Chobe National Park, Botswana

Leaving southern Zambia, we crossed the Chobe River into northern Botswana.  That border is a happening place.  The only way from Zambia to Botswana at this particular border crossing is by ferry.  And definitely not the ferries we are accustomed to.  There were trucks packed into an area seemingly too small to maneuver.  We squeezed into the customs office in Zambia  for all of that official stamping.  We were dropped off with all our gear, piled onto a outboard motor boat and transported across.  Fortunately, Botswana does not require a visa for US residents so that customs stop was slightly less time consuming.

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Pretty much the first animal we saw was a giraffe.  One of our group, who had never been to Africa, desired very much to see wild giraffe.  She got her wish.  I have never seen so many giraffe as we did in Chobe. 

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Always bringing along their ‘groupies’, red billed oxpeckers.

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The camp we stayed at was high up on a ridge and looked out over the vast landscape below.  This was the view from my ‘porch’.  Smile

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The first evening was a game drive; strictly on land.

Red billed hornbills.  There are many kinds of hornbills and they are everywhere.

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Everybody’s favorite bird to photograph because of all its colors.  My goal is to catch one from the back, just as it has spread its wings for flight.  Needless to say, I have yet to achieve that!

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Good thing giraffe don’t have to drink that often….

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Because they’re necks are basically non existent, they frequently get down on their knees to eat and drink.  Do not be fooled…. they can stand up and run off in less than a heartbeat should a predator make its presence known.

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Baobobs everywhere.  I had no idea they could be so prevalent.

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This is my most favorite African bird.  I’m not sure why.  I guess because until I encountered them on my first trip, I had never seen a bird that looked anything like it.  They are waders and spend their days in shallow water searching for food.  This is the first time I’ve seen one in a tree although I’ve seen their enormous nests.  It’s called a hammerkop.  I even like the name.

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I’ve always wanted to see elephants swimming.  Seemed like no matter where we were, there were elephants preparing to swim, swimming, or just climbing out.

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Yellow billed hornbill in the middle of everything, having a little snack.

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Black backed jackals always seem to be on a mission.

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There was a giraffe carcass nearby.  Apparently died of natural causes, probably old age.  Many of you probably do not like the scavengers but I am fascinated by them.  So if you want to view my photos, you’ll have to tolerate my fondness for them.  This is mostly white backed vultures and maribou storks.

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Yellow billed stork

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Open billed stork.  Although I have seen them before, never in the numbers as on this trip.  It’s fascinating how many adaptations there are to feed on basically the same kinds of food.

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The light photographers like… the sun low on the horizon.

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This is a terrible photo but I’m including it because I want to describe the circumstance.  We were leaving the park, which you must do by nightfall, when we encountered this lion.  He was casually marking trees.  All vehicles stopped.  He then sauntered, and I mean sauntered, down the road toward us.  He walked between two vehicles, mine and another.  I could have reached out and touched him.  As he strolled by, he looked up.  I have seen a lot of lions.  This is the closest I have ever been, especially when one chooses to look directly at you.    This, more than any other sightings, truly made me aware of just how big they really are.  And I have never been so thrilled.

Anyway, it was almost completely dark, so I cranked up the ISO, and tried to get off at least one photo.  As dark as it was, with no lights on him, it was hard to focus.  This is the best of them.  Fortunately, the rangers at the gate were very accomodating and let us out with a smile.

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And this was just the first night.  I think this is going to be a long blog entry…

The following morning we came upon these youngsters.  Although we heard plenty at night, this was the only hyena we found.

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must be tasty…

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Very sleepy baboon… not an early riser probably.  These are chacma baboons and are much larger than the olive baboon of eastern Africa.DPP_1473DPP_1474DPP_1475DPP_1476

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damn… I just can’t stay awake.  Give me more of that sunlight.  I’ll get up when I’m warm (it is winter in the southern hemisphere).DPP_1478

Back for breakfast….

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This is the lappet faced vulture.  It is bigger than the white backed and will shortly show how king of the mountain is played.  In the meantime, these maribou storks had a brief falling out over something.  That’s the most action I’ve seen out of them.  Most of the time, they just stand around and…. wait.

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There’s my favorite bird, collecting feathers for its nest in the midst of all these vultures.

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Time to clean up and take a little nap.

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waterbuck

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side striped jackal!  never seen one before.

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So many elephants…..

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And so many crocodiles..

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and more hippos, of course.

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not pleased with our presence; would rather chew cud in peace..

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These kudu came down for a drink not far from a crocodile..

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By the way, the above photos were taken while on one of our boat trips.

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roan antelope.. these I’ve never seen before.  When we did see them, they were always in thickets, never out in the open.

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I left out the sable.  Also less accommodating than other antelope species.

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Lions!  We were fortunate enough to see lions here, the delta and the Kalahari.  We weren’t quite so fortunate with the other big cats.

Doing what they do best…. sleep.

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African darter, or snake bird.  They do look like snakes when they are fishing and surface.  We call this bird an anhinga.

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reed cormorant

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more bee eaters…

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A green backed heron; pretty sure it’s not a squacco.  Which ever it is, it is a small heron and not particularly bold as are many of its relatives.

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great egret

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hippos make such good perches

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These ‘masks’, along with many other wood sculpture, were made in Zimbabwe. These sad miserable faces are to remain until Mugabe is gone. Then masks that express happiness will be displayed.

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I forgot about these photos of this elephant calf trying to cover itself with dust as mom was doing so easily and calmly.  It was hard to get a clear picture because there was so much dust in the air.  You’ll notice that the calf has lost its tail.  That’s a lucky calf was so successfully protected by its herd, most probably.

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I think that’s it!  On to the Okavanga Delta.  Actually, both these areas more or less blend together.

4 thoughts on “Chobe National Park, Botswana

  1. Nancy, so many great shots, where do I begin. First up the rear view shot of the giraffe bending over for a drink, that stands out to me as a favourite. The elephant family walking beside the water with their reflections, and the waterbuck reflections, outstanding. I loved the shot of the warthog where you can see the motion in his right front leg and the panoramic shot with the single elephant and his trunk up. There is so many great shots. I have never seen and Open Billed Stork and Roan, well how lucky are you. Great close ups of the hyaena and I am so pleased you took your good camera on the boat to capture the elephants from the water. All outstanding. There was many more that stood out, but it’s your blog not mine, so I won’t write an essay. Outstanding Nancy and thank you.

  2. Nancy, I totally agree with Sandra’s assessment! As I was looking through your entry, I was so impressed with all your photos and marveled at the great number and variety of wildlife that you saw and photographed. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Darline

  3. Very cute, there is something about baby elephants and their look of clumsiness as they don’t seem to have gained control of their trunks. Beautiful. Wished I had been there.

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