Ultimate Chobe Safari: Hippo Altercation

Brendon Reports from the Ultimate Chobe Safari: 

The river was simply beautiful this morning and we took full advantage of each fabulous, very full moment.

There was just so much life on, around, above, and in the river. 

To start with the birds, we first spotted a Black-crowned Night Heron, followed by Open-billed Storks, –

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– Sacred Ibis, Egyptian Geese, and Pied Kingfishers busily catching fish or fussing around their nesting sites along the banks of the river.

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Pretty unusual for this area, we were delighted to see three Crowned Cranes. African Skimmers engaged in aerial combat while African Jacanas trotted around lily pads as they went about searching for a meal. 

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In the river, hippos snorted and blew clouds of spray into the air, watched by buffalos and elephants spread out along the banks. Crocodiles lay sprawled on the sandbanks, soaking up the warm sun, and totally ignoring our presence.

All in all it was a wonderful morning, something to photograph all the time, and with the beautiful morning light, our cameras filled ultra quickly.

This afternoon we headed out on the river again. Massive numbers of elephants had arrived since this morning and we drifted to within a few meters of many of them for real close-up shots.

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An eye, skin texture, a tip of a trunk, while the huge animals ate or drank peacefully next to us. Moments like that are so memorable!

Two herds of elephants swam across the river (at different places) … always a special sight to see.

Besides elephants, there were also huge numbers of buffalos and it was while we were photographing some of them that we noted a bit of a fracas not far away. We went to investigate and found two male hippos having quite an altercation about something or other. They chased each other back and forth with plenty of threatening grunts, and each time we thought that it was all over, another noisy pursuit took place.

Seeing animals from river-level gives one a totally new perspective. Lechwe, waterbuck, and even the commoner impala take on a completely different and imposing look from that angle. And with so much game everywhere it is little wonder that we had to change memory cards again and again.

At Elephant Beach we found not only elephants, but also a number of White-crowned Lapwing (Plovers). It is the start of the breeding season for these birds, and we managed a number of images of them mating out in the open. 

Right now the sun is setting, reflecting a reddish gold on the river as we head back to the Lodge for dinner, and in the morning, we would like to prolong our magical experience on the river …