Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Best of Botswana

Timeless. The legendary San people who got immortalized by Africa's most eloquent writer, Sir Laurens van der Post.
I have just returned from a safari that allowed me to share the best of Botswana with a lovely family from the UK. Among their ranks was a Wildlife photographer, Travel-writer and a Musician! I cannot recall a dull moment while on trip and the wildlife, general experiences and all round energy of the safari was highly memorable.

Remarkably our very first photographic subject was the rate and seldom seen Aardwolf.
Our first stop was the Makgadigadi pans. Now this is probably not for first time visitors to Africa as the big cats can be hard to find (although we did find fresh tracks!). However, the big cats was not on our agenda as we wanted to experience the vast salt pans and the remarkable, rare and seldom seen animals that call this hostile place home. And nothing could raise our expectations more than a sighting of the very rare cousin of  Hyenas, the seldom photographed Aardwolf. In stunning afternoon light!!! Only to be followed by a stunning family and equally photogenic Bat-eared Foxes. I can carry on like this and include the in-your-face habituated Meerkats or the gentle San Bushman who showed us some of the deserts secrets. But in short, San Camp in the Makgadigadi Pans turned out to be an all round favorite for everyone.  

Next in line was an equally photogenic family of Bat-eared Foxes.
Then it was off to the Okavango Delta where we had our sights on the big cats. After an initially slow start to find these cats (They are designed not to be seen after all !), we did manage to locate during our stay a pride of lions and no less than five individual leopards. This all in the scenic Okavango - Slap bang in the middle of the largest sandpit in the world.

Just you and the vasy saltpan. Our sundowner stop after a quadbike adventure.
I can only hope that the images below will convey our experiences but know that it’s a very far cry from the true drama when you find yourself completely immersed in the ancient Kalahari and its anomalous oases called the Okavango Delta.

Close up of Meerkat lookouts.

A very photoshoot where the image of the trip was taken. Sadly (or fortunately) not by me :)

We also spend some time at a hyena den where this little cub provided endless opportunities.
Our very first Leopard encounter at Vumbura plains.

In total we saw five different leopards on safari like this one at very last light. 

Guest Book Comments.

August 17, 2013

This will wind up reading like a testimonial, although that is not my (sole) intention. Sfter two decades of traversing the South and East African bush, I can safely say that our experiences with you was exceptional, you belong with the best. Your unfailing good homour, indefatigable energy, great patience and remarkable skill behind the lens made you a terrific resource for us to have by our side. I hereby swear never to knowingly centre any photograph with front light! The joys of backlighting, giving animals space in the frame and most of all the joys of flash photography are all lifelong skills you’ve given me. I am sure our paths will cross again. May your Leopards all be in sausage trees with pink light behind, A – UK

For the first time in a myriad of Safaris, I filmed buffaloes lying on my tummy, used flash in bright sunshine and put my subject in a corner. Albie, we met you as our guide but we are parting as friends. Love to have you and your family in the Indian Jungles someday. GJ - UK

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