A Travellerspoint blog

October 2017

Botswana Day 4: Lion Love at Lagoon

Our three nights at Tau Pan in the Kalahari were up so it was time to move on to Northern Botswana. We were staying two nights at Lagoon Camp, on the border of Botswana and Namibia. Because we had a plane to catch, we got to sleep in a bit until 7a. This caused us to miss the dominant male and a lioness who were seen at the waterhole that morning. But it did allow us to have a huge breakfast of eggs, sausage, bacon, and toast, as well as do a little shopping in the camp gift shop. Our flight was at 10a so we left for the air strip shortly after.

Our pilot this morning was Jacob from Poland.
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Leaving Tau Pan.
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Taking a little bit of sunburn from the Kalahari.
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We made a quick stop at Nxai Pan, a Kwando camp we did not visit, to drop off our two Swiss friends. We would see them later in the trip. We then landed at Maun to drop off a guide for a doctor's appointment and to pick up some freight and a new passenger. Finally, we arrived at Lagoon Camp about 1:30p. We were met at the air strip by our guide, Carlos, and tracker, Timo. We headed to camp to check in.

Elephants on the way.
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We arrived at camp and were shown to our tent, right on the lagoon.
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We had a little time before our game drive to relax on the porch and watch the elephants bathing in the lagoon out front.
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Our game drive began at 4p and our fellow passengers were John, a travel agent from Reef & Rainforest, and Louie, an annoying know-it-all who liked to tell us about everywhere he had been including Antarctica.

Our first sighting was the impala.
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And lots of baboons.
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Lilac-breasted roller.
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Then we came upon these two guys, lazing around in the road. We had to turn around as they wouldn't budge.
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This one was lying around like men everywhere do.
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As usual, I spent the afternoon trying to stay out of the sun.
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As the light started to fade, we sighted a lion mating couple, taking a break.
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The break didn't last long and they were back at it.
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Then they spotted something.
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An uninvited lioness was approaching.
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This did not sit well with the male and he let her know with a roar and charge.
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It seemed to be all bluster though as they all settled down.
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After this excitement we stopped for sundowners.
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On our way back to camp we saw a civet, another rare safari sighting. Unfortunately, no one was prepared with a camera.

We arrived back at night. In the Kalahari, no night driving was allowed but this was a private concession owned by Kwando which meant we could stay out later. Dinner was a beef filet with gravy, rice, and veggies. After dinner we had some drinks around the fire with Carlos then headed to bed around midnight.

Posted by zihuatcat 17:14 Archived in Botswana Tagged africa mike botswana Comments (0)

Botswana Day 3: Lions for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Another early start today, rising at 5:30a. This morning, however, there were LIONS. Standing in the outside shower of our tent, we watched the dominant male of the Tau Pan pride drinking from the waterhole for about 20 minutes.

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The dominant male headed our way and walked right between our tent and the tent next door. About that time, Vasco came to our tent to escort us to breakfast. He told us then that there were five intruder males headed toward camp. They had come to drive out the Tau Pan dominant male. This is most likely why we hadn't seen any lions yet. The females were off in hiding with their cubs because during a takeover, the new males sometimes kill the cubs of the prior male in order to send the females into heat. We arrived at the main tent for breakfast and could see the five lions making their way towards us, roaring and marking along the way. Hearing the sounds they made was chilling and exhilarating at the same time.

I thought back to the dominant male we had just seen a few minutes prior and felt sadness for him. He was at the end of his reign as there is no way for him to fight off that many intruders. He will have to move on by himself. These are the things about safari that are difficult for me.

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No one was interested in breakfast. After they walked thru, we jumped in the vehicles to follow. They were headed to the camp waterhole.

Camp in the background.
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At the watering hole, they continued their spraying and roaring, in between sips of water, of course.

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We watched this display for about an hour before they moved on and we returned to camp. We didn't stay long as we had a long day ahead. We were headed to Deception Valley, the area made famous by the book, Cry of the Kalahari. The animal spotting continued on our way.

Mongoose.
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Kudu.
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Oryx.
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Almost there.
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Black-backed jackal.
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More oryx. They were everywhere in the Kalahari.
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The road in the middle of nowhere.
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We stopped for lunch at a rest stop, with an actual bathroom, around 11:30a. It was still early but we were really suffering in the heat. Our lunch and drinks were kept in the "cooler box," an ice chest that plugged into the vehicle. Let's just say it was so hot that there was nothing cool coming out of that box. But we had a nice lunch of baked chicken, bean salad, pasta salad, fruit, cheese, and lukewarm drinks.

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The toilet seat was so hot I had to crouch on top of it to go to the bathroom.
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Just after lunch, Souper spotted a lion trying to escape the heat under a tree.
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Kori bustard.
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Springbok, the common antelope of the Kalahari. Each region of Africa has a common antelope. In Tanzania, it was impalas.
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We also visited the "lake" or at least what was left of it.
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Giraffe.
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Oryx grabbing the only bit of shade he can find.
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Kudu and a jackal as well. The animals find shade where they can in this part of Botswana.
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Oryx with babies.
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Ostrich.
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Our day was capped off with a sighting of five honey badgers, a pretty rare animal that many people never see on safari.
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We finally made it back to camp around 7p--very hot, very tired, and very dusty. A dinner of tomato cheese tartlet, chicken tarragon, brown rice, and ginger peas and carrots was served at the usual time. During our dessert of chocolate pear, the lions returned to the vicinity. They bid us good night with their roars.

Posted by zihuatcat 15:47 Archived in Botswana Comments (0)

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