After a short, dry and uneventful flight from the Linyanti airstrip, we landed at the strip serving Khwai. Dry flight because Stewardess Precious declined to serve drinks and snacks, claiming the flight was too short. She did pass around a few candies. Our new guides, Aubrey and Max met us and we motored to the camp.
Here is Gina as we were loading up (and part of Roger)
On the way we saw some wildlife as usual.
Another beautiful shot of an African Fish Eagle (if I do say so myself)
We were welcomed to the Khwai Tented Camp by Dudu and her crew. Â Another first class camp. https://africanbushcamps.com/camps/khwai-tented-camp/
I was entirely too comfortable.
And so was Aubrey, one of our guides.
Dudu, our hostess and the cook.
We would find during our stay at Khwai, as we did at the other camps, that they have hospitality down to a science. The staff were invariably well trained, courteous, friendly and helpful. And the facilities were all first class. I don’t think anyone in the group would disagree with me that we could recommend any of the camps, with the possible exception of Nogatsaa due to the long drive in. If Nogatsaa gets an airstrip as they are allegedly trying to, that objection would be removed.
Back to wildlife. A lechwe, baby hippo and cormorant sharing grazing space.
Grazing is hard work, baby is tired.
Lechwe looking at you.
Croc on bank.
Probably the prettiest bird we saw in Botswana was the lilac breasted roller. My favorite anyway. A couple flying pictures.
Then we encountered the high point of our wildlife experience. Just as the vulture and other scavenger birds are not attractive, even ugly, the hyena, a scavenger, is possibly the most disgusting animal. Aubrey and Max warned us that the hyenas had a unique greeting ritual, and unique it was. Think of dogs sniffing, then multiply that many times, with accompanying sound effects. I will not repeat some of the comments heard from the vehicles as we watched the hyenas returning to the den and greeting each other. I did hear Lynne say “Wes, stop it,” but I have no idea what she meant.
Mother hyena and pups.
After our heartwarming experience observing the hyena, we returned to the camp for another fine meal and a good nights sleep.
Starting out the next morning as usual about 6:30 AM, we had a good wildlife day. First up was a pack of African Wild Dogs we ran across. A critically endangered species, there are only abut 1,400 remaining in the wild, and they exist only in southern Africa and the southern part of East Africa.
Not too much later we crossed paths with three young lions.
A Martial Eagle
It was a regular feline frolic that morning as we spotted (pun intended) cheetahs.
Impeding our travels once again, this fellow had some big ones, tusks.
On the afternoon drive, more cats. Our guides were alerted to a lion feasting on a kill, so we raced to catch the cat in action. Well, the kill was probably two days old, and the smell was strong to say the least. The big cat was cleaning up what was left on the carcass.
We stayed much too long watching the guy having his meal and smelling his meal, but finally he had enough and got up to rest, right by our jeep.
This is how close he was, as Gina took the shot from behind me in the LandCruiser.
Which brings up a point we all discussed at one time or another. These are wild animals, in their natural habitat. They were almost completely oblivious to our presence, having become so accustomed to the jeeps riding around them.
Later we saw this cute little fellow, a jackal in the late afternoon sun.
More elephants. This young guy looks like he has a deformed trunk. Compare to his friend in the second picture.
We passed a herd of another member of the antelope family, wildebeests in the later afternoon sun.
The national bird of Botswana in the late afternoon sun, a Kori Bustard
As we went for our sundowner, we were joined by Cynthia and Ken. They had left us after Nogatsaa, staying at other camps. Their camp at Khwai was close by ours, so we could have a reunion. And, I know they were glad to be present for the poop spitting contest. In fact, their guide, Sinka, instigated the whole thing, seeing who could spit lechwe poop the furthest. Supposedly, the lechwe poop was sterile, and no harm would come from putting it it your mouth. We travelers were more than willing to take their word for that. If fact, Aubrey, one of our guides, wasn’t keen on the idea either. But, Max and Sinka had a spirited contest, with Max coming up short. Here is Max with a valiant effort.
Gina and Cynthia together again.
A sunset to finish a good day.
The next morning, the group went to the village of Khwai. Janet had some gifts she wanted to give the kids. Sig and I elected to stay at the lodge, Sig not having much choice and me just being lazy. We went through the village on each game drive and across a rickety bridge to get to the Game Reserve.
The village was stretched out along the dusty road, and was very poor. The residents were supported by government grants and by profit sharing from the safari camps in the area. The only electricity was in the municipal buildings. The homes were mostly small concrete structures or thatched huts. The inhabitants cooked on fires in from of their homes, and the same fires provided heat.
Some scenes from the visit to the school courtesy of Gina.
Lunch was served for the group in the bush.
Ladies enjoying the break.
On the afternoon drive we saw wildebeests.
Two young zebras in the sunset.
And to finish the day, elephants walking in the beautiful African sunset.
The next day we said goodbye to Khwai. Our two guides Aubrey and Maxwell, and fine ones they were.
Waiting to load up for the short flight to Rra Dinare, our next camp.
More to come.