Thursday, June 4, 2009

Southern Africa - 3

Hi, This is the last installment of photos from Africa and will be devoted entirely to our last wilderness camp, in Hawange NP, Zimbabwe. Our transportation from Victoria Fall was a 5 passenger plane, an experience in itself. After we settled in we went out on our evening game drive. The other truck radioed that they had found 2 female lions, so there ensued another hair raising race, this time to get there before dark. While en route we learned that a Rhino also was in the immediate vicinity of the lions. The next 3 photos are of the White Rhino and the 2 lions.

The next day we went looking for lions again. We headed for a broad savanna where we hoped to find a kill with lions. Our first encounter was with a pair of Black Back Jackals.

Eventually we found a male and female in some nearby woods.

Hwange NP was unique as it has a number of these wide open savanna areas. Here Zebras are passing a dead tree probably killed by Elephants rubbing against it. We saw lots of dead trees during our travels in Africa. Elephants also uproot trees so they can ge to more leaves to browse.

Another colorful bird we encountered all over southern Africa was the Lilac Breasted Roller.

Hwange also was the location where we encountered large numbers of Wildebeest.

On our game drive the second evening we encountered a herd of female Elephants with this Bull in attendance. He was not happy with us and demonstrated this by picking up dirt with his trunk and spraying it on himself. Also, there was lots of snorting, trunk waving and ear flapping.

Later that evening we photographed this Red Hartebeest, the only one, we were told, in this section of the park.

Hwange also was a good place to photograph Giraffes.

On our final evening game drive of the trip we were taken to a new savanna area, again looking for lions. While there were no lions there were about 150 to 200 Cape Buffalo in 3 herds coming in to a water hole. This old bull was enjoying a roll in the dirt to remove insects before drinking.

On our final drive of the trip we found a pair of Grey Crowned Cranes. After awhile they tired of us and took flight.

Later I was able to photograph this Red Hornbill and

a group of Zebras.

This concludes the photography from southern Africa. As I said at the outset, it was a great trip! I hope the photos were enjoyable. Bob

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Southern Africa - 2

Hi, I'll pick up this report as our cruise on the Chobe River continued. We encountered a herd of elephants bathing.

Later there was a large pod of Hippos. Most were at least partially submerged, however, this animal was out of the water.

Further along another large Croc basked in the sun and

a Kudu came down to the shore to get a drink.

After 3 nights in Chobe we moved to our next destination, a wilderness camp in the Caprivi Strip of Namibia. Because the rainy season had just ended the area was still flooded and the only access to our camp was by boat. However, along the river we frequently encountered animals such as this elephant drinking,

this bull elephant somewhat upset with us intruders, and

this baboon, part of a troop sitting and playing in some trees.

Also, we observed some of the best sunsets of the trip here.

Our next destination was the Okavango Delta. The Starlings were beautiful birds, unlike the ones we see here at home.

Our first of many opportunities to photograph Giraffes and Zebras with good light finally occurred here.

However, the highlight of our visit to the Delta was an opportunity to photograph a male (with the collar) and female Leopard. The other truck from our group encountered them first and it required a high speed run(20 to 30 mph) on dirt tracks to reach them but we got there in time.

While photographing the Leopards this Eagle passed overhead.

Shortly thereafter a group of male and female Ostriches appeared with the males, one of which is shown here, displaying for the females.

Later in our stay we encountered a group of Tsessebes, 2 of which are shown below. They are very rare and this was the only time we saw them.

We were surprised by the lack of Vultures up until now. However, we saw dozens of them at a kill here. We never did find the kill but something sure smelled. We scared this Vulture off but it didn't go far and is perched nearby on small termite mound.

I hope you are enjoying the photos. There will be one more installment in a day or 2. Bob

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Southern Africa - 1

Hi, My wife, Ruthe and I completed a 3 week trip to southern Africa last Thursday. We spent 3 nights in each of 5 wilderness camps plus 2 nights in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The other 3 nights were spent in transit.

We began our trip with a flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, with a daytime layover at Heathrow Airport in London. Upon our arrival in Johannesburg we were transferred to a small airport and flew on the plane shown below to Parfuri Camp, a concession adjacent to Kruger National Park.

As soon as we were settled into our tented cabin we left for game viewing. During this drive we came upon a heard of some 40 elephants across the river from us. While we watched they crossed the river.

We saw at least 6 different species of eagles, including this Bateleur Eagle.

Most of the rivers had Crocs in them and they could frequently be seen sunning themselves on shore.

We had some birders on the trip and they counted almost 140 bird species sited. This one is a Yellow Hornbill.

And this one is a White Fronted Bee Eater. They had some truly beautiful birds and they would sometimes pose for photos.

These young Impala bucks were just playing.

After 3 days at Kruger we flew back to Johannesburg where we spent the night. The next morning we took a jet to Victoria Falls and then a 2 hour bus ride to our wilderness camp just outside Chobe NP in Botswana. Again, we had a game drive after we settled in. Baboons were common at every place we visited.

The Tawny Eagle was our second species.

While driving along the flood plain of the Chobe River we encountered a herd of Cape Buffalo.

In the same general area a herd of elephants were bathing and these 2 were engaged in mock combat.

Warthogs also were seen frequently.

It took awhile to get a Giraffe in good light.

One afternoon we took a cruise on the Chobe River. This Fish Eagle is eating lunch in a tree along the river.

While this Monitor Lizard hunted nearby.

The river was a haven for Hippos. It is unusual to see them out of the water during daylight as there skin is sensitive to UV rays. We encountered this mother and new born calf during our cruise.

I'll continue with the Chobe River cruise in the next installment. Hope you enjoy. Bob