Category: Ghana, Botswana 2018

Last Four Days of Our Mobile Tent Safari

April 13-16. The remainder of our time on mobile Safari was equally magical. One might think that it would become tiresome, or at least less interesting, as time progresses, but in fact the opposite is true. You settle into your routine and become more comfortable in the environment. This process of settling in takes a few days. You figure out how to organize and get around your tent, when and how to wash up, shower, take your malaria pill, etc. you become far more adept at locating and identifying birds and animals.

I have to admit that, after the first day, I wondered whether three days of this might be quite enough. But it would not. In order to get the real experience of the tent safari, it takes six days. And, while certainly, there are great similarities between going on safari from lodges or permanent tents and the mobile tent safari, the latter is a far more immersive experience.

A few of the highlights were:

the fabulous range and variety of bird life that we saw (more than 100 different birds)

45 minutes spent with a family of elephants

the sighting of a giant eagle owl

finding a pride of lions by following their tracks, watching them for a long time as they finished off eating the red lechwe they’d killed, until they roamed off, then calling them back, twice, by Roger making the sound of a water buffalo to lure them back

group of young vervet monkeys playing games with each other

21/2 hour boat ride in the delta with marvelous landscape of grasses, many bird sightings and a totally different environment

visiting dead tree island on which all of the trees had been killed over years of periodic flooding, creating a unique landscape and a habitat occupied by many animals, including a very large herd of red lechwe on the afternoon we were there

locating a large bull elephant, accompanied by fluttering cattle egrets and flying ducks, who eats, takes a mud bath and then sprays himself with water

locating our second different group of about fifteen wild dogs, who have just killed an impala and are eating, resting and playing for the forty minutes we spend with them

finding a small pond in which yellow-billed storks, sacred Ibis and a spoonbill were all wading and fishing together at the same time

On April 14, we woke up at 6:00, and enjoyed coffee and breakfast by the campfire while the camp was being taken down around us. We embarked on a leisurely, full-day game drive with a picnic lunch, arriving at our new destination with the camp miraculously resurrected by our staff, our shower water hot, a campfire blazing, and our dinner being prepared. Xakanaxa is situated at the far end of the nearly endless Mophane woodland in the Moremi Game Reserve. This is the site we occupy for the next three days.

I’ve decided not to give you a day by day account of the remainder of our mobile tent safari, because I think the best way to capture what we experienced is through the many photos, which I’ve included below.

In case you are wondering, Phoebe is totally into the experience. She’s taken literally thousands of photos, many of which are very good and some of which are better than mine. We’re going to need to do something about that. She is excellent at spotting animals and birds and does better on naming them than some people; me, for instance. In Atlanta, Phoebe sometimes gets anxious about situations. She’s shown no anxiety on this trip, despite ample opportunity for it, if one were so inclined. Evidently, the kid is born for the wilderness.

Roger is a solid “A” in all respects. For starters, he’s just a pleasant, comfortable person to spend time with. He lacks all pretense, and clearly loves what he does. He’s a good conversationalist with an excellent sense of humor. We discuss creating an Urban Safari Company, and what that would entail, he accepts a Cubs hat to give to Meghan at her wedding (which Roger will attend at Windsor next month) and says he’ll take a copy of our Africa book of poems and photos to Harry, if we can get one to him before he leaves.

Roger knows about all the animals, birds, trees and plant life. He’s able to identify animals and birds instantly and is very patient in explaining them to us and in indicating how and where to find them. He’s able to find them, tracking and calling them, and intuiting their presence from the way other birds and animals are behaving. He understands their behaviors and why they do what they do, regularly saying things like, “if I were a leopard, I’d want to be right here because…..”. Oh, yes, and he does all of this while driving our jeep on narrow, bumpy roads, around and over numerous holes, avoiding (or driving over) bushes and trees that encroach on the path and sometimes driving through water that is up to the hood of the car, somehow avoiding getting stuck in the mud for about nine hours a day (from 7 until about 12:30and 3:30 to 7).

Last Four Days of Our Mobile Tent Safari

  • Sharon

    Arnie and Carol – Phoebe is so fortunate to have had this amazing trip -complete with wild dogs! So rare. What a lifetime memory for all of you. Love the photos!
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Paul Woo

    Thanks for taking us on this terrific trip. Arnie.. loved the blogging and the photos.

  • lauri pollack

    Absolutely amazing experience for the three of you. Great
    memories.

  • Ahdina

    So lovely!! Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful words and beautiful images.

  • Jean Zunkel

    Arnie this is what I was waiting to hear!
    We are obviously so pleased that the three of you had a wonderful trip!
    Now you can understand why I push ‘mobile safari’s and was so anxious for you to do this one!

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