Chobe game drive by boat

This is the sixth post from our recent trip to the Chobe river with CNP Safaris.

Omnia vivunt, omnia inter se conexa
Everything is alive; everything is interconnected.”
–  Cicero

A small group of Waterbuck had been left behind on one island in the Chobe river. The rest of the herd had crossed the channel leaving these three to look anxiously after them. The channel was about thirty metres wide. These stragglers were very wary and kept looking at the water knowing only too well what was lurking beneath its surface.

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On our first evening as we were making our way out of the park and in the rapidly fading light when we came across this pride of Lions. Most of them were youngsters and they were accompanied by two or three lionesses but no adult males that we saw.

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These Lions had come down to the river to drink and were probably hanging around knowing that other animals would do the same, so it was just a matter of waiting. The darker it got, the greater their advantage because of their excellent night vision.

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Down at Elephant Valley, we found this lone Black-backed Jackal scouting the area and getting chased off by some Sable Antelope for his efforts.

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This Black-backed Jackal was persistent if nothing else, but his scavenging did not yield any results while we were watching it.

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“Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.”

~Aldo Leopold

These Giraffe were on the eastern Botswana bank of the Chobe river.  The shadows falling behind them indicated that it was the afternoon. They are normally very cautious when going down to drink because they have to spread their forelegs to be able to reach the water even with their long necks. Once their front legs are spreadeagled they are very vulnerable. They were even more cautious because of this spot. Not only did they have to watch for crocodiles but the thickets behind them were good ambush spots.

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We found this young crocodile sunning itself on a the grass-lined bank down at Pygmy Geese corner.

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Also down at Pygmy Geese corner, we found a small group of old “dagga boys”, old Buffalo bulls which had separated from the herd. This character was enjoying is afternoon salad with a Cattle Egret and African Jacana for company. They were benefiting from all the insects he disturbed as he browsed the salad bar.

“Life just seems so full of connections.  Most of the time we don’t even pay attention to the depth of life.  We only see flat surfaces.”
~ Colin Neenan

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We saw quite a few Giraffe next to the river. When a Giraffe is finished drinking, we often wait a fraction because as it lifts its head it usually flicks water from its mouth creating a distinctive arc – that is the shot. This character was not a particularly masterful “flicker”.

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It is very seldom you will see a Leopard along the Chobe river. This was my third time in seven years. On this particular occasion it was late afternoon when this Leopard came down to the river to drink.

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This solitary female Leopard jumped onto a large weathered Jackalberry fallen tree trunk. It was a perfect posing position but the light was almost gone.

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“As the natural world grows smaller, so too does its intensity and the size of the window through which it may be viewed.”
~Fennel Hudson

The Nikon D810 does an admirable job of capturing a reasonable image of the subject even in low light. We could not manoeuvre into a better position to improve the perspective as there were quite a few boats with the same idea.

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Another afternoon down at Pygmy Geese bend, we found the same group of Buffalo bulls grazing on the grass and aquatic vegetation next to the river. This old “dagga boy” seemed to be unfazed by the young crocodile sunning itself on a small grassed island next to him. Neither creature seemed too concerned about the other. The young crocodile had its mouth open to thermo-regulate and the Buffalo was quite content to munch away at the vegetation while standing in the cool water.

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“When we try to pick anything out by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”
~ John Muir

One afternoon while we were editing our images back at the lodge. Fellow photographer, Louis called us to come a see a rock python which had caught and killed a stray cat. This was the second time this had happened in ten days, according to the lodge staff. There were quite a few stray cats around the lodge and they could often be seen wandering around in the stream below the walkway between the hospitality area and the rooms. What I find incredible is that this python had been clandestine and fast enough to ambush a young cat.

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A family of Kudu down near Elephant Valley drinking from the river. The bank was quite steep at this spot so I was surprised the Kudu drank from here as it was a ideal ambush spot for a crocodile. Thankfully the Kudu sated their thirst and moved on unharmed.

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Down river just above the rapids, we found this Cattle Egret on an ideal perch  to hawk insects.

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This Hippo was showing us that we were in his space and that we should move on.

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The “yawn warn” worked, he got peace and we moved on.

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“We are members of a vast cosmic orchestra, in which each living instrument is essential to the complimentary and harmonious playing of the whole.”
~ J. Allen Boone

The Baboon troop leader having a finger lunch.

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We saw our lone “Leopardess” again two mornings later around 8h30 in more or less the same spot down near Puku Flats. It was a fleeting glimpse and she melted away into the undergrowth.

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This male Baboon was getting sleepy in the afternoon sun and yawned showing off his massive canines and a few other things!!.

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“At the deepest level of ecological awareness you are talking about spiritual awareness.  Spiritual awareness is an understanding of being imbedded in a larger whole, a cosmic whole,  of belonging to the universe.”
Fritjof Capra

You can see this youngster’s mother was also quite snoozy in the hot afternoon sun, but her baby was bright eyed, bushy tailed and looking very serious.

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A young mother was taking no chances crossing a small channel, which had a little water in it. They know what lurks beneath the water surface.

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Upstream at Elephant Valley, this Kudu bull was very interested in a Kudu female who was trying to have a drink of water in peace while keeping a look out for crocodiles.

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“The only good cage is an empty cage.”
Lawrence Anthony, The Elephant Whisperer

Quite human-like, except for the Elephant dung bit!

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While its mother was drinking, this youngster was using her as a “Jungle Jim”.

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“The deeper we look into nature, the more we recognize that it is full of life, and the more profoundly we know that all life is a secret and that we are united with all life that is in nature.  Man can no longer live his life for himself alone.  We realize that all life is valuable and that we are united to all this life.  From this knowledge comes our spiritual relationship with the universe.”
Albert Schweitzer

Explore, seek to understand, marvel at its inter-connectedness and let it be.

Have fun,

Mike

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