Today we have part 2 of Tony Eales’s recent safari to Botswana (part 1 is here). Tony’s narrative is indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.
Botswana Safari Part II
After we left the Okavango Delta camp, we moved northeast into the Moremi Game Reserve, still mostly in the delta. Being winter, the nights were cold and mornings brisk but the days warmed up nicely. It was strange to Australian eyes to see a forest in a landscape much like Australia but with deciduous trees. There’s only one species of deciduous tree native to Australia so it looked very off to our eye. In addition, the forest looked like it had been trashed by heavy machinery and had regrown from broken trunks and suckers. Of course, the heavy machinery in question was elephants—major shapers of the habitat.
Here’s a baby begging for food from mum. There were so many baby elephants around when we were there all of them acting in the most cute and silly ways:
Moremi was perhaps my favourite place, it was varied with pools and swamps as part of the delta as well as large grasslands, forests and thickets. one shallow waterhole in particular was a haven for birdlife with two species of pelicans and African Skimmers (Rynchops flavirostris) both of which were on my bucket list for Africa. here’s a shot of a skimmer with Great White Pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus) in the background:
It was here that I realised that if you looked closely at most of these large waterholes, you’d see the eyes and nose of (Southern African) Nile Crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus ssp. cowiei) poking out. We also saw many out basking on the banks.
Also nearby, we got great close-up views of the famous Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumenifer):
Close to the Third Bridge Camp Site we saw zebra (Chapman’s Zebra Equus quagga ssp. chapmani), wildebeests (Connochaetes taurinus ssp. taurinus), ostriches (Struthio camelus ssp. australis) and a lone young spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) moving quickly through:
My son—this trip was a combined 18th and 21st present for him—was absolutely in love with the mongooses. We mainly saw Banded Mongoose (Mungos mungo ssp. ngamiensis) and Slender Mongoose (Herpestes sanguineus):
And of course, no one can leave a safari without the obligatory photo of the Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus ssp. caudatus). A jaw-droppingly beautiful bird.