Rocks and dunes rise from the desert floor. Small rivulets in the sand are traces of past rains and ridges on the dunes are reminders of the desert winds.
On a highway leading from the Namibian capital, Windhoek, to the Namib desert, we stopped at an isolated, iconic settlement aptly named Solitaire. It reminded me of the roadhouses off the beaten track in Australia. Food, gasoline, and gift items are sold. The settlement is somewhat of a memorial to the first owner, now deceased, who kept his used cars and trucks and left them all over the property. Apparently, this same owner created the best apple pie in the world. That’s what our guide (and a sign over the door) told us.
Elephants have soft pads on their feet rather than hooves and they walk quite silently for their size. They also have toenails, which get worn down because they walk a little bit forward on their tippy toes.
It is truly amazing to me that such a giant animal lumbers quietly around on soft, albeit tough, padded feet.
The wild dog was our African guide’s favorite animal and he told us we were lucky to see quite a few of this endangered animal while in Botswana. They usually hunt in packs like wolves. But we saw a male and female hunting together, possibly the start of new pack. The pair tried to capture a small antelope, but in this case was unsuccessful.
The beautiful ears are on high alert.
They are also call spotted wolves, and you can see why.
They blend beautifully with the savanna grasses.
We saw many lions…male and female, large and small prides, nursing mothers, cubs learning to eat the meat of a recent kill. They were often very close to our vehicle and as long as we stayed in the vehicle we were safe. However, our guide said if we got out of the vehicle, we might be eaten. I just had to ask!
Just another pretty face.
Mom is sticking pretty close to her cubs.
This girl is Queen of the Mound!
Have you ever seen a wild elephant take a bath? I never thought I would see such a thing, but I saw quite a few enjoying baths in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, a vast inland river delta that floods and dries each year.
This is the first elephant we encountered on a five-hour boat trip to a lodge in the delta. After we showed up, he got out of the water. That was a difficult process and this ponderous giant seemed loathe to give up the bouyancy that the water provided.
We passed a second elephant standing close to the bank.
We encountered others stepping lightly (for an elephant) on the floor of the marsh…
and quenching their thirst, which is easy this time of year.
The Ana tree grows in many parts of Africa and is commonly found in river beds. It has adapted to withstand waterlogging after heavy rains and also to tolerate long periods of drought by sending its roots deep underground for water. Formerly classified as a type of Acacia, the Ana tree was transferred to its own genus because its annual cycle is the opposite of the Acacia, with the Ana being bare in the summer and in leaf and flower during the winter. So this tree, photographed in springtime, will be soon be losing its leaves.