Wild Places – Botswana/Namibia

members of elephantidae /Wild Places - BotNam 2011

Mama Afrika

Africa is often underestimated or even ignored. From the nightly satellite perspective this gigantic continent seems to be only a dark shadow, in comparison with the other brightly glittering world. But where much shade, there also much light. The Africa full of rich life is revealed, if one leaving his idle comfort zone and exposing oneself undauntedly to the rich culture and wilderness. It certainly does not mean to stay and wait in a perfectly secured beach hotel or a thousand-dollar-bush-lodge.
Of course you can get infected – with a persistently virus. If you let this one near to yourself, it force you back to Mom Africa again and again. You won’t remain away for a long time, because as of now the “dark” continent has a magical attraction for you.

2011 it’s time again. We pack our few belongings and fly to Windhoek/Namibia. With us are Paula and Bruno, two kids, who are bursting to experience first hand, which the old folks all the years talking about. With an all-terrain vehicle and sufficient supplies of food, water and fuel, we roll towards the Central Kalahari. After crossing the Central Kalahari Game Reserve our route leads through the wilderness areas at Chobe to the Namibian Mamili National Park and then through the elephant-rich Khaudum Game Reserve. About the climb of Brandberg, the highest mountain of Namibia, the children reports in their own contribution.

– – –

bush giants /Wild Places - BotNam 2011

Lions

A scorching heat is resting on the open savannah. It has no longer raining for weeks. Some acacias not far from a tiny waterhole. A welcome shady spot, we think. But the King of the beasts with his retinue say what’s what here. At noon a pride of lions poses under the trees and watched the scene seemingly bored. Wildebeest, impala, kudu and oryx use the predators hunting break and try to approach the water hole. An apparently limping oryx alpha trying to keep a stiff upper lip, because she is fully aware of the big cats probing observation.
With a good South African red wine as a sundowner, we listen to the sounds of the dawn. Hungry hunters sneaking through the beginning of the night.

– – –

salt pan surrounded /Wild Places - BotNam 2011

Baobab

Around 4000 years ago, the Makgadikgadi lake began to run out. Return remained the Makgadikgadi Pans, one of the three largest salt pans on earth. They are the least densely populated region of Botswana.
The white-gray salt plain of the Sowa Pan extends up to the horizon all around Kukonje Island.
From the centric’s highest peak the view looks out over a landscape of yellow grass with scattered shrubs and trees, which are dominated by true giants – baobabs. This ancient African baobab trees have strength of character and are represented here in a remarkably high density.
We spend the night in the respectful distance to a splendid specimen. For breakfast there are coffee and ripe breadfruits. The edible white flesh tastes easily sour. Such a little vitamin C syringe cannot harm.

– – –

saddle-billed stork /Wild Places - BotNam 2011

Water

Focused the saddle stork strides through swampy area. He is preying on fish, snakes, frogs, rodents, and insects. Not far away, a stuffed hippo pushes into the shallow water. Zebra herds graze on the river plains. The area around the Chobe is famous for its rich animal populations, since the tributary of the Zambezi never dries out.

– – –

elephant close-up /Wild Places - BotNam 2011

Elephants

Already 90 km we follow the sandy pad with slightly overgrown sections. On the southern access to the Chobe National Park we are apparently travelling alone these days. After the gate the toyo jolts in direction to the Sarigho Pan. Also a considerable number of elephant clans are on their way to this big waterhole. When we get there it´s already pretty full, the pools are densely surrounded. Nohow we want to block any irritated cow here, because of that we clear off on a shady observation tower.
Hour by hour passes, now more than 80 proboscideans of all ages chill around this wonderful spot. To be so close to these intelligent animals, evolved into a very special experience.

baobab bark /Wild Places - BotNam 2011

Welwitschia

The Namib is the world’s oldest desert, one of the few coastal deserts and it is one of the most inhospitable places of this planet. Extreme conditions for all living things. The Welwitschia has adapted excellently. Taproot, a few centimeters long stem and 2 leaves, that is sufficient to be up to 2,000 years old.
The modern man, however, can here barely survive without supply from outside. And yet it pulls us time and time again into the Namib, as it is one of the places where you understand what is really important.