Readers’ wildlife photos

July 27, 2023 • 8:15 am

I have many promises from readers to send photos in, but I haven’t called in the promissory notes. Do send me any good wildlife photos you have.

Today we have part 4 of Tony Eales’s recent safari to Botswana (part 1 is here, part 2 is here, and part 3 is here). To me this is the culmination: Victoria Falls!

Tony’s narrative is indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

Safari Part IV: Chobe and Victoria Falls

Chobe is an amazing national park famous for its large population of elephants and having lions that specialise in hunting elephants:

Our best viewings of wildlife were along the Chobe River, the south side of which is in Botswana and the opposite shore, Namibia. Young giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis ssp. giraffa) sparring on the banks of the Chobe River.

And young impala (Aepyceros melampus) also sparring:

From the high banks we could watch giant herds of buffalo:

The riverbank also had a large troop of chacma baboons (Papio ursinus ssp. griseipes) allowing close up views of family like and squabbles.

And by the riverside the sunsets were amazing as the large mammals started to get active again:

On the Zimbabwe border we bid farewell to our guides and safari truck and after processing we got into a minibus and went to the tourist township of Victoria Falls. Several of the group decided to hire a taxi together and visit the falls that afternoon. The entrance had long lines and where the taxi dropped us hawkers came and asked us if we wanted to hire a raincoat for 3USD. Most were thinking “How wet can it really be?” but I thought that it was probably a good idea and in the end we all hired raincoats. The entrance looked cheesy with faux rocks and vines rendered in concrete giving it a bit of a discount Flintstones look, and entry for foreigners was an eyewatering 50USD each. We got in and went through the kiosk and gift store, following the rising sound of the falls and the ever-present sound of helicopters.

All I can say is that $50 seems cheap now, the first glimpses of the falls were jaw-dropping. we looked out on massive thundering falls with unmeasurable amounts of water plummeting into invisible depths, obscured as the bottom was by the clouds of spray. Above it all a great rainbow.

Picking up our jaws from the floor we soon realised that this represented perhaps a tenth of the falls and only the first of some 20 odd viewing spots along about a kilometre and a half of cliff-face that looked across directly at the face of the falls.

We were all giggling and babbling, almost running from one viewing spot to the next, through a rainforest created entirely by the spray of the falls:

Each viewing spot got progressively more of the spray until the last spot was basically like a tropical downpour:

And that was the trip.  We saw so much wildlife, experienced a world very different from the one I grew up with or that I see represented anywhere on tv or in the media and marvelled at landscapes at once familiar but also alien.

I’ve travelled a lot of the world and you could say that about anywhere, the world is a wonderful and awe-inspiring place but even so, there’s something extra special about sub-Saharan Africa that’s not like anything I’ve seen before. What a place!

12 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. You picked a good time of year to visit the Falls. Go in April and there is so much water you can’t see much for all the spray, and go in October and it’s a bit dribbly on the Zambian side.

  2. Beautiful, beautiful photos. I must say, whenever I see scenes of Africa like this, I definitely get a (possibly delusional) primal feeling that, yes, this IS the natural homeland from which my ancestors came. It feels different from other places.

  3. Probably the best spot for rainbows I’ve ever seen, including a miniature one that I could reach out and touch.

  4. I went to the Victoria Falls 30 years ago and I still think they are the most amazing site I have seen in nature. I clearly remember, just like you, the sense of awe when I saw the first stretch of falls, followed by the stunning realization that I had been looking a fraction of their expanse. The combination of sight, sound and spray was an overwhelming assault on my senses.

    I don’t remember what it cost to enter but I do remember getting there early in the morning, before the gates had opened, and climbing over them because I didn’t want to miss sunrise. When I left, I admitted to what I had done and paid my entry fee. It was worth it!

  5. You saved the best for last…for us readers and for you adventurer. Thanks for this post and all the preceding in this Africa-set. Memorable and amazing. African sunset shots…damn, only happens in Africa. A stupid sentence, but “only in Africa” has special meaning, I think.

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