Ultimate Africa – To Walk with Lions (July/August 2008)
a photographic safari in Botswana and Zimbabwe, Southern Africa
Day 05: Mowana Lodge (Thursday 31 July 2008)
TIA – This is Africa! We all met at 7am this morning, ready to go on our morning river cruise but the pontoon had mechanical problems, an alternate one was en route but would take a while to get here. So instead of having breakfast on the pontoon, we had the buffet breakfast instead and headed out later, once the replacement pontoon had arrived.
It started out a little bit chilly but it was very relaxing to be on the water. We saw a plenty of buffalo, hippo and crocodiles. We watched the hippos yawning and bathing for a long time. Along the river bank were lots of cormorants drying their wings. We saw a group of waterbuck with their bull’s-eye rear-ends all running in the same direction and wondered if they’d spotted a predator but we couldn’t see anything. There were more buffalo down by the river quenching their thirst and we saw many different types of birds. We watched a pied kingfisher hovering and diving several times. We saw a fish eagle high in the tree, sacred ibis and glossy ibis, and a yellow-billed stork wading in the reeds. There were lots of white-fronted bee-eaters on the sand bank near to their nests (they live in holes in the river bank). We also saw a large impala herd and some elephants in the far distance. There was also a type of antelope that I’m not familiar with, I think they were the red lechwe. We also saw a water monitor walking along close to the waters edge.
Back at the lodge we had some rest time before lunch. Afterwards, Chris gave an informal workshop on composition and some tips for photographing on safari. Then off we went for our afternoon river cruise to put his tips into practice. This time we had two pontoons; Heiko and I joined the one with Peter, Kaleel, Nick, Greg and Marlene. Our aim was to photograph elephants in front of the sunset, and along the way we watched a variety of birds, including pied kingfisher, blue waxbills coming to drink at the waters edge, fish eagles nest building, herons and egrets. There was also a darter, also known as a “snake bird” because it swims under the water with it’s head sticking out like a snake. We also saw baboons, crocodiles, watermonitor lizards, hippos (spreading muck, grunting and yawning), buffalo, impala, waterbuck and of course lots of elephants. We ended the river cruise at sunset, and for the last rays of the sun we positioned ourselves so that the sun set directly behind an elephant so we now have plenty of elephant sunset photos!
Soon after the sun had set we quickly made it to the park before it closed and then back to the lodge. After cleaning the cameras and lenses, and downloading the days photos it was time for dinner. The impala steak was nice! And I joined Heiko in having ice cram with chocolate sauce this time – yummy! Tiredness and packing brought us to bed early – we go back to Zimbabwe tomorrow.