September 18, 2013

Day 22 (Check them all)


I mean...  Leopard!  I saw a leopard!  Big 5 complete!  First sentence in journal reads, "New best day"!

Today is a day of more pictures, fewer words.  Clever and coherent sentences are hard on a Sunday night before a daunting week of work (incidentally, also hard on a Tuesday night when I'm finally getting around to finishing this post).

Our morning began with a boat safari down the Chobe River, Botswana on our left, the Namibian panhandle on our right.  My expectations for a $35 boat safari were inchoate at best and rather low in reality, but it's one of the best safaris I've done to date.

The space between countries

We sat on the top deck with our feet up, in the sun, as we pulled up next to pods of hippos eating breakfast and lolling in the mud.

Nom nom nom


Gahh!  Hippo unrest!  Fly, bird, fly!

We saw crocodiles sunning themselves on the banks and then slithering into the water with a simple tail swoosh and flick when we got too close.

This is exactly what I want to do with my time on sunny days

Elephant families drinking water with babies, and one who swam across the river in front of us, with his trunk as a snorkel.

Quality family time


Birds, monitor lizards, buffalo, antelope, sun.  We all met the day together, on a river, in the melted-butter morning light of southern Africa.

Back to camp for a quick shower, lunch, and packing up the tents.

Into the great, wide Chobe

Then a game drive into the bush for our third (after Spitzkoppe and Okavango) complete wilderness overnight in Chobe National Park.  During which we saw a leopard!!  Oh, did I mention that I saw a leopard?  Crossing the road?  Right in front of our truck?  Back-spraying his urine between his legs to mark his territory?  No?  Oh, well that's what I saw.  Big 5- check them all off the list.

Crossing the road

Pretty close to the best leopard sighting you'll ever get on safari

Also some kissing antelope

And the babiest baby elephant ever seen (pink feet)

The safari sun sets over a river of gold

And later that night, around a big campfire of tree trunks and branches decimated by elephants scratching their hides, sharing stories and a bottle of red wine with the best kind of Australians.

At peace.

And finally, sleeping warm and snug, as elephants an honey-badgers prowl the grounds.

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