“Pic of the Week”, Sept. 27, 2013. Papyrus, Okavango Delta, Botswana

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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 …

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“Pic of the Week”. April 26, 2013. Giraffes, Okavango Delta, Botswana

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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 …

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“Pic of the Week”. December 14, 2012. Elephant, on Safari at Sandibe concession, Botswana

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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 …

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“Pic of the Week”. November 16, 2012 — Leopard resting in tree, Okavango Delta, Botswana

November 16, 2012

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 …

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.All Trips / Africa / Botswana

Chobe National Park: “In Chobe We Trust”

Chobe National Park — ‘In Chobe We Trust’

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 …

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.All Trips / Africa / Botswana

The Best of the Okavango Delta: Sandibe Lodge

The Best of the Okavango Delta — Sandibe Lodge

The three days we spent at Sandibe are among the most memorable travel days I’ve ever experienced!   In my prior post I’ve discussed an overview of the Okavango Delta and our stay at the Xudum Delta Lodge.  As great as that experience was our stay at Sandibe (pronounced San-dee-bee) was even more wonderful.

Like Xudum, Sandibe is situated in the Okavango Delta just south of the Moremi Game Reserve.  It’s a large private concession — a former game hunting preserve, but now a photo-safari destination — in a much drier part of the delta than Xudum.  While there are still …

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.All Trips / Africa / Botswana

The Remarkable Okavango Delta: Xudum Delta Lodge

The Remarkable Okavango Delta — Xudum Delta Lodge

After 2 years of planning, dozens of hours of traveling (literally to the other side of the world), the four of us were finally there.  Our small Safari Air plane was taking your humble narrator, lovely wife Sylvia, and dear friends Greg and Oscar over the Okavango Delta.  We took in the sights of channels of water, branches of the Okavango River, with interspersed ponds and marshes.  There were islands of dry land and sand, and — yes, there they were — our first animals sightings; hippos bobbing in the water, herds of elephants working their way through the brush, and buffalo on the plains.  It is the water of the delta that provides its life …

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.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: A Land Like No Other (Part 11) Yala Park

Sri Lanka —  11) Yala Park

Yala is the most visited National Park in Sri Lanka.  It’s remotely situated in the southeast corner of the country, a long day’s drive from Colombo, and covers almost 1000 square kilometers (378 sq mi).  Originally a hunting preserve, it was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1900 and became one of the country’s first national parks in 1938.  Yala is known for its large variety of animals and is the best place in Sri Lanka to spot wildlife, especially herds of Sri Lankan elephants, but also deer, crocodile, boar, and aquatic birds; it has one of the highest densities of leopards in the world …

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