Warthogs, Lions, Wild Dogs...

Friday, 27 June 2014
I've already droned on about it… but I may never get another chance to go to Africa on a photo safari so I'll be sharing a few more details for the next week. I understand if you are getting bored reading about it, but please check out my videos. The animals deserve it! I mean, look at these lion cubs nursing:

At Selinda Camp (in Northern Botswana), a staff member would bring us hot coffee at 5:30am with our wake-up "call." I think it is so funny but even though there is nothing to knock on (we stayed in tents), the person would say "Knock, knock" when they came to get us. At 6:00am, our guide Grant Atkinson of Atkinson Photography and Safaris would pick us up at our tents while it was still dark out.

From there, we'd have a quick breakfast by the fire and leave for our game drives at 6:30am sharp. For the first 30 minutes we wouldn't see much at all (the animals must love to sleep too) but then as the sun would start to make its presence known over the horizon, we'd invariably start to see big game.

Here's a look at the vehicles that we'd jump into early in the mornings:

On our first day we were able to see a Wild Dog pack! They are rare to see in the wild but after tracking them for an hour, we found them (barely) but noticing the black color on their coats in the grass. Their size is comparable to a medium-sized dog, about 50-60 pounds. Their ears are so funny though, shaped like big cups. 

The pack that we spent time with was made up of a few females (as well as one alpha male, I think) and they had a den nearby. Grant explained that a female can have a litter of 12 puppies at one time. The dogs make a twittering, high-pitched sound when interacting. They hunt impala and apparently have large hearts so that they can run long distances while hunting (up to 15k!). They are difficult to domesticate, however, because they nip each other when socializing. 

Also on our first day we tracked (this means that the guide watched for tracks and drives in the direction the animal seemed to be headed) lionesses to a kill. It was incredible. We found them and there were at least eight lionesses with a few cubs chowing down on a wildebeest. It was almost finished but what a sight! 

In the journal I kept during my time in Africa I wrote on the first night:

Absolutely amazing day. I'm sitting in the lodge now under one of the few sources of strong light while everyone is gathered around the fire. I can hear frogs on the water and their calls sound like delicate bells ringing slowly. We saw so many animals on our drive including jackal, lions and cubs, giraffes, warthog, wild dog, hooded vultures, and African Fish Eagles.

On this trip I got the bug back for video work and would take a few clips when the animals moved. I hope you enjoy! 

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