"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The 2020 Africa Journals

Chapter Four
Where the kudu and the elephants roam

We leave Daddy Jacana to his domestic duties and head upriver, making two stops before we actually get underway in a main channel of the river.

First stop:   a beautiful golden heron, known as a Squacco heron.  Like most herons, they look like statues while hunting, then lunging when they spot their prey.

The beautiful Squacco heron

We leave the heron, and pass by some ubiquitous dark birds that are seen all along this section of the river.

The first is an unusual bird called an Africa darter (Anhinga rufa), also called a snakebird as it swims with its entire body underwater with only its long neck sticking up that resembles a snake.  Because it has no oil on its feathers, the bird must spread its wings to dry upon exiting the water.  

The second bird is a reed cormorant (Microcarbo africanus).  It is another bird that hunts underwater for fish and invertebrates.

But first, we have to make a stop at the boundary of the Chobe National Park and check in.

Yes, this portion of the river is in a national park of Botswana.  The park “office” is as basic as it gets.  A small building, restrooms outside to the left, and a guy who sits in a chair outside.   I’m not sure what his job is, if indeed he does have an official job, but it seems to be waving you off if the park “office” isn’t yet manned.

With that deed done, onward we go, passing seen and unseen bumps in the river known as hippos, baboons onshore, some beautiful kudu, one of the larger antelope of Africa.

And then, almost hidden in the woods, an elephant raises its truck to smell us.   Friend or foe?

Most undoubtedly, we are friends, Mr. Elephant.  Slowly it comes out of the trees but remains onshore until we pass and round a corner.    

Here is where the action—and fun—is happening.

A number of elephants are frolicking in the water.   Drinking, splashing, snorkeling, it’s a barrel of fun for all of us.  With the water increasing their buoyancy, the ellies are trying to climb on their buddies’ backs, and in general behaving like human kids at the beach.

Some, of course, are more sedate, limiting their river time to sucking up vast quantities of water with their trunks and then blowing it down their throats.

Sunset was nigh and our time with the ellies was coming to a close.  There are time limits.   On land, all visitors must exit the park by 6 P.M. and I suspect it’s the same on the river.
We head back to the lodge under a beautiful sunset.



  1. Great photos, Jeanne. I especially like the elephants.

  2. Birds and Pachyderms - A very large mammal with thick skin, especially an elephant, rhinoceros, or hippopotamus. Here we thought that the word pachyderm was the proper name just for an elephant. Fascinating Gullible. Happy to have you back-on-line. Smiles, Cap and hugs, Patti