As we are suspended above the earth in a hot air balloon at sunrise, the desert floats by in continuously changing frames.
Natural processes leave behind their abstract patterns in the earth.
Not many cars pass along these intersecting roads, which stand out strikingly against the desert sands.
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.
So many animals are great parents and elephant mothers are among the best that I have ever seen. Mother and baby stay close to each other and the young walk right by the mother’s side.
The young baby relies on its mother for nourishent and protection and is often nearly hidden by Mom’s silhouette.
The sitatunga is a rare, swamp-dwelling antelope, an animal I had never heard of. This one was crouching along the bank of an Okavango delta waterway in Botswana.
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!
All is quiet in this vast marshland of Botswana. There are no elephants’ baths to interrupt now….just a quiet glide through marsh grasses and papyrus.
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.