Saturday, January 16, 2016

Botswana and Chobe Dec 2015

A nice shot of an elephant along the road.  In Botswana, there are fewer fences to keep the animals inside game reserves.

We tried to find the "Reptile Footprints" as noted on the atlas in the NW corner of South Africa near the Botswana border crossing of Pontdrif.  The closest we could find was a crocodile farm where the mark was.  Nobody around here knew anything about fossils or reptile footprints.  
This old truck was on the grounds of the Rathco crocodile farm and Jason looks like he is driving it away.   If we'd known this place had accommodation the night before, we'd have stayed here in the nice tents.  It's right by one of the remote Botswana border crossings.  If the river is dry at the crossing, you can drive across.  Otherwise, people are ferried across on a pontoon, but cars aren't allowed.
A bush baby in a cage at the crocodile farm.  Such big eyes to see better at night.
Donkeys are a lot more common here than we've seen anywhere else.  Very few can afford horses and the donkeys forage along the roads like the cattle.  Donkey carts are still a viable vehicle to carry people and things around here in Botswana.

A butt shot of a giraffe heading away.  They are skittish and tend to head off when approached.

A millipede all curled up.  The feather is just for a size reference.

Here he runs away on all his legs.

Jason outside our Thebe River Safaris lodging, waiting for our pickup to go on a game drive.

A spotted hyena in Chobe Reserve.  This one has a tracking collar on it.  Others in the pack were mating as we drove up. 

Another hyena.

When the ears flap out, they are annoyed.  Time to move along, people.

A monkey with a suckling baby.  They were at a stop by the river and came down out of the trees as people left to see if there were any goodies left behind.

Baboons grooming in the bush.  Male, female and the little baby baboon--what a cute family photo.

 A banded mongoose in a field.  There were lots of them in this one area.
The blue-headed guinea fowl.  The speckled feathers and blue heads make this a strangely colorful bird.  They are kind of stupid and skittish, though.

Another magnificent mammal.
This herd was splashing themselves in a watering hole. 
This big bull elephant stood off by himself while the others splashed and played.
The sand roads in the Chobe National Park.  Only 4WD vehicles are allowed on the roads in here.
The herd of cape buffalo that attracted a pride of lions.  We abandoned the game drive on the designated road and rushed over to this open area to see if the lions would attack one of the buffalo.
Tough to discern, there is a lion sitting in the middle of this shot.  I eventually spotted at least eight of them in the scrubby bush, watching the herd and waiting.

The herd began to move away and we came to realize we wouldn't see an attack today.  Too many tourists in safari vehicles between this herd and the lions.

The safari vehicles lined up on the road to watch the lions.  They just lounged and watched and walked around a bit, but no big action ensued.  Too much of an audience, perhaps?
Several lions are in this photo, but they camoflage very well.
The impala are lion food in the park.  They are everywhere!

A male impala with nice curved horns mixes with the elephants.
The horns across the top of the cape buffalo's head are made of keratin, the same stuff as our fingernails. Don't butt heads with this guy.
 Our last night in Botswana, we spent in a tent.  These are permanent tents on concrete slabs and they have electricity and fans in them.  Not really roughing it too much.  Just had to hike across the gravel to the toilets and showers.
 I love these traffic signs.  We saw them for warthogs, tortoises, cows, elephants and other wild animals.
 The Limpopo River is the border between Botswana and South Africa.  This big semi truck seemed a bit heavy for the one-lane bridge limit, but we made it across after he passed with no problem.
 The line of trucks waiting to cross the border.  Being a trucker here would not be much fun.  They wait for hours in lines.

But we zipped on through and were back in South Africa and headed on to more adventures in that country before we headed back to the boat.

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