After the post about Hippo aggression I thought you might like to see the calmer side of the Chobe river. I have included images from our dawn and and dusk outings. We are usually back at the lodge between 10h00 and 15h00 getting some sustenance, relaxing and editing.
Each morning we would get together around 06h15 for a cup of coffee and a rusk. Of course, all the photographers had their kit loaded on the boat just after 06h00 and were chatting by the time coffee arrived.
Dawn is a time when nothing breathes, the hour of silence.
Everything is transfixed, only the light moves.
We usually pushed off from the jetty at 6h30. The sun was still behind the ridge at the entrance to the park on the east side of the river as we travelled south. The next image shows the peace and tranquility of the river caressed by the early morning’s soft pastel colours. This image was taken just passed the army camp travelling up stream.
One of the advantages of being on the Chobe river at this time of the year is that there was a lot of cloud build up. The next two images were taken down near the first bend where the pump draws water. The shafts of light shining luminescent through clouds were magical. Thanks to Louis Swart for lending me his 14-24mm lens to get the shot.
“I see my light coming shining from the east into the west”
Early in the morning as we entered the Chobe National Park, there were times when the river was sublimely serene. The water could be so still that its surface was mirror-like reflecting the warm pastel colours of the early morning sky. It is times like this when I am in heaven on earth.
‘Silence is a source of great strength’
Passing through the first bend, where there are remains of a dilapidated camp under the trees, we often see at least one pair of Pygmy Geese as we travel west passed the island to the open part of the river.
Pygmy geese, or ‘pocket rockets’ as we call them take off without warning and fly very fast challenging photographers’ tracking skills, certainly on the first few days, until you get your eye in. Having said they give no warning, normally the female in the pair takes off first so you need to focus on the male.
It is unusual to see an Elephant drinking first thing in the morning. They usually come down to drink later in the day.
Just before we get to the Chobe Game Lodge there is a open area which gets flooded in the high water season. Often we see Buffalo, Puku and Lechwe in this area.
Travelling further upstream passed the Chobe Game Lodge we get to Elephant Ally on the left hand side.
Beyond Elephant Ally travelling west we have Puku Flats in front of us. We returned to where we saw the dead hippo calf to see if there had been any developments.
The water inlets along the edge of Puku Flats are covered in water lilies and depending on the wind and the direction of the light you can get some gorgeous images. In the next image, the light was in the right direction but the wind was also behind us.“if you want to know where your heart is look where your mind goes when it wanders”
The next image was taken in the same inlet along Puku Flats that afternoon looking south-east. Again the wind was blowing from behind us lifting the water lily leaves.
The water around this next water lily looks like a mirror. That is how still parts of the river can be at times.
” The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep.”
This time of the year delivers major cumulus cloud buildup with some enormous upthrusts creating plumes of sun drenched clouds pushing up miles into the sky.
Home time for a small flock of White-faced Whistling Ducks. When I look at this image, I can hear them whistling while flying in formation.
The sun peering through the clouds adds drama with a sense of divine light beaming down onto the river.
The park closes at 18h30, so this boat is on its way back to the lodges, which are about three kilometres further downstream.
Some evenings there are no vibrant reds and oranges but rather saturated light pinks, peaches and blues.
Other evenings are bathed in blues and oranges with the setting sun shining a golden path over the water.
This next image was taken on the way back to the lodge around 18h30 travelling passed the Namibian camp on stilts.
The clouds really do help provide drama to the colourful sunsets on the Chobe.
The next four images are of the iconic three Jackalberry trees at the tip of one of the large islands where the western limb of the river meets the main channel as it flows passed the lodges. A pair of Fish Eagles have their nest in the third Jackalberry. Lillac-breasted Rollers have their nest and seem to habitat the first Jackalberry. These trees don’t seem to mind having their feet permanently in the water.
The colours and moods are different each evening. Sometimes there is no sunset due to thick cloud cover. Other evenings the sky is on fire with colour.
I hope I have given you a sense of the different moods of the river which vary each day and are quite different in the morning and the afternoon.
Looking back at the Jackalberry trees at 18h30, we are putting the covers on our lenses, the chatter is animated and I can already taste that first beer after a hot afternoon – gulp!!.
” Life is like a camera.
just focus on what’s important,
capture the good times, develop from the negatives.
If things don’t work out, just take another shot”
Seek to understand nature, marvel at its interconnectedness and then let it be