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The Great African Adventure, Part 4: Elephants, Setswana & Beyonce

Part 4 of The Great African Adventure picks up with Kathy Barry still in Khwai, with her encounters with elephants and learning more Setswana.

Tuesday May 13th – Khwai North Moremi Area

The next morning we had a nice big cheery pot of coffee and a tasty breakfast and headed straight out to see what was left at the battle ground. There was a smidge of a rib bone left and a bloody smudge on some grass. Other than that there was little evidence of what had happened the night before. Incredible. We had seen a couple very attractive Jackals the night before lingering in the shadows…maybe they had a late night snack. Hope so.

We bumbled along and came upon a huge troop of baboons – perhaps 80 – they are completely captivating to watch. I watched some little ones ride on their mama’s back and sometimes hang on to her from her chest and belly. They scream at each other, chase one another and whack each other and some of little ones just try to stay out of sight. Very amusing and interesting – they just dance to the top of the trees and swing around like acrobats. Looks very fun!

We had tea beside the Okavango Delta’s water and later parked on the game trail and amused ourselves watching a wart hog – which we now affectionately refer to as “piggy”. He was up to the usual piggy business of running his sturdy little frame in one direction for about 25 feet and then with a snappy wheel around heading off into another direction altogether. What must the piggies be thinking when they do all of this willy nilly motoring around? Are they confused? Are they forgetful? Why such indecision? ADD? We all were making up stories about what must be going through their piggie brains and then this happened…..

Once again, lumbering down the patch came two bull elephants, one after the other, straight at the Green Mamba. It is an eerie feeling as they are so massive. 7000 pounds is the equivalent of 3 pick-up and although they do not appear to have malevolent intent they are huge and can destroy anything in their path if they so choose. These two elephants took their time stopping and looking straight at us before that ambled on their way. I just held my breath and remembered that there is no off switch.

New Setswana Words

• Nagna- Baby
• Satonga- Water Buffalo
• Ganoo – Wildebeest
• Mahato – Acacia Tree

Need to Read….

• Wilbur Smith – When A Sparrow Falls / Leopard Hunts in Darkness
• Months Under the Sun – Robert Urich – African Author

Need to Watch….

• Top Gear – Botswana Edition – Tell my boys
• Peter Stark – At the Mercy of the River
• Natures Great Events
• Into the Dragons Mouth – About Crocodiles in the Okavango Delta

And while we were looking for the African Wild Dogs that we have not seen -those highly social, successful hunters and general bad asses, we came around a bend and there she was – draped in her tree, camouflaged in the leaves and foliage. She had one paw casually dangling and that was her giveaway and how Clinton and Dad spotted her. She was panting from exertion and exquisitely marked as all leopards seem to be. I didn’t need to be told she was a female….she was so gorgeous she had to be. She came gracefully down the tree. She was svelte and long and lovely. We followed her for maybe a mile or so. Leopards often hunt at night and Clinton suspected she was pregnant so we respectfully left her to her work and headed back to camp. It was kind of a quiet trip. I think we were all wishing her a successful hunt and just thinking how truly lovely she was. I got my journal and jotted down this note to myself…..” Beyoncé’s got nothin’ on you girl’”

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