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Botswana Day 5: Wild Dogs for Thanksgiving

We were back to the early mornings today, up at 5a and out driving by 6a with John and Louie again.

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Our first sighting was a group of giraffe with several young ones.

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Then a leopard tortoise.
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We heard the dogs were in the area so we tracked them for a little while. Unfortunately, we had to stop to drive to the swap point with Lebala Camp. These two camps are in the same general area and rather than fly between camps, they do vehicle swaps. This is nice except that if you're not transferring to/from Lebala, part of your safari time is wasted doing the swap. I was glad to get rid of John and Louie though. We picked up Graham and Anna from England. They were on their last leg of safari and Graham was a bit of a sour puss about it. Anna was delightful.

We headed back to find the dogs. There were three cars in on the search and Timo was out tracking by foot. We were successful, finding the pack of 23 dogs--17 adults and 6 puppies born the previous June. It was obvious they had eaten recently. They were lying under a tree, fat and farting. The stench was indescribable.

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Since the dogs weren't interested in much we left them to get back to camp so Graham and Anna could check in and we could have lunch. On the way, we saw a Tsessebe and baby grabbing some shade.

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We arrived back at camp and after a lunch of chicken spaghetti, salads, and fruit, we decided to do some napping. Driving around in a bumpy vehicle at the crack of dawn for several days in a row, in the heat, takes much more out of you than you realize it will. Having time in between drives to nap is a welcome retreat, unless you have baboons screeching through camp keeping you awake.

For the afternoon drive, we were supposed to be a full vehicle of six; however, Mike wasn't feeling well, Graham was over safari, and one half of the new couple, Tim and Val, was motion sick from the bush plane. And then there three. We all wanted to go back and look for the dogs and without much delay, we found them scattered under some trees sleeping. We watched them for about an hour as we hoped they would get up for an early evening hunt.

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Finally, we saw signs of activity. Several dogs stirred and started their greeting ceremony, which involved a lot of squeaking to each other and pooping all over the place.

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They started to head out and we followed. The alpha male and female were leading the way.

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The activity was short-lived. They stopped again to lie down. Carlos thought they probably wouldn't hunt after all since it was getting dark. So we left them to their evening. Just down the road, we found a lone warthog. I wondered if the dogs would find him, too.

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Then we saw something that I always hate to see. A mother Tsessebe and her baby with a broken leg. The poor baby was trying to walk but struggling, of course. Another Tsessebe was there as well and it kept head-butting the baby, knocking it down. This is nature and it's part of safari but I worried about that baby all night long. I knew it didn't have long to live.

We stopped at a waterhole for sundowners and were treated again to the dogs coming down for a drink.

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By now it was dark so we headed back to camp. On the way, a herd of some 20 elephants crossed in front of the vehicle. Just outside of camp, we happened upon a female leopard stalking something at the base of a tree.

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When we arrived at camp, Mike and Graham were waiting for us at the bar. We all headed to another wonderful dinner of roasted pork with gravy, basmati rice, and veggies. We had a couple of drinks by the fire then retired for the night. I took advantage of the tub then it was off to bed.

Posted by zihuatcat 11:56 Archived in Botswana

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