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Conservation

An Update on the Northern White Rhinos – Big Step for the Girls

On Wednesday, February 3rd, the two female northern white rhinos – Najin and Fatu – took their first step into the 400 x 400 meter fenced enclosure on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. This really was their “first taste of Africa!” Until today, they were kept within the confines of their holding pen, with limited daily […]

Conservation

Jackals, humans and the bigger picture

The black-backed jackal is an animal that is heavily persecuted by farmers in many places in southern Africa. The jackal is an interesting and intriguing animal in its own right. Jackals exhibit a range of interesting behavior and social characteristics. They are monogamous. Mated jackal pairs sometimes have offspring from previous years acting as helpers […]

Animal Encounters, Photography

A Little Leopard Luck

On the 5 November 2009 I was on a game drive out of Savuti camp when we got called to a sighting of leopards mating. We don’t see this happening that often, and what was even more unusual was that the pair of leopards were in an open area, which meant we could see the […]

Animal Encounters, Photography

Eyes wide open

It is a well known fact that the two species of oxpecker that occur in southern Africa, the red-billed and the yellow-billed, both feed on parasites that live on or in some of the larger plant-eating mammals that they share habitat with. If you watch them really closely though, you may notice something a little […]

Animal Encounters, Photography

The Rain on the Plain

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) in Botswana is a very large protected area, covering some 52 000 square kilometres. Until very recently, the reserve had almost no development within its borders and anyone wishing to visit had to camp in the designated camping sites. These sites are well situated but very basic, even lacking […]

Animal Encounters, Photography

Fish out of Water

Some years ago, I encountered my first many-spined climbing perch at Jacana camp in the Okavango. The perch was out of the water and making its way along the edge of a road. I was completely taken aback to see a fish walking on land! Unfortunately for that particular perch it was also noticed by […]

Conservation, Photography

When Hunting Stops

The wildlife management areas of northern Botswana are divided into parcels of land known as ‘concessions’. These are often located close to or bordering game reserves and national parks and, years ago, most of these concessions were utilised for the purpose of controlled hunting. In the early days, there were more people visiting Botswana to […]

Animal Encounters, Photography

Expectations and the Importance of Rising Early

The area known as the ‘waterfront’ in the north-eastern corner of Chobe National Park is one of my favourite places. On many of the safaris that I lead we routinely spend time on a midday boat ride viewing the numerous crocodiles, hippo, impala, waterbuck, kudu, warthog and elephants that are abundant here. There is an […]

Animal Encounters, Photography

Termites In a different Light

Summertime in northern Botswana is the period for dramatic thunderstorms and rain. It is also the season of heightened activity among many species, including insects such as the fungus-farming termites. These termites, also known as macrotermes, live in mounds. Colonies comprise thousands of sterile workers and soldiers, and a queen and king. Aside from these […]

Animal Encounters, Photography

Cats and Dogs of the Wild Variety

A little more than a month ago, during my stint of acting as a relief manager at Savuti camp, I drove to the east of camp early one overcast morning. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may realise at this stage why my permanent career as a camp manager never amounted […]

Animal Encounters, Photography

Wild, Wild Dogs

One of my favourite animals is the African wild dog. Few other creatures have the energy to spare that the wild dog has. On a recent trip to Chitabe camp in the Okavango, we had the good fortune to encounter a pack of approximately 16 wild dogs late one afternoon. We spent an hour and […]

Animal Encounters, Photography

Of Raptors and Captors

One of the things I find quite frustrating when leading safaris is trying to convey to clients the sheer power and presence of some of the larger birds of prey that occur in our region. The frustration comes from the fact that it is almost always difficult to get close enough to these birds to […]

Animal Encounters, Photography

Bolt Hole in Botswana

On a game drive out of Chitabe camp in the southern Okavango recently, I was intrigued by an unusual interaction that occurred between a family group of spotted hyaenas and a pair of warthogs. We were visiting a hyaena den, which in this instance took the form of some deep holes in the ground. Outside […]

Animal Encounters, Photography

Fruits of my Labour

I was recently sent out to Savuti camp to lend a hand to the camp managers.  I used to be a camp manager but I much preferred guiding, and nothing has changed with that. I never found it too much fun listening to stories of all the things the guides and guests had seen each […]

Animal Encounters, Photography

Food and Homes For All

Elephants eat trees.  This is a fact.  Sometimes they may eat only the leaves, but they also like eating the bark.  When they strip the bark off a tree, they usually do it by using one trunk to chisel the bark away from the trunk, and then they will grasp it with the trunk, and […]

Conservation

Children in the Wilderness

My inspiration for this week’s submission comes from Kings Pool camp, from where I have just returned. Every year, usually in the summer season, Wilderness Safaris in Botswana close off two of their camps to regular guest activities. Instead, we bring in local children from the areas surrounding the wildlife reserves that we operate in. […]

Animal Encounters, Photography

Practice, Practice, Practice

Perhaps one of the most important things that a young lion will need to learn how to do well, is to learn how to hunt. Lions and other carnivores that prey on fast-moving prey have a much harder time of things when it comes to catching their food than do similarly sized herbivores whose plant […]

Animal Encounters, Photography

Suburban Civets

African civets are not common animals. Even though they do occur throughout the Okavango Delta, their solitary habits, as well as their stealthy, nocturnal nature mean they are seldom seen, and hardly ever photographed. In the last four years I have only had one sighting of a civet in daylight. So I was quite startled […]

Animal Encounters, Photography

Going on a scorpion hunt

Early one morning in Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve, I came across this male honey badger. It was October and the very end of the dry season, which meant that the soil was baked hard and dry, but this didn’t seem to bother the badger. He walked with purpose, swinging his head this way and […]

Animal Encounters, Photography

Defense mechanisms

One day we were watching a female leopard near Chitabe Camp, in the Okavango Delta. The leopard had two very young cubs, perhaps just a couple of months old. She had killed an impala, and dragged it quite a distance to bring it to where her cubs were hidden.  In this place were quite a […]