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!
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 (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!