|Weaver Bird Nests|
|Weaver Nest in my Yard|
On the 2-hour game drive we saw many different animals, some of which I attempted to photograph, although the pictures really don't do the experience justice. It was a nice day, a little windy but warm in the afternoon sun. The most abundant animals by far were impalas (or is impala the plural too?) - we spotted one right after leaving on the game drive and many, many more after that. Most of them let us get pretty close and then would stare at our truck curiously for a moment before wandering off into the bush. Others just bounced off into the distance without giving us a glance. The have huge, beautiful black eyes, long eyelashes, and graceful, wide horns.
|Impalas in the Afternoon Sun|
|Red-billed Hornbill (aka Zazu)|
|Simba Chutney Flavored "Crisps" - Delicious!|
Okay, that is enough of a side note! I am planning to do an entire post about food soon enough, so stay tuned for that one. In the meantime, here are some more pictures from the game drive at Mokolodi:
|Kudu - These things are LARGE! Quite impressive to see their size in person|
I think the hoofed animals (categorically called "antelopes") don't get the respect they deserve from the safari-going masses. From what I can tell everyone is so focused on seeing "the big five" that they forget how amazing the animals right in front of them are. "The big five" is a term I learned after arriving here in Botswana, and it is more or less a checklist of the large animals you should see while game watching. The big five are: lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and cape buffalo. I realize that once you have seen 50 impalas in one day it is easy to ignore them (or hope one of them becomes a meal for one of the local carnivorous species), but I just thought I would mention that all of the antelopes that I have seen are quite impressive animals, and worth appreciating.
Here is an interesting tidbit we learned from our guide about zebras - they have a symbiotic relationship with wildebeests. Apparently, zebras have very good eyesight and a very bad sense of smell. Wildebeests have a keen sense of smell and can easily track down the freshest grass, but they are easy targets for lions and other predators because of their poor eyesight. By hanging out together, the zebras get to the best grasslands and the wildebeests get alerted when a predator approaches. Added bonus: one animal likes taller grasses while the other prefers shorter grass, so they aren't even competing for a food source. I am inspired by this natural collaboration and I think humans should strive to mimic the wildebeest/zebra relationship whenever possible :)
|Warthog and Family (Pumba?)|
|Zebras! Very shy and quick to run away, although not as difficult to spot as the well-camouflaged wildebeests.|
|We didn't see either of these, but I did hear a hippo|
|Our wonderful guide with me and my two flatmates after the game drive|
|The bush - we saw some baboons creeping between groves of trees from this vantage point. Hard to believe this is just 20 minutes out of town.|