The first sighting of a leopard on a 6 am game drive was definitely an adrenaline rush of excitement. Our driver from Chobe Safari Lodge zoomed through the sandy trail of the park to get us to see the leopard and followed it by booking it to see a pride of lionesses only a few meters away! Quite the big cat day to remember.
This was our second camping trip while here in Botswana. We had the privilege of seeing many animals we had not seen yet or had not seen many of, such as these wildebeests seen in this image, as well as ostriches, and two more male lions. It was quite the sight to see elephants at the watering hole, with giraffes at the other, wildebeest roaming, and warthogs running around.
There is nothing more magnificent than going through a game drive and thinking it’s over only to come up on a male lion relaxing along the side of the road. This was the first king we had seen so far and our hearts were racing, to say the least. I think it was the luck of it being our only game drive with Dr. Kelly, the master of big cats, to see our first big cat.
Day 2 of Victoria Falls consisted of us exploring the Zimbabwe side. We started the day with gorge swing thrills paired with Ian, followed by popsicles from a local cart, and finally entering the park to see the endless waterfall and rainbows. Words cannot describe the jaw-dropping view… or your breath (literally) being taken away from you on a gorge swing.
Pro tip: Pair up with someone who will remember how to use their legs when rock climbing at the end 🙂
We set up camp at Pandamatenga along a watering hole. Just across from it were various family groups all sharing a drink. We had the honor of sharing lunch, dinner, and breakfast with them the following morning. Witnessing an African sunset with these families of elephants was a night to remember.
It’s become a normal occurrence for baboons to visit right outside of our fence around breakfast time. This mother with baby are common visitors and today we were able to spend time staring at each other through the fence. A breakfast to remember.
However, we later learned that it’s not a good sign to have baboons sitting out watching you eat because they probably want to ransack your kitchen(!)
The spotted genet at CARACAL has been named Dorito by a few of us because her towels smell like Doritos when she uses them. Dorito is one of the many nocturnal animals at CARACAL and is special because she has a long neck like a ferret and loves her towels.
One of the first days off, we all went to Chobe Marina Lodge for a day of relaxation near a pool and by the water. Many of us stayed till sunset and had the luxury of enjoying the beautiful African sunset while practicing some of the yoga moves that Dr. Alexander had taught us. Quite a zen night to remember.
The day I had dreaded finally came. It was our last day here and we had to say goodbye to the CARACAL staff and all our animals. It was such a sad time, leaving these people and animals I had grown to respect, love, and rely on in such a short amount of time. Although, it was nice to see the amazing relationshops that had been built in the past two months. I will never forget this summer I spent in Africa, where no words, and no photos will ever do the experience justice.
After a few days of camping, and a long trip back, there were some issues with the vehicles on the way back home from camping. It ended up in us having to make a much longer trip home than anticipated. We were all so gross and so exhausted, but frankly this was one of my favorite memories from the trip. Nothing typically ever goes as planned here, and that has been a huge obstacle I have had to overcome. This trip allowed me to see my own personal progress, as well as everyone else’s. Sure, it wasn’t the most ideal situation, but we all made the best out of it.