Zebras are wild equines native to southern and eastern Africa. Famous for their stripes, it has been said that no two are alike.
This mountain zebra, one of the three species of zebras, stopped and looked my way from a ridgeline in central Namibia.
These three are plains zebras, the species I saw frequently in Botswana. A “dazzle” is the name for a group of zebras and these animals do dazzle with their dramatic stripes and their powerful bodies. I actually think the zebra on the right might be pregnant.
A trio of plains zebras blend into this Botswana landscape.
Is this zebra love?
I wonder what these plains zebras are talking about. Is it a serious topic?
The impala antelope, which we saw frequently in Botswana, is sprightly, graceful, and swift. You can easily identify it by the black patches above the hooves on the hind legs. These are scent glands, covered with tufts of black hair, which give chemical signals to herd members and may be especially important during a chase.
These impalas appear to be jumping for joy!
In Botswana, we frequently saw lechwe antelopes staring back at us, darting across the bush, or sometimes sparring with each other. Lechwe have varying hues of golden brown fur with white bellies. I didn’t catch one darting…..
but this male is giving me a good look.
These two young males are, we were told, “play fighting”, which involved locking their impressive, spiral horns over and over again. At first, I was skeptical about the fight being playful, but after a few minutes they both gave it up and went their separate ways.
This is my one-and-only photo of a sable antelope, which I had never heard of before and only saw once while on a safari in Botswana.
This beautiful and powerful-looking antelope inhabits the savannahs of eastern and southern Africa.
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.
What a welcoming committee! We met up with these guys, free to roam wherever they choose, not long after we landed.
They might be thinking who the heck are you and why are you here?
We spent at least a half-hour with a group of giraffes, including these two lounging beside an acacia tree.
We say goodbye to central Namibia’s vast desert with dunes that extend all the way to the very edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Here are a few last glimpses before heading off to a new and radically different landscape.
On our last evening, we see the sun setting in a very fast descent, glowing orange in a cloudless sky.
Early the next morning, the moon, barely visible through the clouds, sets over a long straight road through the desert.
The desert stretches out to distant mountains, with only a solitary tree to dot the landscape.
The animals we saw in Namibia were totally wild, not confined to game parks. The ubiquitous oryx is known as the national animal of Namibia.
And wild ostriches strut around proudly in their native habitat.
If I hadn’t accidentally locked the keys in the trunk of our rental car, we would have stayed in a resort down this beautiful country road in New South Wales. (Instead, we stayed in a small place across from a mechanic’s garage, where some nice people worked a day and a half to retrieve the key. There were complications with the way the car was built!) Experiencing the wide-open spaces where kangaroos are free to hop is something I greatly miss about being in Australia.