elephants bathing in khwai

The Great African Adventure, Part 5 – Sunshine, Elephants, and Leopards

Wednesday May 14 – Khwai Area – North Moremi

The elephants continue to parade through our camp at night and skirt around the perimeter in the daylight. Cheri and I and Lawrence watched a big male shake the daylights out a Jackalberry tree and then eat the seed pods like popcorn.  Lawrence asked if we would like to get a closer peek and, of course, we did.  As we took not 3 steps closer, that big bull stomped his feet and marched toward us.  I skittered behind Lawrence who just grinned gamely.  Cheri and I burst into a fit of giggles.  We decided to keep this episode among ourselves for the time being….

Today was just another wonderful sunny African almost winter day spent in unfiltered fun.   It is always chilly in the morning. You can see your breathe.  Every morning I sit in the back by Dad with a toasty warm green poncho on.  I feel like a queen on her perch – seeing everything for the first time.  We always stop for coffee mid-morning, which I love, and by that time the sun has warmed everything and the animals are getting busy with their day.  The baboons look sleepy and cold in the brisk early morning. They huddle up together. I think that they would appreciate a big green poncho and a cup of coffee too and imagine them sipping their Starbucks while wearing a fleece.    Funny thoughts…

Today we see a group of 11 bull elephants taking a bath.  They looked like they were having a blast and I personally think it is a party.  We watched them for a long while.  Elephants are so incredibly fascinating. They do so many things so purposefully.  I almost feel like I understand what they are thinking, doing, wanting….of course I don’t ….but I just might……

We came upon a pair of leopards who had taken an impala.  A crew of hyenas had made fast work of stealing their kill.  The male leopard had left but the female stayed near the kill….just watching…maybe hoping that they would leave her something.  She was pregnant. Clinton did not believe that she was the same Leopard from the previous day.   I know that it is the survival of the fittest but it breaks my heart to witness these big beautiful cats have their hard earned kill, which they need to feed their cubs, stolen by a pack of thieving hyenas. However, they seem to have great resolve, know when they are outnumbered, and wisely make the choice to live and hunt another day.  Big Lesson Number Two!

……We met Clinton’s friends, or “mates”, as he would call them – Scotty and Ann Elise- both guides and very likable. Scotty is ginger and robust and Ann Elise is fun, competent and is super fit.  I like them both.  And they are STUCK, in the same spot as we were – with a huge vehicle full of safari folks!  Very funny!  With some Botswanan ingenuity Clinton helps them out of their mess and somehow I believe we feel some sort of redemption from our previous misadventure!  I really like these people.

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