Saturday, August 30, 2014

Africa 3: Safaris in Africa Are About So Much More...

...than Lions and Elephants and Rhinos.  Africa's national parks also host a wide array of animal habitat and other wildlife.
One of the Entrances to Chobe National Park, Botswana.

Chobe National Park in Botswana, for example, is large, 4517 square miles.  (That's a bit smaller than the state of Connecticut.)

Thomson's Gazelles

It borders other similar sized parks  in Zimbabwe, Nambia and Angola.
Cape Buffalo.  Males will just as soon kill you as look at you.

The borders of these parks were designed to create one huge, contiguous area.
Plains Zebras

This large contiguous area allows the animals to roam freely in lands where they have habitually migrated for centuries.
Masai Giraffe.  Notice it has no spots below the knee.
In Botswana, large open areas called "Game Reserves" abut many of the national parks.
He came right up to us, checked us out and then went on his way.

Responsibility for managing game reserves has been given to indigenous local tribes who had to be moved from their historic lands in order to create the national parks. 
Notice how jagged his spots are.  This is one of the defining characteristics of a Masai Giraffe.

The tribes, in turn, have the right to partner with outside travel companies that are allowed to build lodges inside the reserves.
Bushbuck, which is a type of African antelope

The outside travel companies pay the tribes for the right to build lodges, which gives the tribes income.  The lodges also create jobs for local tribal people, and they bring in visitors, like us.
Herd of Cape Buffalo

Game reserve lodges allow visitors like us to literally stay among the animals, although we are required to properly pay entrance fees and enter the national parks only through the established gates, as seen at the beginning of this post.
Cape Buffalo.  Guides call these guys killing machines..

For us, it was a thrilling experience to have the animals wander in and among our cabin-like tents.
Adolescent male Elephant trumpeting at us.  He was about 25 feet away.

We learned to take precautions and to be aware of our surroundings at all times.  But, it was so worth it.
Sunset on the Chobe River bank

Night time is especially dangerous when out among the animals.  For that reason we were required, for our own safety, to be accompanied by a staff member when we returned to our tents after dark.

These are only a few of the animals we saw during the first three days of our stay.  Next time, we see more.

Continue on to Post 4: Africa is About so Much More, continued, by clicking here.


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