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

Saturday, November 20, 2021

The 2021 Africa Journals, Ch.Three: In Which a Lion Guards an Elephant.


Chapter Three:

In Which a Lion Guards an Elephant



    We were in Botswana at last, but not without several problems along the way.  I told you about Kenya Air screwing up our simple plan to fly to Victoria Falls airport in Zimbabwe and then a short drive across the border to Kasane, Botswana.

     Instead, it took us two days to get there rather than a half day, but we were here with Guts and his wonderful staff in single rooms, compliments of Guts.  This is the first place I’ve stayed where there is lots of room to lay out the computer camera gear on a long counter.   Guts himself is a wildlife photographer and understands all the gear that is necessary.

 That afternoon, we ventured out on the specially-equipped river boats.  Mounted to the beam are eight stanchions with mounts for cameras that enable aiming in any direction.   They are perfect.

    It felt good to finally relax and start doing what we came for—photographing the varied and vibrant wildlife along the vast Chobe River.   The river forms the northern border of eastern Botswana and the southern border of Namibia.  



                                Two of the camera mounts on the Pangolin Photo Safari boats.


        Downstream from Kasane (pronounced Kah-SAN-ey), shown at the far right on the map, the borders of four countries meet, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.   There was a bit of an international fuss involved in these borders and it was only in 1994 that an International Court of Justice ruled in favor of Botswana and also found that the four-country intersect was in mid-river, though that exact point has yet to be determined.



                        A view of the river from my room.


     As we slowly made our way upriver, we photographed some of the many birds and animals that live in and along the river.


                                                A juvenile skimmer.

                                                    An adult skimmer.

             These birds feed by skimming the water top with the longer lower bill in the water.   They eat                         small fish and some crustaceans.


    Our goal for the day was Elephant Bay, a place where many elephants access the river to drink, bathe, and frolic.   There would be no bathing or frolicking on this day, however.


                                    A part of Elephant Bay.


                                                 A Little Bee-eater.

                                                         A pied kingfisher.


    An elephant  died recently and its carcass was half-in, half-out of the water.   Vultures, the clean-up crew, were in abundance but their work was prevented by a lion guarding the carcass.


    We never saw him actually eating but his presence alone deterred the vultures and other carrion eaters from even approaching it.


    Guard duty was a hard task for the lion.   He spent hours in the hot sun lying next to the elephant.   When he tried to take a break in the shade, the vultures moved in and he ran to chase them off.






As evening approached, elephants came to the river for water.   They were very cautious around the lion, smelling with their trunks outstretched.



Baby elephants were kept close and safe.

                                    The elephants avoid the carcass.

    When we left that first day, the lion was staring into the sunset, most likely hoping for the cool nighttime hours.




 Some photos of the Pangolin Chobe hotel in Kasane, Botswana:



                                        Outside the entry at sunset.

                                Their signaure latte evokes the fins of a camera shutter.

                                                Interior decor.   I love it!

                                                                        Close up.


                                        Clowning around in the gallery hall.

                                                The upstairs lounge.

                                            The other wall of the lounge.

                                                    Bathroom plumbing.



                                                             The fire pit.


The buffet bar.


My room.


Exterior decor.

                                                    Another view of my room.

                        The sun deck and the fire pit with an infinity pool surrounding it.

                                            Guts and part of the kitchen staff.

                                                                Towel art.


  1. What a great place. It's nice to see all the elephants.

    1. The river is the boundary of Chobe National park. It is famous for its large elephant population.

  2. Great that you finally got there in spite of the delay caused by Kenya Air. IF it would have been us, we would've needed several days to rest up from the trip. You arrive and it is GO TIME. Amazing. So fun to see the elephant herd with the little ones. Sad about the dead one in the water. Curious why the lion was just standing by and not eating .. hmmm. The hotel looks out-of-this-world gorgeous. Thanks for Chapter 3. We will put a link up on babakaps.net so our readers can continue to follow along here if they like. Patti and Cap

    1. It was GO time all the time on thus trip! Finally started getting tired the last few days. Thanks for the link and for following along.

    2. From the look of thelion’s belly, I’d guess he was full up.