When I got to the northern entrance gate to ‘Makgadikgadi National Park’, the young lady behind the counter couldn’t find the stamp. ‘It’s ok’ she said, ‘you can pay when you get out’. Déjà Vu?
With a full on and an exhausting day of driving yesterday for the both of us, I decided to have an easy day. We drove to the ‘Bodeti River’ and I parked Zimba in a shady spot underneath a thorny Acacia Tree and waited to see what happens. The first thing that was striking was the deep blue waters of the river. Green grass and brown sand added colour on the spectrum. It wasn’t long before a herd of Zebras arrived.
These were a bit far off, but thanks to another vehicle, they were pushed into my direction. As so many times before and still keeps astonishing me, their staring eyes towards us is just incredible to look at.
I guess they look at other cars too, but with Zimba’s painting, they seem even more intrigued or confused. Reversed psychology? I wonder.
Some didn’t even care and walked straight up to us.
More and more herds of zebras came to the river for a refreshing drink.
The sky blue colours of the river fit in well with the black and white stripes.
Meanwhile, a herd of elephants reached the shores on the other side of the river. At first, it looked like they were crossing.
Instead, they made their way upstream. It was getting hot, the shade had disappeared.
Some hippos casually strolled the shores,
a little too far off for my camera.
Further on, I came up to Zebra Island. A small island in the river, filled with grazing and drinking Zebras.
Zebra island, elephant shores, Makgadikgadi National Park, Botswana
The colours and backgrounds fitted the picture perfectly. Wow, I didn’t see that coming.
Zebras, like all grazers, are generally overly cautious around waterways. To my surprise, these zebras weren’t anxious about the Bodeti River at all. Rather casually crossing the deep blue without fear of a crocodile attack. Crocs don’t seem to inhabit these water.
Only when the lone nearby elephant in the river blew his trumpet, did some zebras run off water splashing.
This is always a spectacular sight to see. Water splashing left, right and centre.
I was lucky to get a few good shots in. Others just couldn’t care less.
Not far from here, gathered a large group of vultures. These seem rather sociable.
Some took to the air on my arrival, covering the blue skies.
Others must have had a bath, washing off their bloody necks.
Like a cormorant, spreading their wings to dry.
But always having to look behind. Vultures are actually on the ‘endangered species list’. Another sad chapter off human unkindness. Poachers poison dead carcasses for the vultures to feed on. Their circling habit in skies high above gives away the poachers position.
Other grazers like Kudu and wildebeest showed up now and then, but the majority of animals wore black and white stripes.
I have not seen such a large gathering off Zebras before, quite outstanding. Black and white as far as the eye can see. Zimba seemed happy.
Some had given birth not too long ago.
The foals still had their plushy fur. The steep riverbanks showed another bonus.
Zebras on blue skies. The saturating colours were just breathtaking.
Elephants appeared every now and so often. This one was shaking a palm tree to feed on falling fruits.
The sun was sinking lower as I drove to a preferable place to watch it. Hopefully with an animal crossing my lens. I found a dry riverbed, a tranquil spot.
A herd of elephants were crossing the river, unfortunately not in my direction. The sunlight was still too bright.
A kingfisher joined me for the sunset, although he was more interested in fish.
As the sun sank lower and lower, it was time for me to exit the park.
I accidentally scared an ‘Bateleur Eagle’ off driving by. He flew off with a rather large mammal in his claws. Even for a bird this size, even he couldn’t fly high or far with its prey.
He landed on a fallen tree and sat there patiently for me to disappear. It was a fantastic day by the ‘Bodeti River’. Watching zebras in abundance and their social behaviour, I was lucky to take a few good photos. I couldn’t help but wonder, that with so many grazers lining the river shore, predators were unseen. Either way, Zimba’s stripey cousins kept me well entertained. I got to the gate again at 6:30 pm, finding the office closed again. Interesting, and surely déjà vu. The ferry over the Bodeti River had stopped already as well. I didn’t mind at all. Guess I am stuck by the river. Fantastic.
I Couldn’t ask for a better camp spot for the night. Not much later, I heard a loud aggressive lion roar, the one he is protecting his meal. It was time for bed, this wasn’t far off. I heard the morning wake up call lion roar upstream. An unforgettable sound.