Okavango and Beyond

We see our last entry is dated February 29th – leap day! As is common in Africa, we go weeks at a time without finding decent WiFi.

Anyway – in Maun, we stay in a covered tent at the Okavango River Lodge.

A lively place, but our waterfront site is very relaxing.

We book a safari to the Moremi Game Reserve, departing at dawn. We are joined by Durk, who is days away from retirement from the Netherlands foreign service.

Goats do roam

Our guide introduces himself as ‘Frog. Just call me Frog.’ OK.

An opportunistic horn-bill tries to panhandle some food while we have breakfast at the park gate.

An elephant enjoys his breakfast, too.

As do the zebras.

Giraffes, too.

A pack of wild dogs crosses the road. We follow them to a nearby waterhole.

There are four or five hyenas gnawing on the remains of a buffalo in the waterhole.

We can hear the bones cracking when the hyenas bite.

Our guide says he has never been this close to a pack of wild dogs – or seen so many at one time.

The wild dogs cry out in the night…

We confirm later – in Zimbabwe – that seeing a pack of wild dogs is indeed a rare encounter.

There is a tense standoff between the two groups.

Jets versus Sharks

We carry on. A troop of baboons doze in the road.

Looks like a yoga pose

An unusual sight – a party of banded mongooses scamper by. They stop to cavort with the young baboons for several minutes.

A lot of what we see is flat grassland.

A crocodile the size of a Buick crosses our path.

Lunchtime. We have a picnic in a shady grove after Frog makes sure there aren’t any dangerous critters in the area.

Frog, Maria, and Durk

After lunch, we pass a hippo pool.

Next day, we arrange a trip by mokoro through a part of the Okavango Delta.

Durk joins us for this excursion as well.

There are Monet-esque lily pads everywhere.

Those distance dark spots in the lake? They’re hippos, keeping an eye out so we don’t get too close.

Hippos kill around 500 people in Africa per year. Slightly different than the Disney hippos.

A marbled reed frog appears in the vegetation. Mystery solved: our guide shows us the business card for his guiding business: ‘Reed Frog Tours’.

An island makes a good spot for lunch.

The black dot in the background is a hippo.

After lunch, we go on a walking safari.

On the way back, the sun beats mercilessly on Durk’s bare head. His poler fashions a cap for him out of lily pads.

With the exception of the odd palm tree on the horizon, we could be paddling canoes through Algonquin Park.

Sight or Insight of the Day

On our walking safari, we come across the remains of a long-dead hippo. Probably killed in battle with another hippo.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_8137-1024x683.jpg
‘Pachyderm’ from Ancient Greek παχύδερμος (pakhúdermos), from παχύς (pakhús, “thick”) + δέρμα (dérma, “skin”)

Its remaining thick hunk of flesh looks like a giant pork rind.