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!
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.
Cape Buffalo are strong, massive, hulks living in sub-Saharan Africa. Also called the African buffalo, they are known to be unpredictable and dangerous in encounters with humans and other animals. These imposing creatures have few predators.
They are bovines, generally found in clusters or in herds, but never domesticated.
Sometimes there are too many to count.
His look seems to say, “Don’t get too close or else.”
One is exactly the number of gnu, also called wildebeest, I photographed in Botswana. Being wary animals and fast runners, many others eluded me. The gnu is another of the large antelope species native to Southern Africa.
Loosely separated from its herd, this gnu is taking a break from grazing on the African savanna.
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!