Africa – There is nowhere in the world where wildlife puts on a greater show. In the fall of 2014 Jeanne and I traveled to the southern tip of the continent for our first safari. The only thing we "shot" were photos, and here are some of them.
“Safari” is a Swahili word. It means “journey.” Our safari would take us to four wilderness camps in three southern Africa countries – Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
It's the dry season. For more than 5 months, the parched, sub-Saharan bush country has felt little or no rain.
To survive, animals must take risks. They must graze close to the river. It is a good place for an ambush.
In the scrub brush overlooking the valley, the keen eyes of a a young lion search for a unsuspecting prey...
...while along the Chobe River bank, two other lionesses - likely sisters - join in the search. They are still learning to hunt.
They are impatient. Despite the searing mid-day heat, they are on the move.
They are still too young to realize that it's better to wait until temperatures cool.
High atop the hill, in the shade of the mopane trees, their older and wiser patriarch rests. He knows that in the savannah heat, a chase would be too exhausting. So he bides his time, conserving his strength, waiting.
Soon he's joined by his mate. She, too, knows that mid-day is a time to rest.
The evening will come soon. And the hunt will begin.
Back in the valley, surrounded by the waters of the Chobe River, these zebras have found what they hope is a safe haven for grazing...
...while others try to blend in with the parched brush. Some zoologists believe that a zebra's black-and-white stripes are a type of camouflage called disruptive coloration that both conceals the zebra and should the zebra be seen, confuses predators by distorting distance.
No two zebras have the same pattern of stripes.
Young zebras identify their mothers by the stripe pattern. In fact, when a baby zebra is born, the mother will shield it from other zebras to ingrain her unique pattern in her offspring's brain.
Why haven't zebras been domesticated like horses? One reason is that while they may look sturdy, their backbone is too weak to carry a human, or for that matter, a heavy load.
Perhaps these zebras are using their taller companions as lookouts for predators?
If so, maybe the zebras should rethink their protectors.
This giraffe had fallen prey to a lion attack the previous evening.
This is the brutal reality of survival in the African bush. For one to live, another must die.
The kill, however, gave us the opportunity for some closeups of the "king of the beasts."
Nothing quite says Africa like a full-maned lion.
As we approached, the lion welcomed us with a mighty roar (actually it was a yawn).
Like a professional model, this lion provided us with several facial expressions...
...occasionally licking its lips following its giraffe feast.
Then it apparently tired of our incessant photo snapping...
...and moved off from its kill, continuing to keep a close eye on its prize.
Where there is one lion, there are likely others. Hiding in some nearby bushes was another lion. The locals call these the "eyes of death."