One of the many wonderful features of safari in Botswana are the private game preserves. There are no crowds, no strict rules about how many jeeps can converge on one site, and generally only four people per jeep. And there is so much to see.
Here are just a few of our amazing encounters!
Our safari jeep came upon mating lions. This fellow was taking a break. Having found a willing female, he and his lady friend were lying around in the grass. When she signaled her willingness by standing up and raising her tail, he mounted her taking her ear in his teeth (not sure why – maybe he was afraid she would change her mind). The actual copulation was over in about ten seconds but the on-again off-again routine would last two or three days
As long as you don’t stand up in the vehicle, you can get pretty close to the lions, maybe fifteen or twenty feet. I don’t know if this guy was sticking his tongue out because he so enjoyed his last encounter or was anticipating his next. It was amazing that the lions paid so little attention to us. We became part of the landscape.
These wattled cranes just happened to be feeding in the field as we were driving by. I did not realize how lovely they were and how they fed in synch until I saw the photo.
Our guides are so experienced that they know where the leopards hang out. And we were lucky to spot a couple of them at various points on the game drives. We were at the base of the tree as this guy posed for us with sunlight occasionally illuminating his face. I so badly wanted to just direct the whole scene, placing his face and the light exactly where I wanted it. But even though the guides try to accommodate their photographers by changing position, you still just have to take what you can get.
One of our guides in Botswana knew that the cheetah in the area of the lodge had not eaten in a while and not only was she hungry, but she had two pups to feed. When he spotted a small herd of impala, he guessed that she would go after one of them. We watched her as she left her pups behind and then positioned our jeep hoping we would see the hunt. Not only did we see it, but we watched as the cheetah chased an impala around our jeep and, leaping after it through a bush, brought it down. We sat in the jeep and watched as she sunk her teeth into the impala’s neck to bleed the impala out. Then she climbed on a mound and rested, exhausted from the kill. She dragged the carcass next to another safari jeep, before getting her pups. The cubs had trouble opening the carcass, so she helped them rip the underside so they could feed. It was an amazing experience to see something so raw and we were lucky to bear witness to what, for us, was an extraordinary sight.
We were blessed with many red gold beautiful sunsets in Botswana.
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