Elephants, being large and gray, work well as monochrome images.
This small desert-adapted elephant survives on limited flora and regularly has to walk miles in the Namibian desert to reach its water supply.
One has to exercise caution when getting up close and personal with such an enormous animal. Better to rely on a longer lens!
Elephants are social creatures and travel together in matriarchal families.
This elephant seems to say, “Talk to me, I’m all ears!”
Elephants have strong mother-baby bonds.
Yes, we did see leopards in Botswana thanks to our guides. Some of the pictures were a little graphic and, to be honest, I’ll probably never include those in my portfolio. Just not my thing! We did get close, but they were never a threat to us. I hope these images show the terrific beauty of leopards.
I suppose this is your ultimate, classic, everyday leopard pose (if you’re in Botswana), but a favorite nevertheless!
What a beautiful physique and such a long tail!
The leopard blends beautifully with native grasses.
This one looks stealthy! He might have been hunting.
This cutie is one of the many animals I saw on safari in Botswana. I know warthogs are not thought of as the most adorable of creatures, and even the name seems to imply “uncute”. But I like them a lot and I’m sure their mothers love them! I found most of them to be quite camera shy and I don’t think I would want to get near one of those tusks! As you can see in the photo, they bend their front feet backwards to dig in the dirt for roots and bulbs.
A variety of animals showed up for roll call in this shot taken in Botswana…
a giraffe, an elephant family, lechwe antelopes, and a few birds!
Later in the morning (see last post), we got a taste of animals being less complacent.
This hippo was not making adorable and leisurely snorts like the ones at sunrise. It looks mad as hell, probably at us!
And this female lion didn’t want to share a cape buffalo leg she had carried off from the kill site. It’s as if she is saying, “Mine!”
Our first Botswana camp bordered an inlet populated with hippos whose vocalizations were such a novelty to us. We fell asleep listening to them snort and make bubbling sounds in the water.
Then, in the morning, the rising sun silhouetted their ears poking out of the water.
The first creatures I saw after arriving in Botswana were two birds native to southern Africa.
The first was the Burchell’s glossy starling, which gets its iridescence from a special structure in its feathers that acts as a prism and refracts light.
This exotic beauty, an Egyptian goose, with Hollywood-worthy eye makeup appears to be performing a repertoire on a balance beam.
Before we leave Damaraland, here are two more early morning shots of the Namibian landscape.
Once again, we see the moon setting over hills above the red rock desert…
… and the morning sun shining on acacia trees and desert brush.
The elephants in Namibia’s Damaraland are smaller than the typical African elephant. They survive on a more limited diet and have to migrate for miles to drink at desert waterholes. However, they have adapted to this harsher way of life and can live up to three days without water.
They are herbivores – browsing animals that survive on desert brush and trees.
Although not a separate species, they have evolved to have larger feet which help them travel miles across the desert to find water.
Sometimes food is sparse….
…and the terrain is always rugged.
But these elephants are hardy and determined.
A herd gathers together in the afternoon.
Two elephants descend over a hillside to join the herd as the sun sets.
The terrain in Namibia’s Damaraland region features rocky rolling hills and desert vegetation surviving the worst drought in the country’s recent history. It is a landscape dotted with animals that are free to roam. They are not confined to game parks, but may be protected in other ways (as I will mention in a bit).
No animals are visible in this typical landscape, but you can bet some are hiding in the bushes!
A stationary springbok is a rare thing. They are usually seen leaping like ballerinas across the bush. The name “springbok” has everything to do with their mode of transportation and nothing to do with the season of the year! In the distance, a pair of zebras graze along a ridge.
At last, we achieved our wonderful guide’s main goal for the morning: to see some black rhinos. We learned that black rhinos are actually grey, as are white rhinos, with the primary difference being the shape of the upper lip. This little family consists of a mother, baby, and adolescent son. The son had apparently left the mom for a while and then returned. Rhinos are greatly endangered due to the black market in rhino horn; and in this area they are protected by an armed, anti-poaching team from multiple disciplines.