Botswana – Namaste Africa!

Botswana Blog (excerpts from the Journal)

1-14 March, 2015

1 March

It’s been quite a journey getting here with many moments I had to remind myself to just breathe.  My bones are aching, my eyes tired, and I’m in Africa… I feel so alive!  So much awaits and so much unknown will fill each day.  To start, as I was sitting waiting for my flight to Botswana in Johannesburg airport, I heard someone call my name.  I looked up and there was Angela from Australia.  She’ll be my roommate for the first 2 weeks and we’ve been emailing, but never met until now.  Turned out, she was on the same flight and even seated next to me on that very exciting leg of a very long bit of travel.  We both giggled with excitement and shared eagerly our beginning attempts at animal communication leading up to this time with Anne and Antonio in Botswana.

 

Upon arrival, we were met by Alwyn, Anna, Antonio and a representative from Maun Lodge… what a welcome wagon!

 

It felt great to get into our room, lay on the bed with my feet up the wall for a while.  We both are of the same thinking, that we were curious to get out and go for a walk to check out this part of rural Maun, even with the storm clouds looming, lightning flashing and thunder rumbling.  It all added to the excitement of this day knowing what amazing adventure lies ahead for us both.

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2 March

Angela and I took a taxi into “town” today… it’s Sunday and all are dressed in bright lovely colors, some decked out in fabulous outfits the contrast with the roadside garbage and storefront signage, it makes me smile.  The town is very small, barely a paved road and shops are simple, many folks sell food they’ve grown and or a few wares along the roadside.  A guy made really cool outdoor chairs using old tires and some recycled materials, another gal had a little salon inside a little make-shift building under the shade of a big tree, we bought tomatoes from another friendly gal.  It’s small and humble, but so vibrant in it’s own way.

 

Tonight I’ll meet the rest of the group for dinner and an information session, then tomorrow we’ll set off on our grand adventure learning about animal communication while experiencing the wonders of beautiful Botswana.

 

3 March – to the Central Kalahari Desert for 3 nights camping

 

This is Africa.  I feel alive and happy just being here surrounded by nature in all directions.  We left Maun in 2 open (just a roof) vehicles, watching structures turn from square buildings to round huts the further out we drove.  Cows, donkeys, horses and goats roam free in the area, perhaps are fenced in on a larger scale as this area is a roadmap of fencing… sadly.  Through the first gate, we drive along the boarder between two beef ranging areas separated by double fencing as a way to control hoof in mouth disease.  The fencing has certainly done its fair share of damage to the wildlife resulting in mass deaths of some 350,000 wildebeests when the British initiated barrier first went up.  Other animals have suffered as a result as well, but the fences remain.  A few have found ways around around such as the zebra in their long migrations to the salt pans and up further past Chobe NP.  Recent research has shown this migration to be the longest in Africa, perhaps the world. Later in this trip, the hope is to see this migration in action… fingers crossed.

 

A few drops fell from the sky bringing out the most sweet and delicious smells of the surrounding green grasses.  Mataei and I breathed in a bit of joy knowing this air is so clean and alive.  We reveled in the fact that not a single human building, pole or wire could be seen in any direction… it was pure joy.  Just after that the rains began to fall with more determination, the puddles became muddy lakes, the water gathered on the roof tops of the vehicles and the wind blew sheets of moisture strait into the vehicles.  The temperature cooled a bit, but was far from freezing… just enough to make someone completely soaked shiver a bit.  The other truck drove past with everyone looking like soaking wet puppies, another private vehicle passed as we huddled under the protection of a tree and took a photo laughing and waving in sympathy as they were so nice and dry in their enclosed vehicles with fully outfitted trailers.  I turns out a shower such as this at the beginning of a journey is a blessing, a cleansing to open space for what it to come.

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Just after our first workshop, we all had an incredible visitor.  A young female leopard joined out company, shyly making her way out from under the vehicle parked and beginning of the row of tents.  Some folks jumped in excitement, but Anna had us all remain seated, be calm and observe.  She sent out thoughts that we are a safe lot and it’s ok to explore camp, even come in front of the tents.  Our spotted visitor did just that, she must have been with us for 1/2 hour or more checking out each person’s tent a couple times.  She even snagged a shoe someone had left in front of the tent.  Alwyn got her to drop it, which she did.  Then she wanderer around the back of the tents finding one of the loos with an open door flap and a toilet roll she found loads of fun to play with.  She made another round of the tent, then returned to the vehicle jumping up on the hood, then crawling around to the driver’s seat.  Johanne discouraged her from being in the vehicle, which likely looked like a lot of for for a young feline.  We could just see her enjoy a good clawing of the seats and perhaps some serious gnawing of the steering week and gear shift.  She so calmly stayed in our presence, never scared or very timid.  It as beyond a treat.  There was a chance she’d return and come back to visit camp through the night, so we all took precautions and made midnight loo runs in tandem.

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4 March

 

An early morning game drive here in the Kalahari, viewing many springbok, although not the 10s of thousands who once roamed these planes.  Many were “ponking” (jumping strait up and down), other youngsters were play sparing… the young females seemed happy to just be together grazing away with their friends.  We saw playful oryx, wildebeest, a family of 6 bat eared fox, and another smaller family, jeckel, bustards, rollers, falcon, guinea foul, even an ostrich.  The other truck spotted a good sized tortoise.  We looked for giraffe, as they are sometimes in these parts, but didn’t see any.  Elephants and other animals who need daily water are not found in these parts, instead it is populated with those adapted to a dry desert life.  The oryx are a good example of that never actually needing to drink water, instead able to extract it from their food.  These are large antelope with capillaries much like a camel allowing them to thrive in this desert environment.  I’m guessing this time of year is a treat for them with green grasses and occasional rains.

 

Afternoon game drive heading south.  It’s nice riding with Johannes as he’s so keen on the birds.  Saw two leopard vultures eating something dead.  They are red dotted on the endangered species list.  Lions by the way have only about 3000 in the wild and around 4-6000 in captivity.  Unfortunately the government counts the total in South Africa rather than just the wild ones, so has not put them on the endangered list as they should be.  At the scene were a couple jackals, a lovely tawny eagle, may kits circling over head and some guinea foul morning the loss of their lost one (assumed).

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5 March

I enjoyed the group in our van today.  We’re all taking more time to just be quiet around the animals and keeping our cameras put away.  It’s a far more enjoyable experience to be with the animals that way and I noticed many times throughout the day, that they responded much more positively to a happy greeting rather than a camera lens.  In fact some would actually turn away and walk away the moment a camera was raised.  Putting myself in their position, I’d do the same.  Even a squirrel seemed to face us and wave in a way as we passed, where others turn away when the paparazzi emerges.  I also quite enjoy the journey more taking only a few photos… truly all I need are a few to remind me, and the rest is the experience of being there in the moment enjoying my time here in Africa and learning from the nature around me.

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6 March

Travel day, departing the Kalahari and heading through grazing land for cattle and donkeys.  The landscape changed dramatically with the grasses being over grazed and such.  Nonetheless, the cattle did look quite happy and healthy… especially those in the shade of trees taking reprieve from the thick heat of the day.

 

Alwyn and Johannes, took us to a lovely lunch locale on the potati river, but a good bit of bush wacking was necessary to get there.  The cows found it easily and were only a little disturbed by our interference.  It felt great to take a little walk along the river seeing the new birds including the “Go away” birds I’d heard a good bit about and was hoping to see during my stay here.  They’re called that because of the call they make and sounds a bit like “go away.”

 

We arrived in the little village where Tian’s Camp is located waving to all the school kids as we arrived, they’e return the joy running to our vehicle waving and smiling back at us.  What joy in their faces.  Checking in, we received cold drinks, then rushed upstairs as there were elephants crossing the river below camp… yes, wild elephants!  They’re gorgeous and such a delight to just watch move so elegantly along with their family.  After all the documentaries I’ve seen of elephants crossing a harsh desert, it was so fun to seem them crossing and cooling in the big welcoming river.

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7 March

Early morning yoga in front of a gorgeous red-turned-golden sunrise, what a perfect place to honor the emerging day.  Alwyn said he heard lions at the water this morning and with his keen sense, much like that of an Elder, I haven’t a doubt.  We didn’t see them, but did hear little plops in the water that coincided with that timing and could have been just that as well.  We did notice the zebra calls moving up the bank through the morning.

 

After breaky we seat off through Mekgadikgadi Pan Park for some safari time, but first a few of us joined Johannes for a trip into the village to fetch some cookies for our morning tea.  Food here is sold out of small brick shacks at the edge of someone’s property.  Metae gave me some pens, which I handed out to the kids enjoying their lovely smiles.  They liked them, but asked for sweets.  Of course that is always a bad idea, as it teaches the kids to beg a bit more and causes tooth problems in this remote area where tooth care is not available.

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From thee park gate, the temperatures rose, the breeze became hot and the landscape more dry with less trees and lower shrubbery.   The road, if you can call it that, was challenging and I so admired the skills of Johannes and Alwyn handling the vehicles so beautiful drifting rather harshly from one side of the track to the next as the sand shifted under the tires.  We hit tarmac for a little while after the gate, only to go though another gate into Nxai Pan, where they guys let air out of the tires in preparation for even deeper sand and dryer temps.  A heard of about 14 giraffes broke up the duration of the drive before arriving at the more abundant part of the national park, the area we’d spend 3 nights experiencing.

 

Our first baobab tree, and another marked our place for lunch.  A gorgeous elephant stood relaxed in the cool mud of a drying water hole.  We all felt rather spent upon arrival in this parched heat, but the plethora of fresh fruit helped remedy that a bit.  Alwyn pointed out some lions way across the field from us watching our activity.  It took me 10 minutes to locate the animals, where Alwyn just picked them out with his special “animal-ex-ray” eyes.  We all tried as a group to tune into the animals and see what came up.  Daniella saw a lion doing some playful biting at a bug, something perfectly reenacted when we got closer to them later in the day.  Admittedly, I dozed off during the event taking some time to put in some zzzz’s in the heat.  Being that most of the animals were also sleeping, perhaps I was just joining their afternoon activities.

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Our camp isn’t far from a small water hole, which attracts a good number of animals, but seems to be most popular with the elephants.  We drove the short distance to that area, taking us right next to the lions… all 15 of them!  They seemed at most, mildly interested in our arrival in between snoozes.  4 elephants sprayed themselves with the cool waters and grey mud for a good bit.  Occasionally one would look our way putting it’s trunk out to sniff us and check us out.  What an incredible evening to see two such special animals to grace our presence.  Angela and I agreed we love the ellies and feel they somehow cast a peaceful spell over this land… much like the whales do in their ocean home.  I’d not want to live on this planet with out either of those beings to share it with.

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8 March

5:30 wake up for morning drive.  Lovely morning to be out in the sun with the cool breeze and amazing long vistas to rest one’s eyes upon.  There were just 5 of us in Alwyn’s truck.  We first came across a small harem of zebra and another just across the road of impala.  Alwyn shared with us about the gentle life of zebra and their ways of acquiring a heard.  The young males break from their herd about 5 years of age.  A young male will approach a harem leader and ask his permission to court one of the particularly attractive young females in the bunch.   Since males will never mate with their own offspring, it is a good thing to let one of the members go.  The young male then courts the young female earning her trust and affections before they break off.  He does this over and over throughout a good potion of his approximate 20 years and builds his group.  There isn’t any fighting over herds or anything as there is in so many other species.  There is however, when a harem looses it’s male and is slowly courted by another male to join his group.  If a female has just given birth or is pregnant with the calf of the former male, all the young are killed via infanticide.  That can get violent, but that is nature at work.  It is best to be one of the early to join females in a harem, and other problem solving events show the zebra to be of a higher intelligence than many other ungulates.

 

We stopped to take in the amazing presence of a massive baobab tree.  We couldn’t help buy lay hands upon the 3,000 year old or so, succulent enjoying being in it’s presence.  A golden orb spider had built a glistening web next to the tree.

 

At the water hole, a place used to make a whole film called “Roar” (I think) following the life of animals in this ares here at the life-giving water hole.  There we say many ostrich, one couple with some 10-12 babies!, playful zebra, impala, springbok (this being the only place where those two antelope can be found in the same place, the impala being more prevalent in East Africa.  Also, an elephant who was frightened by the rangers noisy vehicle, storks, crows, a sectretary bird same running in (literally) then headed off as if late to an appointment, wildebeest, kestrel, kite, beeaters, blacksmith lapwings, and many others.

 

Yet another incredible drive with much education and so many amazing sights.   Some fun parts, were watching “crazy Betty” the wild pronking springbok bounding across the landscape as though some wires shorted and she’d gone bonkers.  What joy that maverick of a lady must have been feeling.  A baby zebra bounded about at the water hole bolting this way and that, chasing the occasional sprinbok hoping for a friend to frolic with.  He’s buck and bolt then do it again and again.  At one point his family was at the water hole enjoying a drink, when he came bolting up behind spooking the lot, sending them running until they realized who it was playing the prank on them.  Nature really does seem to enjoy and sense of humor and fun.

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Alwyn shared with us about the termites;  The female starting out with a male at the first rain, then digging in at a soft spot.  If they prove to be good gardeners, they breed and begin their colony.  She grows to over 1’ in size protected down deep in the mound by the guards, soldiers, gardener, nurse maids, workers, etc she has produced among the some 30,000 eggs she lays daily, all coming out perfectly suited for the job most needed at hand.  She becomes the brain of the colony, the colony itself the heart and the mound the lung.  It is considered an animal that doesn’t move.  All are infertile except some laid only once a year, who fly at the first rain and hope to start their own colony.  Predators are some ants who disguise themselves and can enter the colony without being detected until they attack, at that point the termites rebel and push them out.  Of course aardvarks, anteaters and such as well.

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We set off on our afternoon drive just after that heading toward the water hole to see what’s up there.  4 lovely bull elephants were enjoying their drink, one wandered off just a bit before we arrived, but three stayed.  They were so beautiful and truly a moving sight to see.  I tried tuning into one to see what their relationship might be like with one another.   Two were strongly bonded, likely being booted out of their families at the same time at about age 13 and have remained together for the past 45 or so years.  They’ll likely remain close for life.  The third ellie seemed to just be there.  The others were good with him, but he was on his own.

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* One male especially turned it’s attention toward us a little.  I figured they were just keeping an eye on us, but Alway picked up that they were communicating with females somewhere on the other side of our vehicle.  Alwyn saw them first and noticed a smaller (perhaps 5 years or so of age) one among them.  Another look and he noticed their behavior was quite protective leading Alway to conclude there must be a very young one with them along the acacia shrubbery and mopane trees.  The bulls were comfortable with our presence, but Alway thought perhaps the females could use some comfort from us to let them know we are safe and all is good and quiet around the hole.  Shortly after the females made their way through the bush and toward the water hole remaining among the bushes as much as possible.  Another truck arrived and they froze, but then it left and they relaxed and moved forward, then out of the bush entirely with a mad dash to the water hole with a tiny baby, perhaps 5 days old or so sauntering between the legs of its guardians.  They reached the hole and went right to business eagerly replenishing themselves with water.  They were relaxed and spread out a little to enjoy the time there, but remained somewhat on alert just in case.  The males had wandered off by now.  They drank and the baby played and tried out the use of his floppy trunk as best she could.   Often she’d get it wet as though sucking water, then put her whole trunk in her mouth to such on… so cute.  Her ears were still a bit pink and glowed a bit in the descending sun.  She almost fell in the hole a couple times, and mum was right there to help out.  It was such a special time and so nice to see them so relaxed.

 

The truck from before arrived again and put the ellies on alert again, they quickly huddled together with the young ones in the center.  A Jackal trotted by and spooked them a bit more.  At that point the matriarch had to make a decision, and that was to move her family back to safety.  Tightly grouped, they ran back into the bush.

 

We all breathed a breath of joy at having witnessed such a sight.  Later Alwyn shared that in all the years he’s come to watch at this water hole, only one other time has he seen females come in, and never with such a young baby.  There are many predators in this area, enough to keep the females seeking safer havens.  This was truly a special treat, a gift even for us all… the guides too!

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10 March – Day with the baobabs.  A grouping of 7 giants had made their home in the middle of a massive salt pan.  It was quite a sight and we all found it equally spiritual with shared experiences of feeling a message to us to stop being so busy and just be… the world and all we need with come.  The experience was fascinating.

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9 March

On the way to the waterhole first thing in the morning we saw our fist kudu of the trip.  We stopped and enjoyed their presents as well as that of some rather curious wildebeest.  The waterhole was empty of mammals upon our arrival.  A few herds of zebra in the far distance were making their way away from the hole in a number of directions.  Then a herd appeared making its way in our direction, we’d wait for them and see what happened.  Some giraffe marched in the distance to our left, then we saw some to our right in the distance.  They all began closing in quietly.  As they came closer, a large herd of springbok showed up in the distance wandering, then suddenly took flight, galloping and pronking across the wilderness, almost in a blur.  They changed direction and galloped more, then repeated.  Even at a distance it was breathtaking.  As brilliant as that was there, it was just the beginning.  The giraffe closed in from either side, springbok arrived from somewhere else, about 25 ostrich arrived, mostly babies, then a wildebeest, some impala and the two kudu arrived to have a lovely drink.  Everyone was playful and relaxed in our presence and seemed to be partaking in a lovely party.  The springbok continued to pronk and spar here and there, giraffe moved in for a luscious drink, ostrich bobbed their heads up and down in a strange sort of humorous unison.  Alway counted 11 different mammal species at one point he said.

 

A second male giraffe showed up and the one with the herd moved in to show his dominance in a standoff complete with head butting and dramatic circling.  Eventually the newcomer was “escorted” quickly past the females until their drink was done. The herd wandered off, then took flight in their uber elegant gallop across the planes and high speed.  Some bucked a bit in play, what a sight!  Zebra bucked and played, even the kudu joined in the frolic.  I don’t there there is any way this scene could have been better arranged, it was truly remarkable.

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10 March – Travel day and overnight in permanent camp

 

11 March – To Kwai Reserve

After an incredible entrance through Chobe and into Kwai, we came into camp.  The tents set up under huge camel thorn trees, which turned out to be in the path of elephants and other animals making their way from the river making for some truly special in-camp experiences.

 

As a result of that exercise our viewing techniques changed a bit, we did more tuning into the moment, and were greatly rewarded.  We came across a kudu buck and doe in some bushes we drove past.  Normally, that scenario would drive the animals quickly back to the safely of the brush, but we seem to have become a rather unique group in the face of animals.   These graceful skittish animals instead froze, stared at us and suddenly showed signs of curiosity, moving their head toward us and even returning to chewing their cud a bit. Alwyn confirmed, that never happens like that.

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Further on that same drive, the birds seemed to linger so much longer seeming to check us out more than the ubiquitous other way around.  Elephants remained so calm around us and other animals just relaxed in our presence.  At the end of one drive, we happened across a large family of baboons.  They were such fun to watch, with areas seemingly designated for a play ground, adults strengthening bonds through grooming, tiny babies in the arms of their mums while larger babies were looked after by other family members.  We could have been watching pre-technology humans enjoy a day in the woods.

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11 March

We awoke with a great awareness that words are so limiting and shrink our worlds in the grand scheme of it all.  The overused word on this trip is “amazing” and is as meaningless as the word “awesome” is back in the western world.  It doesn’t describe anything, doesn’t express much, and couldn’t possibly begin to describe the sights and experiences we all are having so often each day.  In the story of Buddha, he is asked after his enlightenment, “are you a god?” “are you a guru?” “are you a sage?”  His response was “I am awake.”  I completely understand that in a brand new way now.

 

I’m reminded to always create a quiet space in life for which nature will teach and fill in.  The saying “Nature abhors a void” fills in the space we leave open perfectly.  We can let nature and life fill in the spaces we create.

 

An evening drive with Johanne, was delightful once again.  We all were so quiet after the morning lessons and heat of the day.  The animals seemed to appreciate it as all just carried on about their business letting us sit with them for long periods without any concern.  In fact, I can take that one step further and say that it was almost as if we were the ones being gawked at by the wildlife.  The birds flew close in and stayed for long periods checking us out, other animals show more signs of curiosity and annoyance (a common occurrence with wildlife these days).  An extended family of baboons seemed almost to welcome us to sit and watch their family frolic about, with babies playing happily with others climbing small bushes, chasing one another, big males enjoying company of others, it was life as usual for them all with out an ounce of tension.  A small herd of zebra walked by with the same peaceful quality in our presence.  I felt so apart of it all, a part of this web of life we call nature.

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* The sun was setting in yet another memorable display of color with acacia trees silhouetting the horizon.  Driving back a large bull elephant was picking up the tasty iron wood pod from around the base near the roadside.  I thought we’d be driving past, but Johanne turned off the engine and we glided to a stop right in front of him.  He only slightly acknowledged our presents before retuning to his venture.   I watched his huge girth expand with breath and found mine doing the same.  It’s a truly magical thing to breath with an elephant for me, rather a spiritual experience really.  He moved closer to me, the closest to him on the truck.  I was so in the moment watching him pick up the pods, I couldn’t help but mentally help him prod and sniff at the ground, thinking “more to your left, more to your right, slightly more forward.”  He seemed in tuned with me, even going strait for specific pods I had my intention on.  He was only about 10 ‘ from me with his large beautiful tusks pointing right in my direction.  We breathed together more and I felt something in my being soften and connect with this very special part of the natural world.  We hung out entranced for about 15-20 minutes it seemed before it began getting quite dark.  I tried to let him know we’d be starting the engine and moving on, so as not to spook him.  When we did, I felt we both were startled to break the moment.  He picked up his head and stepped toward me in a mini-mock-charge, but backed down immediately, looking at us as if to say a kind good night.  I looked back and wished him the same.  My heart was aglow, I felt I’d entered another world for those moments.

 

12 March

The season seems to be changing quickly from the heat of winter and rain to the coolness of a drier summer.  The days remain hot, but the evenings are cooling quickly.  I love the sounds of the night, cadidids chirping, crickets playing, birds and bugs with occasional sounds of the larger animals in the distance.  Knowing more birds, I learned their chattering often has more meaning than just song, they are the alarm system of the bush, letting others know what is going on and who is where.  The franklins and cheeky yellow billed hornbills are most talkative in camp with hippos, zebra and hyenas playing back up to their concerto.  Other birds and animals chime in as they wish.

 

Like our time with the elie collecting seed pods last night, often the most special moments are so intimate they can’t possibly be captured via photo or video, even if caught on film by chance.  The feelings, the shared space, the magic of it all as it was to just sit and breath with a wild elephant, those are memories captured by the heart.  To be in that moment with the wild being was the ultimate compliment to this visitor.  A photo may trigger a memory, but that would only be “taking” from the experience at hand and disconnecting me from the moment it seemed.  That evening is now a beautiful part of my life, a gift to honor the light in both me and “sir elephant” in both my heart and perhaps the elies too… Namaste Africa!

 

13 March – another lovely day

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14 March – An incredible farewell – Namaste Botswana!

 

Departing Kwai through Chobe to airstrip.  Following loads of surreal experiences, the elephants seemed to bless the morning as if somehow thanking us for bringing being such kind visitors and attempting to better connect with their world on their level.  Before sunrise, an odd noise was heard and the only definition for it I could come up with was an elephant snoring near by.  I asked Alwyn later and sure enough, that is was it was.  We laughed and Alwyn carried on to say such a thing never happens near camp sites, that somehow the elie was quite comfortable with our group.  As we sipped tea around the fire, trees shook by the weight of an ellie shaking a camel thorn tree to liberate it’s tasty and nutritious seed pods.   The stunning being then wandered into camp to carry on with his gathering business, stopping to check us out quite casually, scratching his bum on a nice stump and such.  The other side of camp also had lovely grey visitors… about 3 I think.  This morning, life was abundant having a leopard walk through camp in the dark, lions roar in the distance, Hyenas howl, birds singing their choir of song and the fervent monkeys enjoying the visiting humans.

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Tanya cooked us a lovely breaky complete with pancakes and “fibered muffins,” adding a sense of humor after an sighting yesterday of a young elie having accidentally excreted his own “fibered muffins” into the water and looking completely embarrassed at having done so.  We said our final and touching good byes and thank yous to the staff who bent over backwards to make this a truly exceptional two weeks camping in the bush of wild Botswana, then boarded the trucks for a final drive to the dirt airstrip servicing the Chobe National Park.  Exiting camp, more elephants graced our presence at very close range, my heart pounding with love and admiration of those animals so dear to my heart.

Alwyn was kind to pull over by the river and just then a large bull elephant walked within 10 feet of our truck completely relaxed, looking at us with his clear brown eye catching a sparkle from the morning light.  He slowing flapped his ears helping him to keep cool in the warm morning air.  The moment was so intimate in that moment, it was like catching a glimmer into the kind soul of this perfect grey being. The sounds were nil with his massive round feet touching ground so gently.  He walked into the river’s edge in front of us, sending small ripples out into the glassy river and began to hydrate his handsome body.  I welled up with emotion.  Another elephant joined him so calm in our presence as though they knew us as friends.  The two walked deeper into the water and we moved on.  Not 5 minutes later a heard of some 40 female elephants and their young were at water’s edge just across the river getting their morning drink.  We stopped to watch and again all was so intimate with them.  They slowly moved on, with young ones playing and a few larger ones keeping watch at the back and sides.  We seemed to be accepted as visitors as I again welled up with emotion at the sight and profound feeling of those final moments in the wilds of this very special country.

 

The airport was calling, so on we drove, being stopped once again among the large iron wood trees and dense shrubs by an even larger group of ladies and a few bulls taking a look at the pretty swaggering ladies march by.  A mum and her young stopped in the middle of the road as if to wish us well and offer thanks for being good students of their homeland.  I couldn’t have dreamed up a more incredible scene, yet this is but one of many we experienced this past two weeks studying animal communications among the varied life that saturates Botswana.

 

My heart overflowed with love, it welled up from within as a tear fell from my eye leaving a bit of me in this truly natural place.  “Namaste” was all I could think of, having a far different extraordinarily more profound meaning than ever before.  It refers to “ the light in me acknowledging the shared light in you and in all.”  Divinity has embraced me and mere words become vacant when in tuned with the natural world.

Categories: Africa

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