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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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Safari Sunday: Kudu with their bird friends

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

On our first game drive in Chobe, one of the antelope we saw was kudu. Many of them had bird friends who I assume eat insects off of them. Not much else to say about them, but love the goofy looks on their faces.

Hello Kudu!

Kudu

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Safari Sunday: Troublemaking lion cub

Posted by barb on Aug 6, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

On one of our game drives at Pom Pom Camp in the Okavango Delta, we came across a pride of females and their young cubs eating a kudu. One of the cubs, though, wasn’t interested in just sitting around and eating. Instead he prowled around, tried chewing on the kudu’s ear, went after the horn, and crawled over the other lions. Of course this one was my favorite.

Fierce Lion Cub< Troublemaker

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Safari Sunday: an elephant in a river

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

On our full day at Kwara Camp in the Okavango Delta we took a boat trip to an island meant for birders. On our way there, our guide spied this guy down a side channel. He was not happy that we were there. He kept a close eye on us and the whole time we were there, and swished his trunk through the water.

Elephant in the water

Elephant in the water

Elephant in the water

Elephant in the water

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Safari Sunday: who needs Shark Week when you have crocodiles?

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

On our boat cruise on the Chobe River, we spied crocodiles eating *something* down the river. It wasn’t until we got close that we realized it was an elephant’s trunk. (Which explained the elephant carcass we saw without a trunk up the river – phew, stinky!) It was fascinating to watch them eat – there were at least 5 crocodiles going at it, and at one point one tried to make a break with the trunk. The others were fast on his heels, though.

We moved on down the river, and on our way back, spied these crocs again, still going at it.

Crocodiles eating a trunk

Splashing crocs

Splashing crocs

Hello crocodile

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Safari Sunday: African painted dogs

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

After our morning mokoro ride, on our last day at Kwara Camp, our guide found a pack of the wild painted dogs hunting. This pair was lounging after the pack had snacked on two baby impalas (you can see some blood on their faces). The babies were a mere appetizer for them, and after a short rest, they set their sights on somewhat larger prey across a lagoon. We weren’t able to follow, because the land belonged to another camp. Just as well – I didn’t need to see them take down an antelope!

A pair of wild dogs

A pair of wild dogs

Vicious!

Wild dog

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Safari Sunday: rock paintings

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

We stayed at our last camp, Nxamaseri (pronounced with a click for the ‘x’), for their proximity and day trips to Tsodilo Hills. The hills seem to arise out of nowhere and contain ancient rock art. The site is of great cultural significance to the Bushman. In fact, when we mentioned our next stop to our Bushman tracker in Nxai Pan, he repeated the name with a tone of reverence.

While there we saw paintings of exactly what you might expect in Southern Africa – giraffes, zebras, buffalo, antelope and rhino. However, we also saw a penguin and whale! Likely some traveler who wanted to memorialize the unusual animals they’d seen near the ocean.

Rock paintings

Rock paintings

Rhino painting

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Solo Play: Valley of the Kings Afterlife

Posted by barb on Jul 7, 2017 in Entertainment, Games

Valley of the Kings: Afterlife box

Up next on the solo-play list was Valley of the Kings: Afterlife. Valley of the Kings is a Egypt-themed deck-building game where you build-up your deck with purchases from a pyramid and then must destroy your deck strategically by entombing cards. Only cards in your tomb earn victory points.

There are three types of cards: starter cards, set cards, and unique cards. The starters are cards with low purchasing power but with actions that help you build up your deck with better cards. The set cards are cards have different themes, such as mummification, jewelry, and tomb art. Your score for each set is equal to the square of the number of unique cards in that set – duplicate cards are worth nothing. Unique cards are just that, one-of-a-kind cards available in the stock, each of which with it’s own victory point value.

In the solo variant, you play essentially as usual, but are attempting to entomb exactly a complete set of everything – your 10 starter cards, one of each of the set cards, and each of the unique cards. Any duplicates in your tomb count against you.

I came very close to winning, but I had one duplicate card in my tomb. It was my own fault. I made a conscious decision to have a duplicate because I thought I had a card that would let me essentially trade that for another card. Well, yes, I had such a card, but the duplicate that I put in my tomb didn’t meet the other conditions of the card that would let me trade it, so I was stuck with the duplicate entombed card.

It was a fun game; almost too easy. There is a harder variant, which I’ll likely try once I win the easy version once!

 
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Safari Sunday: a morning mokoro ride

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

On our second morning in Kwara Camp, we opted to go out on a short mokoro ride around the lagoon. Mokoros are flat-bottomed canoes that are used as transportation throughout the Okavango Delta. They are propelled by a poler who stands at the back of the canoe. That were traditionally made out of the trunk of a straight tree. However, due to the growing tourist industry, modern mokoros are made of fiberglass.

For our morning trek, we only went half-way around the lagoon. Our guide noticed a hippo on the other side of the lagoon who was known to be aggressive and was sporting a new scar. He decided to turn us around – better to just give that hippo a wide berth, than risk his wrath.

Morning mokoros

Morning mokoros

Morning mokoros

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Solo Play: Lost Woods

Posted by barb on Jun 29, 2017 in Entertainment, Games

Lost Woods

Next on my solo-play adventure was Lost Woods. Lost Woods is a map exploration game where adventurers collect gold and unique weapons all while defeating monsters and trying to avoid gold-stealing gnomes.

In the traditional multi-player game, each player is trying to escape the woods with the most gold. There is a cooperative variant which has players working together to ensure all 6 adventurers escape the woods with a minimum amount of gold. The co-op game adds the element of food, which counts down each round – run out of food, and you lose the game. The gnomes steal food instead of gold, and adventurers who lose fights against monsters must wait to be revived by a fellow adventurer, rather than simply losing a weapon and returning to the campsite.

For the solo-play variant, it’s played as the cooperative game, with the player controlling all of the adventurers. The adventurers must find one of the woods exits, battle the exit’s guardian, and then they all must exit with a minimum amount of collective gold before food runs out.

Blank character cards

Adventurers ready to go

It’s a fun single-player game. The added element of the food, and the danger of losing a fight (especially before you’ve uncovered the “revive” spell) makes it a challenge.

I ended up losing, but just barely. Most of my adventurers needed just one more round to get out of the exit, but there was one pair who would have needed an additional round to get out. I should have kept them all together better, I suppose.

Adventurer cards at the end of the game

Final woods layout

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