March 16th, 2009


African Dreams- pt. 5- "The Critters of Botswana"

And now what you've been waiting for! My favorite animal pics that I took while traveling in Botswana. As I had mentioned earlier this portion of the trip was mostly camping. There is a little more sense of adventure to be sleeping out with just a little bit of fabric between you and the wild. This became apparent when I woke up one night to hear a hyena slurping up water in my washbasin just outside of the tent. It's also invigorating to hear a lion roaring less than a mile away and you start to wonder if he's headed your way. The vehicle in which we were transported also provided some excitement. It was totally open on all sides. This got us up close and personal to a lot of wildlife. One of the most memorable moments of the entire trip happened when we came upon a lioness who was crashed out right in the middle of the dirt road. The driver slowly crept up on her in hopes that she would move off, but hey! she's a cat! She wasn't moving for nobody! Our driver told us to keep all body parts well within the vehicle as he slowly drove around her. He told us not to take flash photos as it might startle her and since it was just past sunset, there was no way I was going to get a picture. As we went slowly around her I could see her tensing her rear leg muscles. Would she lunge at the truck or run off? So here I was literally 6 feet away from a wild lion with nothing between me and her. Her eyes were locked on me the entire time. Do I stare at her or do I avert my eyes? To a canine it would be a challenge. To a feline would looking away show a sign of weakness? We passed, and the moment was over. The other folks on the tour commented that they also saw her totally fixated on me and wondered if I would become a meal. Now THAT would be a story to tell. Oh wait.

So have some pics!

Probably my favorite pic from the trip. We awoke to hear roaring just outside of our camp. We quickly dressed and hopped into the truck. Less than a quarter mile from the camp this gorgeous male lion appears, casually walking down the road. We pull up right behind him and follow. He pays us no mind. He just walks, roars, and sprays. At one point the guide pulls around in front of him and I get this shot as his face catches the rising sun.
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Bird pics tomorrow, and that will be it for my trip down memory lane.