Keeping with our singular experience theme, we saw thousands of zebras on the plains of the Kalahari. This is something that I personally have never seen before because our safari regularly arrives there a month earlier than the arrival of the migration. Another new experience for me was observing elephants gathering in and around camp, as well as seeing a red hartebeest.
Mombo produced huge numbers of animals, but it was most unusual to get such a good view of the lioness introducing her little cubs to the pride for the first time, or to get such a clear view of hippos fighting at croc corner. We were also able to spend a good amount of time watching a lioness named Legadima as she wandered around looking for her missing cubs.
The wonders continued at Duma Tau, where we enjoyed more unique sightings, especially of the lions. First when they tried to hunt a giraffe, when they chased an impala on the first afternoon, and then when the hippos walked straight into them. At the end of our stay we were incredibly lucky to get views of tiny little cubs hidden away in the bushes. Lionesses usually hide their cubs in very inaccessible places, which is why, even after all these years leading safaris, I have never seen lions cubs so small!
Wild animals are what make these trips so interesting and exciting, but the sheer remoteness of Botswana rounds out the experiences we shared. We were one of only 30-50 people in a vast area of tens of thousands of acres, which meant no light pollution, allowing us to see the stars even at 4:30 in the morning. Additionally, there is no noise pollution. We went to sleep at night to the sound of nothing more than the tinkling of reed frogs, the splashing and grunting of hippos, the whoop of a hyena, and the call of the wood owl.
The wilderness of Botswana is relatively unaffected by man and this means that we have one of the few places on earth where we can watch the animals interacting with one another and their environment as they have for thousands of years. I take none of it for granted. I hope to bring more travelers to Botswana next season, and to document rare wildlife sightings with them all.