Unexpected surprises

Trip Start May 20, 2010
Trip End Sep 05, 2011

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Flag of Botswana  ,
Saturday, September 3, 2011

DOMINIQUE HERE : Okavango Delta Day Four

Day : 463
Temperature : 30 degrees
Weather : Hot

After no sign of the cheetahs again we returned to camp last night and lit the campfire for dinner. We sat around chatting with the Dutch couple that we'd met on safari that day until the sky turned dark and the stars appeared. As usual, the stars in Botswana were amazing.

At around 8.30pm we heard noises coming from the bush and soon we could see the shape of an elephant appearing in the dark. It was heading straight for our little camping spot. Behind it were more elephants. Perhaps about a dozen. We sat still around the campfire whispering to each other. Within minutes we were surrounded by elephants who seemed totally oblivious to our presence, munching away on the trees and the grass literally a few metres away from us. This was incredible...wild elephants all around us! We sat transfixed, in awe as the elephants munched their way through the leaves, softly groaning every now and then. What a fantastic experience.

They soon headed off and we continued chatting away normally until we heard the distinct call of a lion quite close to camp. It's a great noise. It make the hairs on your back stand up. I'd spoken to the reception staff earlier that day and they'd told me that often the lions do come into camp. Now that would really be amazing!

The following morning we left camp at 5.45am and headed back to the termite mound where we'd seen the cheetah the day before but there was no sign of her so we quickly left again. We got totally and utterly lost as we made our way back out of the reserve and were frustrated at wasting so much time. But if we hadn't gotten lost then we would have quite possibly have missed two great things which happened soon afterwards. Firstly, as we turned a corner I could see a huge bulk of what I assumed to be a fallen log or rock blocking the road. But we both quickly realised that it was a huge male lion! We'd been so hoping to see a male lion as all the lions that we'd seen were female. Not that we were dissappointed....we were delighted with our cat experience so far. But this, well this was just the icing on the cake.

There he sat, the king of the jungle, as if to say, "well, what do you expect? it's hot, and I'm relaxing on the road...get over it!" Unsure of what to do we stayed at a respectable distance watching him, watching us. He was beautiful, really, really beautiful. He soon got up, probably realised that we were a car, and cars travel on the road, and he wandered off into the bush. We drove on, delighted.

Within five minutes I caught a glimpse of something moving to the right just as we rounded another corner. "STOP!! STOPPPPP!!" I called to Kev. It was another lion, a female. And not one, three! At first we thought it was the females that we'd seen with a baby, but it was so far away from where we'd seen them the day before. Upon closer inspection we realised that they were indeed different lions. We followed behind them as they walked down the track in single file, occassionally looking over their shoulders behind us. We must have been there 10, maybe 15 minutes. Eventually they headed off the track and into the bush where they lay down, probably going to rest for the day. We stopped to take a few pictures, but unlike two days ago we couldn't stay since we had to return our 4x4 at midday in Maun. We left them in peace, unable to believe our luck.

We continued driving towards the South Gate stopping to take the odd picture of hippos, giraffe, zebra and wildebeest. What a fantastic four days we'd had. We could have stayed here forever!
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Antony on

Elephant is camp is a bit unusal and unexpected I bet. The country looks very dry ....but I guess it is Africa.


Carrie on

I remember when you got excited about seeing a squirrel in my Toronto backyard. You've come a long way baby! Amazing read, never mind the photos. Could you not include Canada before heading home? Open arms here... and I can probably swing a guest pass to the local zoo... hmm.

Congrats on fulfilling a lifelong dream... and then some! C. xoxo

Ramona on

Hello Dom and Kevin,
wow, this is exciting with all the wild animals! I can't believe you are still travelling, that's great. I just thought of you, because today is my birthday and we had such a nice time together last year at Fadhilas Cottages on the Togeans. Do you remember?
Eric and I are back in Germany since the beginning of June and one month ago we started working for our old company. We were so lucky, they took us both back.
All the best for your travels!

Viv Howard on

Have followed you both avidly since you left MGC, but what happened after entry 194? Are you back in UK yet? It's been a fantastic trip and a joy to have sharewd your experiences.

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