The onset of rainy season fires up wild animals. Mare and I board a boat with eight others for a safari cruise on the Chobe River, where Botswana be on the left, Namibia on the right.
The Chobe and Zambezi rivers meet at the tip of Impalila Island, resulting in a junction of four different counties – Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
From the safety of our boat, we glide past crocodiles and lizards who blend in with the terrain. A bay of water lilies in bloom provides food and disguise for the many water birds. It also signals the beginning of breeding season.
None will escape the eye of the Fish Eagle, the national bird of Zambia, who scopes out the river scene from a tree.
Hippos roll all over each other, engaging in foreplay. Males are full of testosterone and very aggressive.
They are Africa’s deadliest killers, from a mammal perspective, and have been known to charge boats. Running under water at amazing speed, they can sink their tusks through the hull of a boat! Experienced guides know how to spot the bow wave, and scoot on out of there.
Here come the elephants. Chobe National Park boasts Africa’s largest elephant herds.
They put on a spectacular show, frolicking in the muddy waters. Female elephants are careful to prevent randy young males from engaging in incest.
When males reach this age, they are banned from the female herd. They get to hang out with the guys for the rest of their life, following the females in anticipation of an invite.
Once we disembark, and jump into a safari truck, the breeding theme intensifies.
Vultures wait for the remains of a kill, while we watch a male baboon get excited when a female strolls past. He licks his lips enthusiastically, but she keeps on walking. (That technique had never worked for me either)
Whoa, big fella! This male elephant crosses our path in an obvious, perhaps desperate search for a female. Just how many legs do elephants have?
After a sexually charged water and land safari, we’re moving pretty slow back at the junction. I feel like smoking a cigarette. Ron Mitchell