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Friday, May 19, 2017

He Promised Me Africa - Part 4 - Chobe Game Park in Botswana

After visiting Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, we traveled on to Botswana where we went on our first game run. The morning was sunny but the air was cool. We climbed into a topless vehicle -- not quite truck, not quite van, not quite car -- and headed out into Chobe National Park. The road was muddy and we weren't  the first tourists to explore it that day. Periodically, we'd stop to watch birds, all of which seemed exotic to us. Baboons were the largest animals we'd spotted as we drove through a brushy area...but then, we braked for a family of antelope who crossed in front of us. I wondered how such delicate creatures survived in a world of carnivores.

First were several females with their babies. They didn't seem too concerned about our presence -- or of our clicking cameras as they moseyed across the road. The buck was the last to cross. He was in charge of his herd of females and babies and we all knew it. He was so obviously proud of his family and we all got a chuckle out of his almost pompous bearing.

We hadn't traveled much further when we found a road that split off from the main one. It was drier there...and the dust hadn't been disturbed yet. Suddenly, the driver braked and pointed. At first, I didn't understand what I was seeing. After a moment though, I realized I was seeing animal footprints...first large paw prints...and then bigger, rounder impressions. "What is it?" I asked in frustration.
"Lions, ma'am," the guide said. "And elephants."
I squinted. "Oh?"
"Lions running away from elephants."
I sat up taller. "Elephants chase lions?"
"If they get too close to the babies," the guide explained.
I sat back down. I was in the middle of the the early morning...seeing the tracks of an animal drama that had happened in this spot not more than a couple of hours before. Wow.

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