Our 61 day Safari, Botswana, Namibia and Angola

The first camp we stayed at after we left Victoria Falls had a pair of interesting warning signs.
There should be no doubt, we didn't swim in the river, in fact we weren't even inclined to venture down to the edge.

Fortunately the camp was part of a resort with a nice pool.

We stopped in town where we found this reminder of home, the Colonel would be proud.
It is the only USA fast food chain that we have found so far during our travels in Africa.
Not that we have missed any of them.

Sunset over the river.
Then on to Chobe National Park.
These are the vehicles we used for the wildlife drives for the next few days.
 Needless to say with vehicles that were this open we weren't expecting to encounter lions and rhinos close up.


I don't know why the lions haven't figured out that there are some tender and slow prey in the open green cans.

Some hyenas watched all this from a distance.

They were a lot more wary than the lions.

After the hyenas and lions disappeared into the undergrowth our guide made a good guess as to where the lions might be going and he positioned us near a stream.
Where there were some impala antelopes grazing nearby.

We saw the lions approaching.
They showed no interest in the antelopes or us for that matter.

They were coming down to the waterhole for a drink and to hang out.

We moved on to a spot where we could get out and explore a little on foot.

Elephant and lion prints and a tree that elephants had been scraping.





Back in town we discovered this chameleon about to venture out into traffic.
We picked him up and tested whether he would change colors for us. 
His dark spots became more prominent but not much else happened until he abruptly deflated and turned a dark brown except for the light spots on his side.

Here it is climbing one of the strings I carry so I can share string figures.
Some people around us recoiled from the sight of it.
They believe that a chameleon can cause sterility if they walk on you.
My advice is "Don't count on it."

Amazing little animals.

We set out on a boat ride to look for more wildlife.
The first thing we spotted was this large lizard.

Cape buffalo


Female Kudu and Impala

I nearly missed this plunge.

A family(?) group.

Elephant grazing in the river.

He would pull the grass up and then swish it through the water to rinse the dirt off the roots.

And then a mix of elephants and hippos.

Along the highway on our way to the next camp we saw several Angolan giraffes, baobab trees, and noticed that the homes were now more often rectangular not round.

We saw elephants and a hyena crossing the road as we crossed the Caprivi strip in northern Namibia. 
One of the elephants seems to be acting as a crossing guard for the youngest one in the herd.

I imagine that elephants could be a real hazard if you came on them at night.
Just a gray wall appearing on the road,

A map of our trip south and the flags of the countries we visited during this part of the trip.
We are now directly south of the tip of the elephant's tail.

Ngepi camp in the upper reaches of the Okavango delta.
The restaurant there served game meats and this tells why.

We will remember the "facilities" at this camp.
There were his and hers, interesting sculpture, and a not so private bath.

A stop for food in town and the name of the company we were traveling with.
We completely agree that it is "not your everyday journey.

From here we went back into Botswana and deeper into the Okavango delta.
Lots of donkeys along the roads.

This ferry was a real challenge for Paul, a sharp left turn and the wheels hung over the edge of the loading ramp.

Lunch stop where we saw another elephant footprint.
My pocket knife is there for scale.

We drove to the end of the road at Umvuvu camp and boarded makoros (dugout canoes) for the trip to our bush camp out in the delta.

We set up camp and ventured out to find some larger wildlife.

It wasn't long before we were rewarded.
It is one thing to see a hippo from a big power boat, quite another from a small unsteady and flimsy dugout.

We were watching from grass and reeds when it was clear we had somehow attracted their attention.
They stopped feeding and looked right at us.
Then one submerged and we could see bubbles coming closer and quickly.
Our guide started pushing us backward as fast as he could. 
No problem but his implied aggression was unsettling until we were out of there.

Papyrus and lotus

As the sun was getting low in the sky some elephants crossed in front of us.

Camp the next morning.

We set out to take a hike on one of the delta islands in search of more game.
We saw baboons, butterflies, dragonflies, wildflowers, and birds but no big game. 

Back to our bush camp then on to more luxurious digs (larger cabin tent with showers and real toilets a short walk away.)
And a restaurant/bar with sculpture and electric power, though that was questionable.

I went down to the "marina" and asked one of the men there if he would show me how to propel a makoro.
He was happy to show me some of the fine points of how to make it go where you wanted it to.

Tiny antelope prints on the trail.

Then back into the makoros for our trip back to Claudia, our truck.
When we got there she wouldn't start and AAA auto club was a long way away.
Cleaning battery terminals got a groan out of the starter but there wasn't enough power for the engine to kick over.
The solution was to use the batteries from the outboards that had hauled our tents and sleeping bags from camp.
They were way too small to start the truck on their own but added just enough power to get us going.

Some of the folks we saw on our way out of the delta.
The donkey troika harness was one of the more common rigs we saw.

We had a great time in the delta but it was time to move on.
Our next camp had a pool (very nice) and upscale restrooms but they had somewhat intimidating urinals.

  The camp was located on the Okavango river well upstream of the delta.
Just across the river from our camp was Angola. 
We had the chance to take a boat ride on this raft, note the dining room chairs they added for our comfort.

Along the way we saw folks doing laundry and bathing.

We were asked if we wanted to go ashore on the north side of the river, that of course was Angola.
Their civil war has left things like land mines and other ordinance scattered about. 
In general it isn't recommended that US citizens visit, so of course we said yes.
By selecting a pasture along the river we figured we would be safe from the mines since the cattle and guys tending them on donkeys would probably have found them first.

What was going on at the right end of that last panorama?
We were documenting the event.

Some of us found ourselves suddenly bursting into the air.

Back on the river and tomorrow we will be moving on.

Thank you Andrea and Marielle for sharing the pictures from our trip.

Click here for the next leg of our trip through Namibia and South Africa.
For other parts of our African adventure go here.

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