This is a quote from "Hillel the Elder" from the first century. (I thought I was so original!)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Zambia, Animals Watching Tourists

There is something fascinating about animal watching.  
Perhaps the animals are a little curious about us too.

We debated and decided to participate in the "Cheetah, Lion and Elephant Experience".
Of course, the programs were all about protection, conservation and returning animals to the wild.

It was really fascinating to see cheetahs in action.  Here they were chasing a reward at a dead run.

We were able to get up close and personal and taught how to interpret their mood.

We took them for a walk in the bush.  You will notice the cheetah was not as excited as I was.

Lions were totally different in their disposition and the way they are handled.

The lions used are still juveniles and we were surrounded by five or six handlers.
But it was still a thrill to be so close to a wild animal out in the bush.  

Yea, they don't look so wild when you can take hold of their tails and go for a walk trying to keep up with them.

Last was a ride on an elephant for an hour.  After a half hour a fellow that was taking videos asked if I wanted a photo with my camera so I handed it to him while I fed "Fred" from on top.  Afterwards we fed them and even placed food in their mouths and touched their tongues.  This guy was enormous.

We saw crocodiles in the river but at this attraction in Livingstone they had some very old and big ones.
We were amazed at this fellow feeding grandpa so close as we had watched the frenzied feeding of many crocodiles.  They are powerful and can be quick.

More rainbows

The baboons are fun to watch.  They are real scavengers and snoop around the many trucks waiting to cross the international borders.

At the point where Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia meet (like four corners in the USA) the only place in the world where four nations touch at one point, the ferry takes trucks across the Zambezi.
Trucks can wait up to a week to get across.  They take one truck at a time.  Cars can take five or six hours.  We got on a little boat that was waiting for us and zipped across.  We had arranged to be taken to Chobe National Park in Botswana.

A lilac breasted roller, the national bird of Botswana.


Wire-tailed swallows

Blue cheeked bee eater

After a couple of hours walking and a truck ride we finally found four rhinoceros.

They really look like something from another time.

This is the red bishop bird

They call impalas the "fast food" of the jungle.  They multiply fast and are everywhere.
Beautiful and graceful.

Striped mongoose.  Not quite the same treasure I talked about last December in the blog.

Pied kingfishers checking out the water below.

Here he is making his move for dinner.

A male kudu

Red billed francolin

White fronted bee eater

This bird has a more scientific name of Jacana but it is commonly called the "Jesus bird" because it walks on water.  Here it is walking on lily pads but when it runs it really scampers across the open water.


Red billed hornbill or the "flying chili pepper"

The helmeted guinea fowl has a very colorful head atop a pretty black and white striped body.

Monitor lizard

Spurred wing goose

 Here is one of many elephants going out for a dunk.  Chobe has a huge population of elephants (140,000) and they are becoming a problem.

I could watch them play all day.

I don't think Brent and Rebecca considered bungee jumping.  I had them check out the video of an Australian girl ending up in the river with her feet still tied together.

The large centipedes are harmless.

These are Vervet monkeys.  I thought I throw this in for my grandkids, as blue is not a color you see in nature very often.

I finally found a dung beetle.  I have been looking for one since grade school and seeing them roll these perfect balls of elephant dung is pretty neat.  They bury them and lay eggs in them.

Just a moth on a wild blossom

Mother and baby passing by after a drink in the river.

The elephants just graze and go wherever they want.
I had to pinch myself to remember this is real and wild and no fences.

Near Livingstone we stopped at Mukuni village.
It is a very nice, well kept village.  For a small fee you can be taken by a local guide and shown the houses, schools, and men making crafts.  Of course at the end you end up at their craft market.

Kids love to pose for photos.

We all like to see what we look like.

So - another sunset on the Zambezi.  I will try to restrain myself and not post too many more wild things of Africa - but they really do fascinate me.

Probably because I spend most of my time in an office or standing in line.