Returning to Botswana for a Third Round of Discovery

Frank and Alex Taylor

10 Dec 2019

With three previous NWS trips behind us, it was time to indulge again. Having been to Botswana twice before, we wanted to experience another season.  Nine fabulous nights on a mobile safari with Letaka, followed by six nights at Pom Pom camp on the Delta. We started in Chobe with a beautiful river cruise before heading into Savuti. Although the floods failed this year, it was still stunning. Pockets of water enticing the wildlife from far and wide made the viewing exceptional. We saw huge herds of buffalo heading for the remnants of a watering hole and elephants hiding under trees to escape the searing heat. Every morning was filled with excitement as to what we would come across that day. We saw the whole of the Marsh Pride Lions, all thirty-four of them. 

Early one morning, we found a leopard and her cub with a kill up a tree. Suddenly seven of the Marsh Pride approached. The mum and cub clambered to the top of the tree whilst the lions climbed the tree and polished off the kill. We watched in amazement for almost an hour, worrying for the leopard cub who was high up in the tree, getting tired and wobbling about.  One slight mistake and the scenario would change. When there was nothing left of the kill, the lions moved on and the mum and cub came back down– a very tense hour. 

Our next camp was in Khwai. We found the den of a hyena with six cubs. It was quite unbelievable seeing how this bone crushing animal was a gentle mother with her cubs. It was also the first time we saw the sable antelope, an absolutely stunning animal. Our last mobile camp was in Moremi. We knew dogs had been spotted there and we spent three days trying to find them. On our way back to camp on the last day we turned a corner and twenty-two wild dogs were in front of us trying to cross a bridge. It was unbelievable. You just never know what you are going to come across.

It was now time to head off by light aircraft to Pom Pom Camp on the Okavango. A beautiful camp on the edge of a flood plain which, unfortunately, was dry. The failed floods highlighted the struggles the wildlife faced with hippos that could not submerge themselves, crocodiles hiding under logs waiting for water and dried up watering holes desperate to be filled. Tragically there were many dead animals through a lack of food and water.

Then the highlight, twenty-eight wild dogs running through the dry grass. We followed them to where they decided to rest. Suddenly a herd of buffalo started to appear. Ears pricked up; the dogs watched. As the buffalo got closer, the dogs gave chase and attacked, clawing at a youngster and trying desperately to bring it down. The buffalo kept up its fight, dragging itself with the dogs clinging on to the nearby waterhole. An attempt to get out and run off resulted in another attack and a retreat back to the water. A third attempt to escape was successful. The dogs gave up and the buffalo escaped. How lucky were we to see that – we will never forget it.

Africa is like a virus...there is no cure…we keep going back!

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