Day 14: Herd Behavior

Sept 18—Today was our last full day of safari. One of the highlights of the morning was going back to the far end of the park and shooting the nesting carmine bee-eaters. Thousands of the birds are mating and nesting just across the river, but there are so many that they spill over into trees on our side of the river, too. And every time a predator bird flies overhead, the entire bunch of bee-eaters go airborne in a swarm that turns the sky red.

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But we're seeing swarms of everything today. Thousands of buffalos. 39 sable elk together (up until now we'd only seen one or two at a time). You name it, and it's in a herd. But no cats today, nor hyena.

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Our afternoon consisted of a different venture: we charted a river boat and went out on the Chobe River for a cruise. Seeing the animals from the river is a different experience, especially since the elephants are coming down to the river to drink and bathe. Shot from the access roads, you're looking at elephant butts. Shot from the river, you're looking at elephant fronts. 


But before we got to the elephants we seemed to get diverted into crocs. Our boat driver noticed that we all turned our big glass to the first croc on a bank that we saw and apparently interpreted that as "we want to shoot crocs." Until we managed to get that straightened out, we had a parade of crocs to shoot, at the expense of elephants wandering into the water. 

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Next time, though, we're going to have to charter two boats. With all our students and two of our drivers plus all of our heavy equipment (including tripods), we were probably beyond weight capacity of the boat. So we took on water at times and we got stuck in the reeds more than once. Still, we got some shots that we wouldn't otherwise have gotten, and the experience was a good one. As usual with our group, we were out longer than planned, and were by far the last boat coming back into dock.

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