Saturday, February 14, 2009

Adventures in the North, aka SO MANY PICTURES

This should be the most visually pleasing blog yet. That said, it will probably take me all day to upload all the picture which you are going to see. I also took over 1100 pictures this past week, so you will see the best, most interesting ones of the bunch.
It is also VERY long. Sorry, but it should be worth it.

For the past week I have been traveling around northern Botswana, seeing the sights, eating the eats, and NOT drinking the water. There's cholera and the only sort I like is Love in the Time of.
We flew out last Saturday from Gaborone on this plane:

It was a hour and a half flight and we arrived in mid afternoon in Maun. This is a very happening city, full of tour guides and rich people wanting to see wildlife. Maun is situated on the edge of the Okavango delta. At the airport we met our two safari leaders, Joe and Chippy. While we were told we would be riding trucks into the delta, I didn't quite expect these vehicles:

Surprisingly comfortable, off we went toward the delta. Along with the two trucks our group rode in, there was a support vehicle which carried the cook, our food, tables, tents, ect.
Right off the bat we hit a rainstorm, forcing us to close to flaps, ruining our views of the country:

But not for long:
That is a man riding a donkey. They were moving very fast.
One of the many villages we passed on the way to the delta. They all were made up of mud houses with thatch roofs. They also had many goats, donkeys, and cattle. These animals made us have to stop a number of times as they have the habit of crossing the road. No one knows why...
The sky looked beautiful, so I snapped a few shots of it.

I took many pictures of the sunrise and sunset this trip. I don't know why, but the sunrises and sunsets are more vivid and vibrant down here.
After two hours of driving, we reached the very fringe of the delta reserve. Here we set up camp and went on a night drive, hoping to catch sight of some mysterious nocturnal animal.
We didn't.
However, we did eat dinner around midnight, discovering the cook was quite proficient, then went to bed. We were provided with tents and as a pre-bed treat, we were reminded that we were camping in the wild. We were told not to get out of our tents until we were told it was ok to, just in case there was a lion roving around. Our guide, Chip, told us that he has many times awoke to lions prowling around the campsites.
This was going to be an awesome experience.
We awoke at 6am to eat breakfast (yogurt, tea, cereal, toast) and head into the delta. On the way we saw:
Giraffes! (This picture isn't great. Just wait for more further on down)

Footprints! These are quite cool. In this picture there is prints: 1. Lion 2. Elephant 3. Giraffe
I doubt they were walking together.

Impala! (We got our fair share of impala. We quit taking pictures of them early on. They must have been sad)

A beautiful landscape!

This is a zebra. It has a large wound on it's side. Our guide told us that it had probably been attacked by a lion but escaped.

These monkeys were adorable. The were all over the trees.

Hippos turned out to be surprisingly shy. We could only get good shots from afar. This one was particularly happy to be photographed.

I didn't quite know what wildebeest would look like. I had always heard about the great wildebeest migration, so these animals will later be part of it.

This is one of my favorite pictures I took. This monkey was just sitting on this post staring into the distance. There were many monkeys behind this one that I could have taken picture of, but this was too good to pass up. It just has such human-like features, it is amazing.

Hey! This was the other vehicle. They had Joe as their tour guide. Chip was better.

Once again, I couldn't pass up the sunset photos. Those are hippos in the water.
Some more impala. Action photo this time.
Entertaining sign at one of the bathrooms we stopped at.
Ahh!!! We found a great sign.

These next few images were some of the best.
I'm going to tell you right now we didn't see any lions. Now, this is disappointing, but it turns out the next animal is more elusive. Since it is the wet season, the grass is high, so the lions who like to sneak up on their prey are easily hidden, from both the prey and us.
We were driving to take our mokoro ride (dug out canoe) when someone shouted that there was something in the tree. Instead of stopping, our guide Chip floored it and sped off in pursuit of the vehicle infront of us. After catching them, we sped off back to the tree equally as fast, in reverse.

Up in this tree was the most beautiful animal I have ever seen.

The leopard is quite rare to find. Not only is it endangered, but they live alone. Lions live in prides, so it is common to see 10 together. It is not so with the leopard.
I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Right after we saw the leopard, we drove into a clearing with 15 giraffes. I repeat, 15. It was amazing.
Very quickly the day was made quite amazing.

I am going to stop here and upload this entry. I don't want to lose it all. And there's still 41 pictures to go. (hello rest of the day)


  1. I usually travel in pairs.

    I saw animals the other day, but they were in the zoo. Yours are much better!

    I am excited you are having such a wonderful time.

    I am more excited you weren't eaten.

    I will not let those animals beat me to the punch.

  2. these are amazing. thanks for posting them!