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Reprinted with permission from Tapwires Jake Baker

BEST of BOTSWANA photo safari – June 2016

Our second “Best of Botswana” 2016 photo safari has just ended and although only a few weeks since the last trip, the water level in the delta was up whilst the water level on the Chobe River was down – nearly 2 meters !! Once again this shows how unpredictable things are when dealing with mother nature. Regardless of the water level, the trip was a great success.

We first spent 4 nights in Moremi. Highlights in Moremi included a huge gathering of over 60 Fish Eagles around one big pan on Dead Tree Island, Side Striped Jackal, Pied Avocet, Banded Mongoose and a sighting of a lifetime – Lions bringing down an adult bull Cape Buffalo. When we arrived on the scene the struggle might have already been going on for a couple of hours based on how exhausted both the Lions and the Buffalo were. The Lions had also managed to bite through the Buffalo’s tendons in both of its back legs, unfortunately, this sealed the poor buffalo’s fate and it was only a matter of time. Over 1hr 30mins later the Buffalo succumbed, and we were all relieved that his ordeal was finally over. I have never seen an animal put up such a fight and it was truly humbling to watch.

We went to sleep listening to the sounds of the bush wondering what we might find at the kill site in the morning. The Lions that had made the kill – two adult females and 3 sub adults were nowhere to be seen, instead, we found 3 adult males and a female that must have chased the other lions off and stolen their hard fought prize.

We then spent the entire morning at the carcass, watching the feeding behaviour, dominance behaviour of the one male over the others and then when it got warm and the Lions were hot and full, we enjoyed watching the vultures doing their best to steal the kill. Despite each of the Lions taking their turn to defend the kill from the vultures, the need for shade and rest final won and the Lions left the kill. Known as “nature’s clean up crew” for good reason, the vultures frenzied feeding left very little of the carcass.

Next stop was the Khwai community area. Highlights here were a beautiful young male Leopard (the brother of the young female we saw in May), running Hartebeest, excellent Hippo, and Elephant, saddle-billed storks and a full morning spent with the Machaba female Leopard who attempted to stalk up on some Reedbuck out in the marsh.

On our final morning, we left Khwai early and headed to the area of a reported Cape Hunting Dog Den site. Our luck was in today as the adults and the puppies were in full view and right next to the road, we had an incredible sighting of these endangered carnivores and very special indeed !!

Savuti was our third destination. Again there was a big difference in the water levels of the pans that support life in Savuti at this time of the year. The pans near the Marsh that we had visited and seen the Lions with their Buffalo Kill on the last trip had all dried out, so we concentrated our game drives on the area around Harvey’s Pan where there was still quite a bit of water available. We caught up with the Lion Pride we saw on the last trip. All the small cubs were still accounted for, but I think thankfully the small cub we had seen with the broken leg had passed away.  Great Elephants, Giraffe, a Male Greater Kudu covering his horns in the wet mud.

Our flight from Savuti to Kasane and the Chobe River was a quick 35 mins and after lunch, we headed out on our first afternoon boat ride on the Chobe in the special Pangolin Photo Boat.

As mentioned before the water level was down by nearly 2 meters but this had no impact at all on our sightings.. on our first afternoon outing we notched up 25 different species, almost all of which offered good photo opportunities. How better to start than with a beautiful Malachite Kingfisher less than 3 meters from us !!. Highlights included great African Jacanas with chicks, African Darter, Pied Kingfisher with fish, Bathing Fish Eagles, hunting Fish Eagles, hundreds of Elephants, Hippo, Chacma baboons, Kudu and Impala drinking, Lions, Purple Heron, African Skimmers, Pygmy Goose, Cape Buffalo, Crocodiles, Little Bee Eaters, Puku Antelope and a final morning visit to the yellow Billed Stork nesting colony which had a few visible chicks.

Thank you so much again for a great adventure with Letaka Safaris and our excellent guides, Nkosi and Shadrek as well as the amazing camp team – Mula, Banda, and Dreams !!!

Wild4PhotographicSafaris

Many thanks also to Pangolin Photo Safaris and our boat captain Shuur !! thanks for yet another great stay at the river.

Finally thanks to all the participants for joining us on this Photo Safari, Denny, Vinny, Debbie, Don, Ken, and Mike.. it was a pleasure to have travelled with you and shared some incredibly amazing sightings together.

Here are some photos from the trip – enjoy

Best wishes

Stu

 Nkosi and the team crossing a channel to get to an island in Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

Red Lechwe and young in Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

Male Lion – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

Pied Avocet – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

African Darter with fish – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

 Side Striped Jackal – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

African Spoonbill and Yellow Billed Stork – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

Black Winged Stilt – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

Chacma Baboons – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

Our campfire overlooking a natural pan – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

 Sub-adult African Fish Eagle – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

 Banded Mongoose – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

 Banded Mongoose – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

 Lilac Breasted Roller – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

 African Fish Eagles – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

The scene as we arrived at the Lion & Buffalo encounter – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

Determination !! – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

Circling their prey – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

The exhausted Buffalo finally lay down – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

One of the older Lioness eventually went in to try and suffocate the Buffalo – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

The following morning we found 4 different Lions at the kill, this male ate his fill before moving to the bushes to rest, Okavango Delta

One of the otter Males with a short mane approaching the carcass – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

Lots of vultures responded to the carcass, here a White-backed Vulture lands – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

All the Lions wanted to do was rest in the shade but every time they moved off the vultures moved in, prompting the Lions to rush in and chase them off – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

 Angry Lion showing his hatred of Vultures – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

Lappet Faced Vulture coming in to land – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

 The third Male Lion arrived to protect the kill from the vultures – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

 Two African Hoopoes – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

 Martial Eagle with prey – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

 Marsh Harrier – Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

 Young Male Leopard – Khwai Concession, Okavango Delta

 Young Red Hartebeest – Khwai Concession, Okavango Delta

 Bull Elephant in the Khwai River – Khwai Concession, Okavango Delta

 Young male Leopard – the brother of the young female we saw on the trip in May – Khwai Concession, Okavango Delta

 Young Bull Elephant with wet trunk – Khwai Concession, Okavango Delta

 Bull Elephant moving through the dead Camel Thorn Trees – Khwai Concession, Okavango Delta

 Impala jumping the Khwai River – Khwai Concession – composite image, Okavango Delta

 Male Elephant reflection – Khwai Concession, Okavango Delta

 Elephant spraying water – Khwai Concession, Okavango Delta

 Young Greater Kudu – Khwai Concession, Okavango Delta

 Machaba Female Leopard with Spurfowl – Khwai Concession, Okavango Delta

 Machaba Female on Termite mound – Khwai Concession, Okavango Delta

 Machaba Female in the Marsh – Khwai Concession, Okavango Delta

 Interesting hairdo on this Zebra !! – photo courtesy – Debbie Roma

 Bull Elephant reaching high for a fresh branch from a rain tree – Khwai Concession, Okavango Delta

The Machaba Female leopard – Khwai Concession, Okavango Delta

Saddlebilled Storks – Khwai Concession, Okavango Delta

Red Billed Spurfowl – Khwai Concession, Okavango Delta

 Hippo in the Khwai River – Khwai Concession, Okavango Delta

 Elephant at sunset – Khwai Concession, Okavango Delta

Cape Hunting Dog Puppies on the way to Savuti

Cape Hunting Dog Puppies on the way to Savuti

 Cape Hunting Dog Puppies and Adult on the way to Savuti

 Cape Hunting Dog Adult – on the way to Savuti

 Lilac Breasted Roller – Savuti, (Chobe National Park)

 Bradfield’s Hornbill – Savuti, (Chobe National Park)

 Cape Buffalo herd drinking at Harvey’s Pan – Savuti, (Chobe National Park)

 Impala running – Savuti, (Chobe National Park)

 A rare sighting of a Denham’s Bustard – Savuti, (Chobe National Park)

 Elephant line up – Savuti, (Chobe National Park)

 Double-Banded Courser sitting on nest – Savuti, (Chobe National Park)

 Male Greater Kudu covering his horns in mud – Savuti, (Chobe National Park)

 The Harvey’s Pan Lion pride – Savuti, (Chobe National Park)

 Lioness and cub – Harvey’s Pan – Savuti, (Chobe National Park)

Lioness – Harvey’s Pan – Savuti, (Chobe National Park)

 Giraffe – Savuti, (Chobe National Park)

 Lions from the Harvey’s Pan pride – Savuti, (Chobe National Park)

 Impala jumping – Savuti, (Chobe National Park)

 Southern Ground Hornbills – Savuti, (Chobe National Park)

 Giraffe at Harvey’s Pan – Savuti, (Chobe National Park)

Male leopard – Savuti, (Chobe National Park)

 Wildebeest at sunrise – Savuti, (Chobe National Park)

Malachite Kingfisher – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Wire Tailed Swallow – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Young African Jacana – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

 African Darter – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

 Pied Kingfisher – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

 Water Thick Knee – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Male Greater Kudu – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Spur-winged Goose – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

White Faced Whistling Ducks – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

African Openbill – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Young Elephant running – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Male Giant Kingfisher – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Malachite Kingfisher – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Purple Heron – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

 Hippos – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Young African Jacana – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Nile Crocodile – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

African Skimmers – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

African Fish Eagle bathing – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Pied Kingfisher with fish – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

African Elephant in the Chobe River – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

African Elephant – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

 Lioness and Elephant – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Little Bee-eaters – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Pygmy Goose – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Chacma Baboons – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Chacma Baboons – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Hippo – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Hippo – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Yellow Billed Stork – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Crocodile – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Brown Hooded Kingfisher – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

 African Fish Eagle – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Elephant – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Baby Elephant – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Puku Antelope – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

African Fish Eagle – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Elephant Herd drinking – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Cape Buffalo at Sunset – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

White Breasted Cormorant – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Yellow Billed Stork – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Yellow Billed Stork Chick – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Elephant – Chobe River, taken from the Photo Boat

Article source: https://www.wild4photographicsafaris.com/trip-reports/view/best-of-botswana-phot…

Thanks to Tapwires for sharing!

Hudson Reed Showers