I had dreamed many years of an African safari. Two years ago I heard that should I plan a safari do it to Botswana. Then in September this year I had an opportunity to travel to Africa. My good friend Antero Topp organised a trip to Botswana and fortunately I was with.
The local coop company in Botswana was Classified Safaris which organised everything just perfectly. Driving was safe and we found lots of animals and amazingly our dinners in the bushes were gourmet experiences. The owner Spokes Ntshwabi was a Great man. He is an intellect and a true nature lover with a good sense of humour. The safari started from Kasane and ended ten days later in Maun. We experienced in Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve a breathtaking adventure in the middle of African wilds.
We spent daytime in open jeeps in heat like 45° celsius or 110° Fahrenheit in shade and cool nights in tents among all those wild animals. It was amazing how many different kinds of animals we saw; all together 210 species of birds and 35 species of mammals and 4 different kinds of reptiles.
After all those unforgettable memories there is one thing that bothers me, when my thoughts go back to Africa, it´s poaching. That´s a dark shadow over Africa! In Botswana poaching is not a big issue yet, but in neighbouring countries like South Africa and Tanzania it is a huge problem. Poachers are killing an elephant every fifteen minutes!! That is one hundred elephants per day!! That is unbelievable. One rhino is killed every seven hours. It won´t take long when estimated less than half a million elephants and 35000 rhinos will be extinct! What is Africa then?
First days in Botswana we were driving zigzag in Chobe Riverfront area. The quantity of animals was incredible. Packs of zebras, elephants and different kinds of antelopes moved on the savannah. The landscape was very variable including woods, water and savannah. It was dry season and many trees had fallen all their leaves and in some places there was really dusty. First safari nights in Chobe were wild with all those loud animal voices. Elephants and hyenas were wandering in our camp during first nights. Days were relaxed with lots and lots of photographing!
In Savute area while we were looking for lions three young male lions arrived in our camp. The camp staff were there preparing lunch and watching. Because staff run in to their tents became lions interested of them and they started sniffing around tents. The staff was really scared but finally nothing serious happened, just a ripped tent coverbag.
In Moremi by Third Bridge we encountered African wild dogs or maybe better known as Hyena dogs. This rare creature is hated among local people and hunters. In my eyes it is very beautiful, playful and funny, very much the domestic dog like.
Souther Carmine Bee-eater
Soon the night falls but this story continues...