Botswana

Zarafa Camp

It was getting late. The sun had set and we were on our way back to camp after a long game drive, but we were not the only ones on our way to dinner. Two African wild dogs suddenly ran past the Land Rover, weaving through the bush with quick precision and eerily silent coordination. We tried to follow them in the car, but they were too fast. A few minutes later, an impala that had been separated from the herd sprinted across the path. One of the two dogs galloped behind it with an long gait and a grin on his face.

There are not many wild dogs left in Africa, but they have found some measure of safety here. Botswana is often called “The African Success Story” because it is the most politically and economically stable country in Africa. It is the world’s largest exporter of diamonds, and yet it has been able to achieve independence and avoid the “Resource Curse” that has plagued so many other African countries. By promoting greater economic equality and providing free education, the state has ensured that the benefits of habitat preservation are understood and appreciated by everyone.

Zarafa camp is in the Selinda Game Reserve, directly adjacent to the Okavango Delta and within a few kilometers of the Northern border with Namibia. During the dry season, animals congregate near the rivers and watering holes. The high density of game allows for a truly exceptional Safari experience. We watched hippos fighting from the deck of our tent. We observed antelope of all shapes and sizes do what antelope do, which is mostly eat vegetation and look around warily. The variety of birds was incredible. Ground Hornbill and Kori Bustard patrolled the plains foraging for dung beetles, locusts, and small vertebrates while while Lilac-breasted rollers and Crested barbets caught insects on the wing above.

While their parents were out hunting, these African wild dog pups alternately napped and played in the shade.
While their parents were out hunting, these African wild dog pups alternately napped and played in the shade.
Sean Pont
The Selinda Game Reserve connects to the Okovango Delta. During the dry season, these rivers are the only source of water for a hundred miles.
The Selinda Game Reserve connects to the Okovango Delta. During the dry season, these rivers are the only source of water for a hundred miles.
Sean Pont
Some of the roads were a little wet.
Some of the roads were a little wet.
Sean Pont
A male Lechwe stands alert.
A male Lechwe stands alert.
Sean Pont
A baby elephant hides behind his mother's tail.
A baby elephant hides behind his mother's tail.
YiOu Wang
The patterns on the South African Giraffes tend to darken as they age.
The patterns on the South African Giraffes tend to darken as they age.
Sean Pont
Clockwise from top left: Lilac-breasted roller, Crested barbet, Southern ground-hornbill, and Swallow-tailed bee-eater. All but the ground-hornbill are quite common.
Clockwise from top left: Lilac-breasted roller, Crested barbet, Southern ground-hornbill, and Swallow-tailed bee-eater. All but the ground-hornbill are quite common.
Sean Pont
Sunset was accompanied by the grunting of hippos establishing territorial claims.
Sunset was accompanied by the grunting of hippos establishing territorial claims.
YiOu Wang