IT CAN ONLY HAPPEN ON AN EXPLORER TRIP
Shortly after landing at the airstrip, we saw some vultures soaring and plummeting within the vicinity. Upon closer invistigation, we saw them feeding on a dead elephant carcass.We saw just about all the vulture species at the feeding:spot, lappetfaced, whitebacked, hooded and whiteheaded.
The first night we experienced a thunderstorm in the heart of the Okavango Delta. As it is the norm, the following day we saw a tsessebe antelope with a newly born calf. Most antelope species tend to give birth after the first the rains in Botswana and in Southern Africa.
We also saw a lion pride (3 lionesses and 5 cubs) sleeping on an island. We then returned in the late afternoon when it was cool to observe their interaction.We had an opportunity to see them socialising and later stalked and chased a giraffe. However, they couldn’t match the giraffe’s pace of acceleration as it simply outpaced them and crossed the depeer floodplain. The lions got back to the original spot and went up a dry leadwood tree to scan the area for any available prey species.We watched the three lionesses and 2 cubs playing up a tree for some time before spotting a kudu antelope.They quickly came down and started stalking, although their chase was unsuccessful.
A sighting of an adult bull elephant shaking a real fan palm tree to get the fruits is worth mentioning. The way they do it is amazing as they don’t even bring the tree down.On the night drive, we saw a male lion moving and calling at the same time.There were also some frequent sightings of lesser bushbabies very close to us. Their big eyes were constantly flashed by our flashlight.
On the way to the airstrip, we saw the lion pride again with some of the members that were missing. In total there were 4 lionesses and 7 cubs, all lying down next to a dry mudhole. Our flight to Khwai had some wonderful sightings to view up in the air. Concentrations of buffalos, hippos, elephants etc. could be seen from the air. As for the general scenery, it is indescribable.
While at Khwai, our whole afternoon drive was spent watching a female leopard. We first spotted her up a tree and watched as she came down. She tried to stalk the red lechwe antelopes which quickly spotted her and thwarted her intentions by alarming. She then gave up and headed towards the river for a drink and went up a tree again.
At Savute we watched a lion pride of three lionesses and three cubs sleeping on the edge of the marsh.The cubs started playing with a round, dry elephant dropping. It was also interesting to see a male steenbok feeding on an elephant dropping. It is uncommon to see this behaviour being exhibited by the steenbok antelopes as compared to other antelope species.Sightings of bull elephants on top of the hills were very common.We were very lucky to view a male leopard up a tree but slightly far away from the road.
On the afternoon drive, we also saw another male leopard up bushman painting hill.We could hear him feeding although we were not sure what he has killed. At Serondela, while having lunch, we saw a lionesses hunting giraffes but missed. Thereafter, she followed tsessebes and also missed. The following day we had a brief sighting of a male lion, 2 lionesses and 2 cubs. They then disappeared in the woolly caper bushes. In the afternoon, the boat ride gave us an unparalleled experience. We saw breeding herds of elephants crossing Chobe river from Botswana to Namibia. Sightings of buffalos, hippos, crocodiles, waterbucks, lots of birds etc. were seen in abundance.Chobe river is one of the best areas in Botswana to view hippos out of the river during daylight in large numbers.
On the way to the camp we saw 2 lionesses moving away from the river with full bellies. It seemed like they drank some water and went back to the kill larea.This is the very best of Chobe National Park.
Posted: Botswana Expedition by Keiditsemang Jeremiah Gabogolelwe, Date: 22 October 2011