There's a great African folk tale about hippos. Many years ago they were land animals, and the hippos asked god if they could live in the water. They said, "It would be so much cooler on hot days". But god said no, he was concerned that they might eat his fish. Finally he relented, but to this day hippos open their mouths wide to show god that there are no fish. I spent all week trying to catch those big yawns, along with any other interesting shots I could find.
The hippo in the shot below was trying to squeeze past the elephant without getting into a confrontation. Almost exactly as I took this picture, the hippo hit the gas and zoomed past the elephant and out of range.
Finally it was our last morning in Botswana, and all of us are genuinely sad. It was a remarkable experience in so many different ways. For a solid week we had spent hours every day out in nature, watching and learning about the animals, the plants and the cycle of the seasons. There were very few of the usual distractions of everyday life and it was a magical experience. Here are a few more animals we saw on our way to the "airport", and our flight back to the real world.