Sunday 31 May 2015

Return from Africa

Karen and I returned earlier today from a brilliant trip to Botswana and Zambia - awesome safari moments in Botswana and then a couple of days on the Zambezi in Zambia where we headed to Victoria Falls (and African Finfoot). I'd only ever been as far south in Africa as Mauritania in the west and Ethiopia in the east, so the whole experience for me was all pretty new. To be honest, I'm not quite sure why it has taken me this long to visit. For once, the birds actually played second fiddle
Leopard - one of three sightings (of four animals)
Anyway, we had three nights at Machaba Camp near the Kwai River and Chobe National Park; this being a 'dry camp' where large game was encountered frequently (with the highlights being 4 leopards, 7 Lions and 2 Cheetahs as well as a pack of African Wild Dogs, Hyenas, Zebras, Elephants, Hippos, Giraffes, Crocodiles, Red Lechwe, Tsessebes, Impalas, Waterbucks and Warthogs) and the birding was pretty good too - Kori Bustard and Wattled Cranes the most memorable.
A young male Lion - seven seen in total; a group of three lionesses and four young males
African Wild Dog - a pack of seven of these endangered animals seen
Two Cheetahs - the first in the area for a couple of years and only present for an evening
Spotted Hyena - a young animal at its den
After this, we spent a couple of nights at Xigera Camp in the Okavango Delta where most of the activities were water based; by using either motor boats or Makoros (paddle boats) it was possible to get close to loads of the wildlife with the undoubted highlight being a showy Pel's Fishing Owl as well as some nice Angolan Reed Frogs and loads of kingfishers and bee-eaters too.
Pel's Fishing Owl
Angolan Reed Frog
African Fish Eagle
The last base was over the border in Zambia at the lovely Islands of Siankaba where as well as doing the usual tourist thing and visiting Victoria Falls, the Zambezi and its backwaters produced further highlights including African Finfoot. There'll be more blog posts to follow, time allowing... and I'll make sure there are more birds in the next post!
African sunset (with Red Lechwe in the foreground)

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