Botswana 2019           Page:  1   2   3   4  

Okavango Delta, Machaba Camp

Next morning we were back at it, heading out at 5:30 AM. We first checked the buffalo carcass, but the hyenas hadn't left more than scraps. Their jaws are powerful enough to crush bone and they do this to get the marrow. (Their poop is white-ish grey from all of the bone.) We then came across herds of zebra, called a "dazzle" of zebra. As we watched, our guide noticed that all of the animals, but particularly the impalas, were extremely fidgety. Their behavior made him suspect that African Wild Dogs might be in the vicinity.

Zebra and impalas

Some vultures had begun to circle, and it gave him a good idea of where to look. One of the great things about the delta, as opposed to some other areas, is that the vehicles can go anywhere. Shaun didn't hesitate to push the truck through bushes or plow through water deep enough that it came inside the truck. So in fairly short order we were parked 10 feet from a dead impala. The carcass was almost unmarked and a group of vultures were hopping around wary of approaching the animal. There was no sign of dogs or any other predator, so eventually the vultures got to work.

01 Vultures just before wild dogs arrive 02 Vultures and impala

Then we saw the dogs running straight towards us. (It would be terrifying if you were on foot.) They clearly knew exactly where they were going, and Shaun theorized that on their first pass a one of the trailing dogs caught the impala. He then chased the pack to bring them back. By this point we had seen leopards, lions and hyenas eating, but nothing prepared us for the dogs. They eat in a frenzy, it reminded me of Piranhas.

05 Wild dogs and impala 06 Wild dogs and impala 07 Wild dogs and impala 08 Wild dogs and impala

Then, as abruptly as they had arrived, the dogs turned and ran off. Our guide said the vultures would attract lions, and the dogs wouldn't want to mess with them. The dogs had been on the scene for all of 5 minutes, and the next picture shows what they left behind for the vultures.

09 Vultures after wild dogs left

After that it was time for brunch and a siesta. When we got back to camp these hippos were munching their way past the front of our tent. 'High tea' was at 3:30 and at 4:00 PM we headed out for another game drive. The afternoon was quiet, but after finding the dogs this morning we agreed that Shaun had nothing to prove. Notice the bird on the ground below is guarding a couple of eggs, and that's an adult Tawny Eagle and a juvenile eagle.

Hippos in front of tent Bird - Collared Pratincooe Zebra chewing grass

Cape Buffalo are territorial and cranky. There are no threat displays or chest thumping with these guys, if they charge, they're coming all the way. They kill people every year.

Cape Buffalo clean Bird - Tawny Eagle Bird - Tawny Eagle juvenile

Finally it was time for a break to stretch our legs, have a drink and watch another beautiful sunset.


   Page:   1   2   3   4  

Created by
Terry Culhane
© 2005-2020