Safari Day 3 – A Day of Bonuses!

LOCATION: Shinde Safari Camp in NW Botswana
WEATHER: Much cooler. Cloudy. High 75

It rained during the night, making a beautiful noise on the tent top. Again, the housekeeper woke us up at 5:30 with a thermos of coffee and a cheery “Good Morning”.

Today’s morning activity was a walking safari. Bee took us to the start of the path, with a lot of security instructions. He took a loaded shutgun with him…..just in case. There were 6 guests with Bee leading us, and another guide bringing up the rear. They gave us ankle protectors against the spiky grass.

The guides use walkie-talkies all of the time to let each other know if they spot something especially interesting. After about 30 minutes of our walking safari, Bee got a call saying that one of the guides had spotted a pack of wild dogs. They are endangered here, and are a rarity to see. So, we hurried back to the jeep to go to the area where they hopefully still were. Yes! It was a pack of about 25. Bee made a call like the sound that the dogs make, and they came trotting up to the jeep. Some had red faces, covered from blood from a recent kill.

We followed them for about an hour. They move fast. At the end, they changed from a trot to a full-blown run. We speeded up and chased them until they reached their goal – a dead antelope that one of the pack had recently killed. We watched them fight over the meat, bones and head.. Nothing remained when they were finished.

Then, back to the search for lions. Bee and the other guides had heard them during the night. Bee spotted their tracks and we followed them. Yeah! We finally found one. This was a middle-aged male.

Since it was cooler, there were a lot of animals roaming around, not hunkered down in the shade. I have been thinking (and writing) that this is the dry season. Bee told us that this is the RAINY season. But, there hasn’t been a good rain in 2 years. All of the terrain that we have been crossing in search of animals is normally covered with water this time of year. Bee said this is the driest he has seen Botswana in 50 years. Climate change?

We passed through a grove of acacia trees, which are a favorite of giraffes…

What a busy morning! We returned to camp for another nice lunch. Chicken skewers, baked eggplant, lentil salad, sugar snap pea salad, and a cheese plate.

After a siesta, we had high tea, then took off on our afternoon activity – this time on a motorboat. We started in the main river area, then went down narrow, then narrower channels.

Bee called this “elephant alley” and indeed we saw many big paths from the grass to the water. They dig channels as they walk.

The water level is extremely low due to the drought, so we got stuck a lot. We saw a lot of beautiful birds

There are huge termite mounds all over the place. They build these towers next to a tree. Over time, the area gets built up around them and islands of land are created in the flood plain

After about an hour through the narrow, shallow channels, we came out to a wider, deeper part of the delta. To our delight, there were about 15 hippos playing and fighting in the water. Bee got out all the fixings for our daily sundowner – gin & tonics and nuts while we watched the hippos..

Before dinner, one of the staff members showed us how she makes things out of palm leaves.

DINNER: Dish after dish were served. The main course was lamb shanks.

BOOKS: I finished another one of Peter Robinson’s Yorkshire murder mysteies. “Wednesday’s Child”. 4 stars out of 5. A bit worried…..we don’t have wifi here, and I don”t have any other books downloaded. Hopefully the next safari camp will have some paperbacks to borrow.

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