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Green Season in Botswana - CATS, CATS & Wild Dogs


graceland

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HWCResearcher

It's been really, really heartbreaking. One can only imagine the poor parents of those 20 children, hearing the news and then rushing to the school, still hoping their child had been spared. Good God, where does it end?

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Returning full of exuberance from the Sundowner Lion Encounter we are asked to proceed to the Boma. I normally do not like the fact the staff feels they need to entertain, but after this show and chat

Thank you for reading Pangolin! There was not a LARGE concentration of game as Chitabe and VP, but plenty to keep us occupied happily in the rover...No dogs though!   But so glad we got to experienc

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twaffle

I'm enjoying your recollections of your trip GL, but certainly the dreadful news of another mass slaying is very depressing.

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Super LEEDS

Shocking news. Incomprehensible.

 

It was only a few months ago whilst writing my TR there was a mass shooting at a Sikh temple in the States.

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graceland

Shocking news. Incomprehensible.

 

It was only a few months ago whilst writing my TR there was a mass shooting at a Sikh temple in the States.

 

Puts one's own life into a more clear definition ~ where is there safety in this world if not in your own city, neighborhood.State?

I felt safer amongst the life in the wild. People always ask me "aren't you afraid?" (while traveling Africa ) NO, I feel safer; much safer and happier.

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SafariChick

Shocking news. Incomprehensible.

 

It was only a few months ago whilst writing my TR there was a mass shooting at a Sikh temple in the States.

 

Puts one's own life into a more clear definition ~ where is there safety in this world if not in your own city, neighborhood.State?

I felt safer amongst the life in the wild. People always ask me "aren't you afraid?" (while traveling Africa ) NO, I feel safer; much safer and happier.

 

I actually was thinking the same thing, that it might feel safter in Africa than here at home.

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graceland

Since leaving Leaping Leopard and seeing some lions on the plain, we wonder what Molemi has under his cap. A brief chat on the radio and we find another Chitabe rover at the scene.....

 

 

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Wondering what they are all watching - not the lion in front - and she is watching the other side of the rock

 

 

 

 

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These guys appear to be checking something out...we watch for a while, hoping it is a noise they hear, a smell - something to get them up and going for the day!

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graceland

I did love the look of this guy......they can "seem" so innocent

 

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But to our dismay, we think they are settled in and until they are sure "something" is in the air, we need to move on.....

time flies when you are out in the morning...

 

We always start out a bit sleepy, but within the hour something HAPPENS, always in the bush, there is a happening, and you are

quickly energized by the adrenalin when you come across live action (or even sleeping) while the rover turns here then there, checking eyes...stop to listen....it is amazing how one can drive and track at the same time; esp. when I can barely turn "auto" on for the many photos ops;

 

and of course listening, which the camera does not capture

 

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So, Molemi asks us if we want to move on or stay and watch. Well, I want both...but luckily for us, we will see this clan again

and in a much more active gait!

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graceland

Heading back for "brunch" we see a few ellies and Molemi attempts a closer look; afterall it will be our first sighting at Chitabe so let's stop and watch:

 

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This one was none to happy about us infringing upon her turf, and actually begins a charge; a "REAL" charge as Molemi yells, so my camera goes down as I grab on to the rail; he guns the engine and goes into reverse; guns it again and goes forward; repeat...

 

I ask," Is it too early for a gin and tonic" as ellie revels in the fact they have thrown a wrench into our ellie viewing.

 

We had a great morning; with much more to come later that afternoon.

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graceland

I am adding this pic for some Safari Talk Lurkers who wondered HOW CLOSE we actually would come to lions -

 

Reach and and touch someone new - thankful for those little things if you do....

 

med_gallery_5364_755_56833.jpg Molemi took this one - if he was zooming I don't think you'd see my earing backs as it'd be a blur I'd think. (Just in case anyone is interested, they are LOCKED on the ears... the things they come up with.... :blink:

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Sangeeta

A really fun read, Graceland. Keep going...

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graceland

We head out with a new American couple - since it is POURING rain sideways and they jump in the rover willingly, I know we will all get along well and we do. They are on their first safari, very last minute planning as us and it is fun to experience "this experience" together - heavy downpours, putting on ponchos, and rolling with the day.

 

Molemi's driving us through torrents of rain; I cannot see a thing as I am in front next to him and I get rain rolling off the canvas top..hmmm...what is more important - my back, or just some relief from the rain. I opt to stay wet and ride "shotgun".

 

Suddenly there is a leopard moving along side us...the air is so thick with water (and I wear glasses, so have to take them off and therefore can't SEE at all) - oh, I just realized that is why my pics are out of focus....duh..

 

She is stalking the impala who are FROZEN in the rain. I guess they just don't know or cannot decide which way to go. Actually no way is the best way; maybe she won't see them either. No such luck; baby impala is grabbed right in front of us - heck with the rain, we knew something would occur if we gave it time...maybe 40 minutes!

 

(These images were black when we downloaded; we tried our best to bring it up just to see)

 

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She strolls slowly through the pourdown to the safety of the brush. However Molemi thinks the kill will be spread around the bush by the rain...do we want to stay out and see what happens...

 

You betcha..

 

Second day at Chitabe and I am finally relaxed and into the familiarity of Molemi and friends. He is so enjoyable to be with, we actually look forward to our 5am wakeups! His knowledge and "internal" GPS amazes me; though I gather it is a common trait with good guides.

 

We stop for some coffee and a bush break. The rain is slowing; but seeing a kill in the torrents of rain was a highlight for us and we are all having adrenalin rushes - MORE, MORE, MORE!

 

And there will be!

 

(having problems with more than one upload of image at a time so until I hear from GM, it's " one at a time"or I lose the entire page....oh yes, always something. I've learned patience in the bush though!)

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graceland

It is amazing to me how QUICKLY the rain ends and it still looks dry!

 

I am so happy we decided Not To Give Up on the game drive as it is now over, still cool enough to enjoy and oh my, look what we stumbled upon..Our lions from the shady tree - they too have figured out there is more activity in rain and decide to find a perch...

 

 

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The Alpha Female has strolled off on her own - Molemi is thinking she can "read" the smell in the rain; and will be looking.

 

I'm also wondering if the leopard who killed the impala was our Leaping Leopard from yesterday; but don't want to distract anyone from what could happen, so I just keep wondering if she earned that meal after a long day of jumping around on trees.

 

What a world to be observing. Lucky us; couldn't have a better Thanksgiving in the states!

Edited by graceland
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graceland

Here we find the Female checking things out while the rest of the gang hangs back....She smells a kill and is determined to find it....

 

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graceland

A group hug is in order cause Momma is on the hunt for that impala!

 

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I can only post one pic at a time at this moment (frustrating for you AND me.) so until that works out I'll wait for the remainder - a cheetah shows up, the lions go hunting ~ this is all in one day - we were never going back to camp!

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Uh_oh busted

Sounds wonderful. I find it hard not to want to plan a return to Botswana, now.

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SafariChick

Enjoying the pix, even one at a time. The colors look beautiful in the background of the lions!

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Enjoying your TR; perhaps a pix at a time is the good and patient way? :)

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graceland

As we are driving towards the Cheetah we hear has a kill, we find dueling or perhaps playing Impala:

 

since I've always seen them standing around, or nibbling grass, I found it interesting to watch -

my notes say Molemi says they are practicing their "skills" with each other..Lord knows they NEED it!

 

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This little duel is actually fun for me; so it's not a kill or a chase or a heart ripping chase, but it is life in the bush and I feel so good..finally

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graceland

We continue past the active tommies and look for the cheetah with her impala; knowing the lions are on the scent too....perhaps we can beat them to it and watch as they try to get a nibble....

 

In the grass we see the "red" and a head popping up to check around; cheetahs are nervous little creatures and she cannot be relaxed as she is out in the open with her morning meal

 

 

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and looking around after each bite

 

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It is fascinating to watch her; but I feel so nervous for her and hope she will hurry and finish AND RUN as I know the lions are coming..... and the fact she is so camoflaged by the grass ~~if not for the Ribs" you'd not even know she was there!

see her.....

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twaffle

You've mastered the multiple photos in a reply technique, good for you. :)

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graceland

:D Thanks to you, .... and JohnR

 

Trying to get this done before Xmas, but I'm only on Day 5..

not gonna happen

 

This was the beginning of a terrific 3 camps - Finally I feel like I am on Safari.

 

The lions did not show; we were already late for 11am brunch, but Chitabe,as the others were very flexible on our returns; we were wet and wanted to at least dry out.....no problem; they always had someone around to feed us hungry stalkers!

 

Perhaps the Lions were still having a lazy morning being photographed

 

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The afternoon to come - yet ANOTHER leopard we follow to a kill...

 

I really like this concession ~ my neck needs a massage from all the turning this way and that to see it all!

 

An African Massage through the bush every day bringing the wild in to our eyes, in real time.

 

No need for Nat'l Geo while living and breathing the wonderland called Botswana.

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graceland

Afternoon and the day is lovely as we leave camp. As one guide put it, the morning always determines the afternoon...our morning was so full and we were still so enthusiastic about Molemi and our time together, we probably could have stopped and looked at the Sage bushes (which I loved - and always grabbed one for my aromatherapy session of the day) and just had sundowners and been very content....However,

 

AS we are just riding across the plain, checking in and out with the radio, we stumble up on lone leopard so we slowly follow her wondering what is up. Between the leopard of the morning, the lions, and the cheetah we are wondering who this particular leopard might be --gallery_5364_754_23006.jpg

We just spot her walking through the tall grasses and follow..she obviously is intent on going in one direction with a mission, so we drive slowly

for quite a while

and then we notice'

She picks up a small WARTHOGgallery_5364_754_11478.jpg

 

Did she leave it there to return, or was it the "in the air" and she followed. We did not have a chance to ask her,

As she walked with this warthog (seemingly to me, FOREVER) until she found just the right tree...walking up to and past several on her journey. I felt like I as with my dog who can never seem to find the right "grasses" for her self daily. Can be frustrating you know?

 

Finally, a tree......that meets her approvalgallery_5364_754_9018.jpg

 

But no, wait; there is something not quite right with that tree either....

 

And, have you noticed:

 

The Baby Bump!

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She found her tree; climbed it with the warthog and we were repositioning the car for a better view - CRACK, the branch breaks, the leopard falls backwards, and loses the warthog. By this time, I am exhausted from her journey so I know she is! Up she goes, back into the tree sans warthog, looking for a place to REST!

 

Obviously we are not leaving.....we too are so curious as to what will happen next!

Did I mention how much fun we are having at Chitabe.....

Edited by graceland
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graceland

No other cars have arrived at this most interesting study in leopard behavior (for me at least) They are usually sleeping, sunning, stalking, and if lucky provide us a graceful and quick kill.

 

Because this one is pregnant we are all beginning to worry as parents. Molemi thinks she is just about due; and we know she will need the energy and protein the warthog would have provided. She climbs back up the tree leaving the warthog below; hopefully she is going to rest and return for it ~ and I am praying no one else gets it from her. She would not have the energy to go out on a kill.

 

Trying to find a comfortable spot to rest; she is Heaving so hard I feel for her and wish there was some water available.gallery_5364_755_56598.jpg

 

 

 

 

She is definitely keeping an eye out between resting on her warthog and anything else in the vicinity

 

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and finally the HORMONES just kick in - and I feel her pain!

 

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Of course for this woman in the rover I wanted to rush out, pick up the warthog and throw it to her...but then she'd really be full on warthog, a southern belle, and two crazy ass men trying to protect the southern belle.

(Molemi would be smart enough to stay out of it)

 

She eventually gets up, moves around and finds that comfort zone she has been seeking. We leave, allowing the vehicles we called to have their time watching this exhausted, hungry, stressed out mom -to- be.

 

I still wonder what happened and if there are some new cubs now in Chitabe?

Edited by graceland
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SafariChick

I will try to ask about her and if there are cubs when I am there, Graceland. Your photos really capture her state as you're describing it. Can you imagine climbing a tree while pregnant? And while carrying a warthog? wow.

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graceland

Safarichick,

 

I fell in love with this Leopard, I guess moms would! Her struggle to get up the tree with the warthog only to be thwarted by a cracked limb - I so wish I had the ability to "know" in advance what was happening and been prepared for that shot! (I'm sure the GOOD photogs here would have captured it) but you can imagine the gasps as she FELL backwards...I was actually, worried, but she is a CAT..and picked herself right back up..

We spent at least an hour with her from the time we spotted her and followed along side (I have all those photos but trying to keep this TR short!)

 

Here she is as we left her, finally asleep and hopefully resting. PLEASE find out what happened to her and her new cubs! You will have a fabulous time and I am so envious! At least we will get a report upon return!

 

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Well lost her" sleeping on the limb" image....but she is something to see - pregnant and stil athletic!

 

Been a long day for her. At least we went back to camp for some pampering! I love the way she FOUND the perfect limb to rest her swollen belly...what a smart girl!

Edited by graceland
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