Saturday, April 07, 2007

Maun Safari - Safari Lion Kill

Afternoon Safari Drive Story

The following story was developed over a three week period at my Maun - Gateway to the Okavango Delta Wetlands site. Imagine a variation of it being told around the campfire as you return to camp.

"Look - over there - in the tall grass - 2 female lions! And behind them - on the malapo - a herd of sable. Let's just see what happens... if we are patient enough, perhaps a kill. Look - Quelas, by the thousands - flying in tight formation, like they are all one big body. Amazing how they can dip and dive - they have all disappeared into that tree.

This could be it, one of the lions is moving into the mopane trees - it is circling around toward the sable herd... Perhaps we should move the vehicle more out onto the malapo to see what's happening - not far enough we disturb the dozen or so sable slowly grazing toward the woods. Soon the sable will enter into the woodland themselve. My God - look!

The lion is charging out of the woods, straight into the herd of sable. The sable are in panic - turning and trying to scatter - they are coming straight at us. On of the sable clips the back corner of our vehicle as it flees past us back out onto the malapo. Confusion reigns are the lionese continues to charge. She has picked out her prey, a pregnant sable.

With lightning speed she closes down her prey and leaps onto her shoulders. The weight of the lion and the resistance given by her back legs stop the fleeing sable just 5 metres from our vehicle. The second lionese is now sprightly making her way to the scene of the evolving kill. In quick order the sable is now flipped on her side. She awaits her fate with a stoic dignity.

The first lionese continues her grip on the sables should/neck until she is dead - it seems to take forever - perhaps 5 or 6 minutes. The other lionese starts at the other end and work toward the inards. Dinner is served. Who would have guessed it would arrive so suddenly. It is time to start making our way towards camp and think about our own supper. Perhaps we should come back in the morning and have a final look around. How about passing by the river on the way home - elephants may be having an end of day swim and drink?

My, my, we are lucky today - a herd of about 30 elephants coming down, just as we arrive.Ah, one of life's little pleasures - to see an elephant, after a long dry walk, makes it's run for freaf, clean river water. The gait seems to have a spring, the head and nose start to bob up and down more than usual - you can almost see it grinning as it runs staright into the water. Only the baby elephants seem to have some difficulties - trying to figure out what to do with their long noses as they try and run towards the river.

After watching them play in the water for 20 minutes - pushing there mates under water and spraying each other with water, it is getting late and time to go. We enjoy an emence African sun set and twilight. We arrive back in camp. A glowing campfire and a round of refreshing drinks are waiting for us. Now we can really talk about the safari."

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Okavango Delta Flooding

Okavango Delta - Wetlands Getting Wetter

Travellers from around the world are following, with growing interest, the strong floods pouring into the Okavango Delta. A post in the Maun, Botswana Blog about the flow rates at Mohembo is creating worldwide interest. Click on the above link to follow the developing story.

What has started as a strong annual flood with flow rates of over 400 cubic metres per second, has spike over 200 cubes in just 10 days. Kasane is experiencing wide ranging flooding as we speak and it is very possible a similiar situation is developing in the Okavango Delta. A new flow rate chart will be out after April 10th.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Baines Baobabs - Exotic and Strange

Baines Baobabs - Out of this World

Any visit to Nxai Pan is not complete without a detour to see Baines Baobabs and the pans that surround them. We saw gemsbok, elephant and the old secretary bird on the way in. It really is quite a shock to see this errie landscape out in the middle of nowhere. They look much as they did when they were painted by Baines many years ago.

Baines Baobabs is a great place to have lunch, walk around and marvel at the unique setting - marvel at the size of the baobabs and try and figure out why people carve their initials into trees. There is a camp site nearby that, I think, would be worth trying in or around a full moon - you know, add to that errie feeling.