was no more than 15 feet away, and she and I looked into each other’s eyes…or that’s what it felt like.

This picture is not cropped and was not taken with the full zoom of my lens. I took exactly one picture, then put the camera down to take in the moment.

Seeing her soul

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Safari Sunday: A grumpy hippo

Posted by barb on Mar 5, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

I’m pretty sure every puddle that can support a hippo in Botswana *has* a hippo – and don’t be fooled if you don’t see one!

Our guide found this guy hanging out in a small pond near our camp in Kwara. He pulled up close to the pond so that we could get a few pictures. Unfortunately, the hippo wasn’t very happy with our truck sitting so close to his pond. He stood up, turned around, and looked at us annoyed (all the while keeping his mouth as much in the water as possible, which struck me as weird). Finally, he decided we weren’t moving, got up and walked out of the pond toward the nearby trees.

Hippo in a pond

Hippo in a pond

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Safari Sunday: Tsessebe mama and baby

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

We saw many different types of antelope in #Botswana – the tsessebe showed up at Kwara in the Okavango Delta. We saw several on our first game drive – those, though, were hiding and running from the wild dogs. We found this pair on our second day, fortunately no where near the dogs…

Tsessebe and baby

Tsessebe and baby

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Safari Sunday: A little troublemaker

Posted by barb on Feb 19, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

On one of our game drives at Pom Pom Camp in the Okavango Delta, we came upon a pride of lions eating a kudu. There were a couple of lionesses along with their young ranging in age from about 7-8 months up to a couple years old.

While the rest of the pride was feasting, this little one was trying to chew on one of the horns. He also tried to go after the ear, but it seemed too tough for his little teeth. At one point, another of the lions walked by and he swiped at their legs. Clearly, this little guy was the troublemaker in the group!

Chewing on the horns

Chewing on the horns

Chewing on the horns

Chewing on the horns

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Safari Sunday: An African painted dog

Posted by barb on Feb 12, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

Going into our trip, I didn’t know what our prospects of seeing the wild dogs would be – they are endangered and only a few hundred remain in Botswana. However, we caught a pile of them when we were leaving Chobe, and then found a couple (?) packs at Kwara.

They are beautiful but deadly. We first spied them hunting antelope who were trying to use the reeds as cover. The dogs hop as they run along so that they can see over the reeds and find their prey. They also make quick work of their prey once it’s down. As much as I wanted to pet them, I’m sure I would have lost a limb (or more) if I tried!

Lounging wild dogs

Lounging wild dogs

Lounging wild dogs

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Safari Sunday: Elephants at the end of the rainbow

Posted by barb on Feb 5, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

Better than a pot ‘o’ gold!

It was threatening rain on our first game drive at Kwara Camp in the Okavango Delta. I think we ended up with a few drops, but then it cleared up with the most beautiful rainbow stretching across the entire sky. #SafariSunday

Check out the rainbow picture full screen to pick out the elephants.

Elephant rainbow

Rainbow elephants

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Safari Sunday: “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas…only a hippopotamus will do…”

Posted by barb on Dec 25, 2016 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

It’s Christmas and #SafariSunday, what could be better than a hippo picture? How about a *baby* hippo picture??

On our first river cruise, we quickly learned to expect amazing things. Before we’d been out on the boat even 15 minutes our guide spied this little hippo eating grass on a small rock outcropping. We kept a respectful distance, acutely aware that Mama was watching us the entire time. Before too long, she hopped back in the river and spied at us from behind Mama. (I don’t know that the baby is a girl, but just decided it was a girl – I do that a lot with the babies we saw on this trip.)

The baby is about 4 months old. The moms keep the babies away from the rest of the pod for the first six months or so. These two were still separated. Fun fact that the guide told us: baby hippos can nurse underwater.

Yum!

Baby hippo on the rocks

Baby peeking over mama

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Safari Sunday: Tiny baby baboon

Posted by barb on Dec 18, 2016 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

These were taken on our first game drive at the Chobe Elephant Camp. Our guide thought this little one was just a few days old, and the guide seemed to marvel over this tiny baby baboon. We sat and watched him crawl over his mom for several minutes.
Anytime we found something that even the guide was impressed by or marveling over, I knew we were seeing something special.

Newborn baboon

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Safari: Nxamaseri Day 2

Posted by barb on Nov 28, 2016 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

Today was our full day at Nxamaseri, and we took off early to drive to Tsodilo Hills. We had another couple with us for the drive. It was about an hour and a half drive – in the states it probably would have been less than an hour, but the roads we were taking were mostly dirt. I think we had about 10km on a paved road, but those are rare in Botswana.

Tsodilo Hills

Barb at Tsodilo Hills

When we arrived at the site, we split up from the other couple, each of us with an additional guide from the site itself, along with our Nxamaseri Camp guide. They took one look at my booted foot, and decided that Andrew and I should take the easier trail. Unfortunately that meant we didn’t get to see as much, but I understood the decision. Even at that, there was one cave that I couldn’t go into – or rather, I probably could have gotten in, but I wasn’t confident I could get out again.

Our guide demonstrates the game to Andrew

We took a path along the base of one of the hills – the Mother. Along the way, our guide would stop at various tableaus to show us the paintings. The paintings weren’t exactly dense anywhere that we looked, but they were quite different from the ones I’ve seen in the Southwest. Rather than horses and desert animals, these paintings featured giraffes, rhinos, buffalo (okay, there might have been those in the Southwest), and antelope.

Rock paintings

In one place, there was even a whale and penguin. The hypothesis is that a traveler came through and wanted to share what they had seen at the coast.

Penguin and whale rock art

The final paintings we saw were the rhinos. Sadly, these were the only rhinos we got to see on our trip.

Rhino painting

Tsodilo Hills was well worth the trip. If we ever go again, I’ll try to have a healthy foot, and insist that we do one of the other trails. And there were many trails.

We opted out of the evening boat trip in favor of just relaxing in the lodge on our last night in Botswana. I knew I would miss Botswana – our whole trip was so amazing that I knew that safari would lodge itself in my blood. I hope we get to go back someday.

Fire at the lodge

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