Jun 152011

A male Cheetah on the lookout for his next meal

Without a doubt, Botswana has completely surpassed my expectations.

On the drive from the airstrip to our camp we saw; lion, cheetah, elephants, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest and a huge number of birds.

It very quickly became apparent that our guide, Brian had a great deal of skill in getting us very close to the animals and I was soon wondering if I was going to need my 600mm lens!

An Impala jumping through the grass at Moremi.

On the first evening we rescued another vehicle at a river crossing and photographed two male cheetah at sunset. It was an incredible birthday and the week just got better.

Throughout our stay in Botswana, Brian was superb. He has guided several photography safaris for Andy Biggs and Theo Allofs, so he knew exactly what our needs and expectations were and always had us on the correct side of the animals.

During our 3 days at Moremi we saw wild dogs (the rarest predator in Africa), cheetah on several locations, ostrich, eagle owls, crocodiles, a huge variety of birds, a python, a variety of antelopes and probably a bunch of things that I’ve already forgotten!

A very upset Vervet monkey makes an alarm as one of his buddies is stalked by a leopard.

We had the camp and Brian exclusively to ourselves and as I promised, we had plenty of room in the vehicle as we had a complete row to ourselves and we could quickly move from one side to the other depending on where the action was and action was plentiful!

Following our fabulous 3 nights in Moremi, we moved to the Khwai Concession. During the move we came incredibly close to a leopard. We heard and saw a vervet monkey making alarm calls and he kept looking at a nearby tree so we went to investigate. We searched the trees but could not see the leopard.

We then concentrated on photographing the upset vervet monkeys when suddenly a vervet monkey fell about 3 metres behind us. It had obviously just been slain by the leopard! We looked and looked but still we couldn’t see the leopard.

We backed away and kept watching but to no avail. Brian was really frustrated as he loves leopards and really wanted us to get some close up photos but this one got away.

We continued on our way to Khwai and stopped at Khwai village and were shown some of the houses that have walls built from empty beer and pop cans. We then headed in to the Khwai concession and the first thing that Brian showed us was a hyena den and outside were two very young hyenas playing!

Two young hyenas playing in front of their den.

At Khwai we saw a lot more lions than we had at Moremi and these included two very young cubs that were still nursing. On one evening we had the pleasure of watching them being moved by their mom.

At Khwai we also saw a large number of elephants plus honey badgers, a variety of eagles and vultures, different antelopes, two types of mongoose but still no leopards!

I paid for my own spot on this photo tour but despite the expense it has been very worthwhile and we still have five days to go!

Tonight we watched the total eclipse of the moon and tomorrow we’ll be exploring Victoria Falls town before heading to Mana Pools National Park on Friday. The next blog update will be on June 23rd, so stay tuned. In the meantime, here are a few more photos.

A young male lion watches us through the grass

A lioness moves one of her cubs to a new hiding spot.

A giraffe, just after sunset at Moremi.

2 Responses to “A week in Botswana”

  1. Jean P says:

    Wow – great photos! What a lot of animals I am missing!!! Any lizards? I hope you all continue to have a fun trip.

  2. Richard says:

    Thanks Jean, it has been a simply amazing two weeks. It’s hard to believe that we saw so much and got so close to the wildlife, particularly in Botswana. We saw lizards along the banks of the Zambezi as we canoed past but none in the camps!

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