Elephants! And a surprise…

This morning’s land safari had us up a bit earlier, waking to the fabulous coolness of the morning air, with breakfast at 0630 and climbing into the vehicle at 0700. It was the usual bone jarring ride to the park and it kept on rattling us the entire morning, but worth it. On the road just inside the park we saw our first elephants of the day crossing the road as we had yesterday. That was just a drop in the bucket to what we eventually saw. Just a bit further along we came across 4 giraffes grazing on tree tops. They didn’t stay long once we approached. As we continued we saw more birds such as double banded sand fowls, crested Franklins and hammer cocks. Eventually we spotted two fish eagles, an adult and a juvenile, resting high up in the branches of a dead tree. Gave them a great view.


As we drove along a road a bit above the water we could look over and see what looked like a bunch of rocks in the water but in reality was a huge pod of hippos all clumped together. 


We drove on quite a ways until we finally saw two female lions resting in the shade under some bushes. We watched for quite some time but the most action we saw was a few lifts of their heads. It was already hot so I didn’t blame them for staying still. I didn’t want to move either except to try to feel a bit of a breeze while we were parked. We decided to carry on once nothing was occurring and an excellent thing that we did, as we then came across five other female lions and….. Surprise!……3 lion cubs!!! They, too, were resting in the shade of bushes. So unbelievably cute. The first and only cubs we saw.


By then it was time to move along and that’s when we crossed and crossed and crossed the paths of hundreds and hundreds of elephants. Females, juveniles and babies of all sizes. They were all heading toward the water en masse. It was incredible to be in the middle of all those animals seemingly with a single mind. I never seen to tire of watching them. They are such clever creatures and it’s charming  see how close the young ones stay to their mothers.


And then it was time to head back to the lodge for a bit of a break and lunch prior to going out for our final safari, a water safari. We were 8 riding off, Dana and me, the two women from Portugal, Sylvia and Peter, Marion and a newly arrived couple from Cleveland, Jim and Janice. We did the jostling ride down to the boat and all climbed in. Simon headed the boat out to see what awaited us. We spotted a crocodile near some of the birds we liked to watch, including the yellow billed storks and ibises. One ibis managed to briefly snag a small snake, shake it around a bit, then let it lose. It kept pacing around it but never picked it up again. That’s not their normal diet, I’m told. 



We passed a group of cape buffalo, with several sparring and one wallowing in the mud. And then we were excited to see a group of elephants debating about crossing a channel which would move them from Botswana to Namibia. The wonderful thing is that the countries haves no borders for the animals so they may move and migrate as they are accustomed to do. Eventually, after quite a bit of waffling the group decided upon making the crossing. It was amusing to watch as they pushed forward all tightly pressed together, with trunks up like periscopes.



After that our fun continued as we spotted a hippo out if the water and grazing. Once again, an odd thing for the time of day. Well, if that wasn’t peculiar enough, a second hippo decided to join him. Out of the water he lumbered but he didn’t start grazing until he finished his spinning tail/pooping number. No fish bones seen anywhere!


When we  began heading back we were lucky to see a group of red lechwe and puku. Both sightings special to the aquatic area. 


But best if all was our final African sunset complete with our Sundowner drinks. The sunsets in Africa are especially memorable, with the sun a huge orange ball with clear, cloudless skies.  We witnessed a spectacular display, silhouetting trees, elephants, buffalo, and birds. What a marvelous way to end our final safari.


Then it was to shore, climbing back in for our ride to the lodge and one last dinner together. We were treated to an elephant show at the water hole in front of out dining terrace that amused us no end. Then, to our surprise, the staff came out singing and dancing. What a finale!

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