Botswana Part 2. Moremi Game Reserve.

In Moremi game reserve our guide heard over the radio that there was a sighting of a couple of male lions, so we set off in the hope that we’d find them.  It took over an hour to get to where they’d been spotted last, but was well worth it to see these magnificent beasts.  Many lions in this area are very used to vehicles and we were able to stop only a few metres away from them.

I wanted to go and remove that white leaf from the lion’s mane, but of course that would have been the last thing I ever did!

Our campsite in this particular reserve was in the most beautiful setting on the edge of a lake. Seconds after arriving and getting out of the vehicle, we heard the thunder of hooves and a huge herd of zebras galloped right past us, only several yards away, closely followed by a herd of Impala.  I don’t know what had spooked them, and we were a little wary that there may be a lion nearby but it was as if they’d put on a breathtaking show just for us. At this camp we could hear hippos grunting, and although hippos spend most of the day in the water, they do come onto land and are one of the most dangerous animals in Africa.  We were very excited to see a mother and baby grazing not far from the tents though and they also wandered through the camp at night meaning that once again, we had to be extra careful about visiting the toilet tent!

What is it about babies that’s so cute? Even a hippo. Just look at those rolls of fat around its neck!!

Our afternoon drive the next day was along the river, and we were treated to another lion sighting – four females and a male who came down to the river to drink. We were on the opposite side of the river, so our guide was able to position us in the perfect place to watch him.

Further down the river, an elephant had just finished drinking but turned and calmly watched as the lion strolled past.

The next day as we were moving on, we drove past yet another lion who was so tired he barely raised his head to look at us.

KP, our chef, prepared delicious meals over an open fire.  We returned one day to find a freshly baked loaf of bread cooling on the dish rack.  I was very impressed that a loaf of bread could be baked on a bed of ash.

We’d return each evening to a dinner table lit with lanterns, and a hot meal waiting for us. He made us laugh one evening because a herd of elephants had been extremely close to camp whilst we were out on our drive, and he said that he was ready to jump into the trailer for safety if they came any closer!

Dinner under the stars
Getting up before Sunrise isn’t hard when you have this beautiful scene to enjoy.

A drive one day took us to an interesting landscape.  This area was flooded and underwater for a long time, causing all the trees to die.  Now it’s dried up again it’s a beautiful wide open space, and great place for photography. 

There were quite a few different areas on this trip where we saw dead trees. They are one of my favourite things to photograph.

We stayed at the beautiful campsite for two nights and I’d have been very happy to stay longer. On the morning we left there was a mist hanging just over the water.

Our guide was incredible and knew exactly where to go on the entire journey, even when faced with decisions like this below.

Image on the right: Just before reaching camp we’d stop for the guys to chop and gather firewood.

His eyesight and talent for spotting animals and birds was also extraordinary. I’m sure he’s replaced his eyes with binoculars and x-ray vision! Below is just one example. Bear in mind that he was driving along a narrow bumpy track at this point and I used my long lens to get this shot. Do you see it?

Here it is, cropped in. A water monitor lizard.

There were several days where we had long journeys to get to our next campsite. However because we were in the open vehicle and mostly travelling through Game reserves or National Parks, it just felt like a very long game drive and we made numerous stops whenever we saw wildlife or birds that we wanted to photograph. We also stopped for morning coffee and fruit breaks each day. Below, we’ve stopped for lunch under the shade of a tree. A friendly hornbill joined us – it was right above our heads to start with, and then kept hopping around us hoping for crumbs.

To be continued………