Thursday, 7 September 2017

Part 3 of our trip to Botswana and South Africa.

We spent some time the next morning driving around the Rhino Sanctuary  (see Part 2) before going back onto the main road and heading for Chobe National Park, situated along the Chobe river in northern Botswana. The park is the third largest park in the country.
Crimson-breasted Gonolek or Crimson-breasted Shrike  (Laniarius atrococcineus).  A  very striking bird which is unlikely to be confused with any other species. The male and female both have brilliant crimson chests.  They feed on small insects and fruit.


Grey Loerie (Corythaixoides concolor) which is now officially called the Grey Go-away bird.  It is named for its alarm call, "Kuh-wê!", which sounds like 'Go Away!'
So many birds have recently had name changes.  Something to do with International naming and I must admit to being more that a little confused, after so long with the old names!   


Tsessebe (Damaliscus lunatus lunatus). They are grazers and prefer feeding on new shoots. The tsessebe are often found with other species such as zebra and wildebeest. Generally, there is no competition for food, as all three species prefer different parts of the plants they feed on. They are also the fastest antelope in Africa.


As stated in my previous post, the white rhinoceros (ceratotherium simum) used to be common, but because of poaching, they are close to being endangered.  Botswana has very strict anti-poaching laws and the government is doing everything possible to look after its rhino population. Many rhino have migrated here from countries to the east, presumably because they perceive it is safer.

Shaft-tailed whydah (Vidua regia). This is a male in breeding plumage, easily recognised by the long thin tail feathers with broadened ends.

Giant African bullfrogs (Pyxicephalus adspersus) are the largest amphibians found in Southern Africa. Males can reach a body length of 245 mm (9 ½ inches) and a mass of 1.4 kg (3 lbs).  They can also be quite aggressive as my father discovered some years ago, when he put his foot out towards one. Luckily he had good shoes on, as the front of the size 10 shoe almost vanished from sight into its mouth!!!


Blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus)  This ungainly antelope, is also called the brindled gnu. The gnu was made famous in the 1950's by Flanders and Swann, who sung a popular comedy hit entitled "I'm a Gnu!!"  Here you see adults with their young.

We had booked to stay at River View Lodge, a fairly small and exclusive development, situated right on the bank of the beautiful Chobe River in the Kasane region of Botswana.  Our host was the delightful Candy, who made our stay there an absolutely unforgettable pleasure, including arranging all our trips for us.  Not only in this post, where were treating ourselves to a private "booze cruise" on the Chobe river, but also, as you will see in the next post, to take a trip across to Zambia to see the mighty and magnificent Victoria Falls.

Out in the cruise boat in the late afternoon, we saw this young elephant doing its very best to keep up with its mother.... There are no fences here and the wild animals wander at will anywhere they like. Often you will find an elephant right in the centre of the road.  It is best to just stop and wait for them to move out of the way.  BUT beware, if the trunk should go up and their ears flap while looking in your direction, reversing at top speed is advisable! They can be very dangerous!


This one was having great fun playing in the river.


An unlikely meeting, a young elephant showing off and approaching an African (also known as a Cape) buffalo. (Syncerus caffer).  I was sorry I did not take a video, as the buffalo was not at all concerned, but trotted off with the young elephant triumphantly chasing after it!


We had a very light shower of rain while out in the boat, as this faint rainbow shows.


Getting a little too close for comfort!
Hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius) are semi-aquatic and found by rivers, floodplains and swamps. The deep grunting of hippos is one of Africa's characteristic sounds. Although they are grazers, hippos are blessed with massive teeth that are used in territorial fights and displays. They are renowned for their aggressive, territorial nature and they are one of Africa’s most dangerous animals!


Feeding on the river banks.


Luckily for us, Kaizer, our guide out on the boat, knew exactly what he was doing and kept us far enough away from any risky situations.  His knowledge of the animal and birdlife was incredible and impressive; he not only identified each and every one we saw, but also informed us about their habits and behaviour.  We all learnt a lot from him!


The first time I have seen a Lechwe (Kobus leche).  They need dry land on which to rest, but are otherwise adapted for life in the seasonal floodplains of Botswana. They have elongated hoofs to adapt to the mud of their habitat, and the hind quarters are larger and more developed than the front to assist when running through the water.


African Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus).  Its diet consists largely of insects, although it will also take crustaceans, worms, fish, frogs, lizards and small mammals.  It will also take eggs of other birds and crocodiles!  Brave bird! The nest is a large platform of sticks and branches built in trees or bushes, or placed on the ground on rocky islands.


Returning to River View Lodge; the accommodation was much more comfortable than our night at the Rhino Sanctuary, but both locations offered experiences we all thoroughly enjoyed!


Nothing beats the setting African sun!


As above.


Back at the comfort of the lodge, Diane, Nigel and Patrick having a coffee .... and I am sure a glass or two of excellent South African wine as well!

....while listening to the restful sounds of a  Cardinal Woodpecker (Dendropicos fuscescens) tapping away at a tree close by.



Also see my daily diary HERE


and My Life Before Charente (updated  25 September 2016) I will get back to this eventually! 


33 comments:

  1. Dear Diane what amazing trip and lovely pictures, love all these pictures look amazing , really beauty!!

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    1. Gloria glad that you have enjoyed this post, there is so much more to come! It is a pleasure to share these photos with you all. Take care and have a good day, Diane

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  2. That was quite an excursion, Diane. I'm so glad you share with us! That poor little elephant looked so tired trying to catch up with his mama. :)

    xoxo

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    1. Sally the elephants have so much character and the young ones are quite playful. The very small ones though are well looked after by all the herd so they never really get left behind to any extent. Glad that you enjoyed my photos. Take care Diane

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  3. Hi Diane - amazing photos ... reminds me of my trips to Botswana and Chobe and Vic Falls ... the animals are amazing aren't they - fantastic. A naturalist and ecologist has just spotted an osprey catching a fish on our iconic Cuckmere meanders (stream between Eastbourne and Brighton) - post came in this morning! Fantastic photos you've given us though ... and that extra snippet of description re each 'critter' ... glad your father got his foot back!

    I've been chased by a matriarch elephant and kept separated from the other vehicles in our group ... it was worrying ... and then later on in Hwange we again got chased ... and that time we were being towed - life can be interesting.

    But your trip sounds just wonderful and let's me remember my trips of over 30 years ago ... thanks so much for all these - cheers Hilary

    PS I see I missed part 2 - going over now ...

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    1. Thanks Hilary and I am glad that I am bringing back some good memories for you. We were chased by a bull elephant in the Virunga National park in 1953 which was then called Albert National Park. I don't think my father has ever reversed so fast in his life. We were also chased by a female with a very new baby while in Botswana this time but we were at least in a position to go forward!!
      Take care and have a good weekend Diane

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    2. Thanks Diane - we had to wait til we could 'zip through' on the dirt track... just not funny! So quite understand - you were lucky you were able to go forward ... we did back and then set off again ... but it was quite a long time faffing (worrying around!) ...

      When I was down in Hluhluwe with an elderly friend visiting from the UK - we were in a donga type road ... and a rhino decided it didn't much like us ... and started to plod downwards ... I backed -not easy ... and then managed to do a three point turn at a place where there was just enough room - but you've reminded me of that - via your Dad reversing ...

      Thank you the sun has come out - glistening sea and windows fully open - thank goodness ... cheers and you too have a happy weekend - Hilary

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    3. Being chased by a rhino is something I have not experienced, two elephants are enough :-))) Enjoy the sun while you can and maybe a sighting of the osprey. Take care Diane

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  4. This post is outstanding, Diane and you should receive an award for it! Great photos and interesting story! I can't imagine seeing an elephant in the middle of the road ~ that would be incredible. And the hippo, mercy! What a magnificent animal!
    I love to read and watch TV shows about elephants. They are powerful, smart and definitely caring for their family, with their tight family bonds. Known for their great memories and display of emotions, it must be a sight to behold to watch and admire them in the wild!
    Thanks for sharing, you are one lucky lady and a fabulous photographer. Take care

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    1. Pam your very kind comment is award enough, thanks very much. Lots more to come yet and I hope that you enjoy the rest as much. Have a good week Diane

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  5. Hello Diane, this is a brilliant selection of photos from your trip. I have enjoyed them immensely. Thank you so much!

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    1. Many thnaks Denise for the kind comment, I hope that you get to enjoy the remainder of our holiday as much as the first 3 posts. Take care Diane

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    2. I am Diane and I will be going back through them also :)

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  6. Another fabulous assortment of photos of your safari. I just love the wildlife of Africa. From afar of course.

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    1. Thanks Joyful, I hope that you get to see some of these animals when you travel to Kenya, yes agree watching from afar is the sensible thing to do. Some people do not use their brain and forget they are wild animals and can do a lot of damage!!!! Take care Diane

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  7. What a fabulous holiday. Seeing all those exotic animals with a knowledgable guide. The accommodation looks nice too.

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    1. Diane the accommodation there was fabulous and the staff so helpful. I would recommend it to anyone. Having been brought up in Africa I am used to most of the animals, but it was a pleasure seeing them with someone as knowledgeable as Kaiser. Have a great week t'other Diane

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  8. Oh I do want to go to this part of Africa - what a great looking place.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Highly recommended Stewart, you must go if at all possible. Have a great week Diane

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  9. Amazing photos Diane! Love those sunset shots.

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    1. African sunsets are jut amazing. Have a good week Diane

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  10. Fabulous photos, Diane. It is the first time I see a bird with such a long tail!!!

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    1. There are a few species that have long tails but I have to admit to my only having seen them in Africa. Thanks for the comment. Take care, Diane

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  11. It looks like heaven on earth and my ideal place not only to holiday in but to live permanently. Wonderful post Diane! Kim

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    1. Kim we really did love Botswana and if there was any thought of ever returning to Africa I have to admit that would be where I would look. Glad you are enjoying our trip. Take care. Cheers Diane

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  12. It looks like a wonderful time, Diane! And thanks to your wonderful photos, I feel as though I was with you on this journey!

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    1. I hope that you enjoy the photos as much as I did taking them and sharing them Linda. Take care Diane

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  13. Seeing all the wildlife brings back such wonderful memories. Botswana is the list for the next visit.

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    1. I could not agree more that Botswana should be on your list. You would be very happy sitting at Elephant Sands watch the elephants. Keep well Diane

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  14. Bonjour Diane,
    Merci de ce partage de la grande faune africaine! Mais me préférence vont aux oiseaux dont j'admire la diversité et les couleurs! Les paysages sont aussi magnifiques et donnent envie!
    Belle fin de semaine à vous!

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    1. Merci Lucie, j'ai réussi à identifier 79 oiseaux différents dont j'ai pris des photos, alors j'ai été très heureux. Bonne semaine Diane

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  15. I nearly missed this post, Diane, and I'm so glad that I didn't! I'm not sure, at the moment, if international travelling is still on the agenda for me, but if it is, Botswana is a place I'd now have to consider - you've shown us that the wildlife is amazing. Thank you!

    Have a wonderful week - - - Richard

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    1. I am also glad that you did not miss it Richard. We would love to return and I would recommend it to any one who loves wild life and birds. Amazing place and great people.
      Hope you also have a good week, take care Diane

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