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One of the most memorable half hours I’ve ever spent on safari was watching this herd of buffalo cross the Okavango Delta. It was just before sunset and the light was soft and magical, what John Steinbeck liked to call, “the hour of the pearl”. We approached the buffalo herd downwind so they couldn’t pick up our scent, but they were aware of our presence. The larger, stronger animals came to the front of the herd and made a living wall between us and the smaller and weaker buffalo. There they stood, trying to see us (they have bad vision) and smell us, and we sat back taking it all in, enjoying this magnificent spectacle of nature!
(Click on thumbnails to …
One of the iconic symbols of Africa is the baobob tree (although a species of it also grows in Australia). Shaped somewhat like a bottle, with a broad trunk and sharply narrowed top, the trees can reach up to 30 meters (100′) in height and can hold lots of water — a distinctive advantage in the dry season. They are said to be long-lived, perhaps even thousands of years old if left undisturbed (although they are not that well studied and rarely survive to old age in continental Africa). Baobob trees have a short leaf season and most often you’ll see the trees without any leaves.
It’s a bit of a thrill to see these trees, not unlike seeing a …
As another year is ready to fade into the history books and a new one about to begin, I thought it appropriate to end this year’s “Pic of the Week” series with a few beautiful, tropical sunset photos. These were taken in Botwsana’s Okavango Delta, at Sandibe, which I’ve written about before and you can read more about here. The photos were taken during a boat cruise on the waterways of the Okavango Delta.
I wish all of you the very best during this Holiday Season and a wonderful and travel-filled 2014!!
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)
I’d first heard about papyrus when studying the history of ancient Egypt. It was the paper equivalent of the old Egyptians, although rough and not easy to write on, and brittle. Papyrus was used to produce scrolls thousands of years ago as we today would use paper to record modern text. Papyrus was also used to construct boats, baskets, mats and other household products.
Papyrus is a tall plant growing in abundance not only the Nile Delta but also in the Okavango Delta. It’s a tall plant extending about 2 meters above the water level. If you cut across its long axis, you’ll readily see how useful it could be.
We were going on an evening boat ride through a narrow …
Giraffes are almost as entertaining as elephants. Seemly awkward with their thin spindly legs, halting gait and l-o-n-g necks, they have a gentle nature that I find appealing. A few interesting facts about giraffes:
– They are the tallest terrestrial mammal, standing 5-6 m. (16-20′), with males weighing up to 1500 kg (3500 pounds). Baby giraffes are born almost 2 meters (6′) tall!
– They have long purple tongues — long enough with which to touch their ears. Scientists think their tongue is colored to help protect it from sunburn. Giraffes eat 35 kg of vegetation a day, virtually all torn off by their purplish tongues.
– They sleep only 30 minutes a day! If they were lawyers, that would leave them almost 24 hours …
There’s something special about elephants! They’ve a complex social structure, care for each other, are curious, intelligent and fun to watch. They’re at the top of the life pyramid in Africa and know little fear (except for man). African elephants can be distinguished from Asian elephants by the size of the ears — African elephants have huge ears shaped like the African continent, while Asian elephants have ears less than half this size.
Botswana has a very healthy population of elephants, so pachyderms are commonly seen on safari. It appears the tough anti-pouching laws have been effective because they’re extremely punitive (e.g. years in prison for just possessing an elephant tusk, even if the animal died of natural causes).
This photo …
I enjoy all my travels but there’s something truly extraordinary about going on safari in Africa. The opportunity to see large numbers and a huge diversity of animals is unparalleled and completely captivates me. The best game viewing opportunities are, in my experience, available at private concessions as the drivers and guides are not limited to traveling on roads and can provide close viewing of the animals.
Such was the case with this leopard in Sandibe, a private concession in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Our game spotter saw her at a great distance. We drove to within 20 meters of her and saw this beauty resting on a branch, taking a nap. The photo captures her the …
Having completed five great days on safari in the Okavango Delta, we caught a tiny bush plane (Safari Air) on an almost non-existent sand strip and spent two hours flying to Kasane, a small town in northern Botswana near the entrance to Chobe National Park. The flight took us over the myriad of small pools and channels in the Delta, the Kalahari desert and finally towards the forested northern part of the country where we could, in the distance, see the Chobe River. We were greeted at the airport by our guide, Disho, from ‘And Beyond‘, our safari company. Our gear was sequestered into …