BOTSWANA, AFRICA, ANIMAL SAFARI, Guest Post by Ann Paul

Leopard, Botswana
My friend and fellow children's book writer Ann Paul and her husband Ron recently returned from a trip to Africa which included a trip to Botswana. Here is her report and some fantastic photos of the wildlife they saw. You can find out about Ann's books at www.annwhitfordpaul.net. Her newest book, If Animals Said I  Love You, will be published in the fall.

Botswana, a sparsely populated country of little more than two million people is mostly desert, savannah and grassy plains, but features some of the best animal viewing in Africa. Although our spring (Botswana’s fall) trip was off season (which meant lodges and safari camps were at their most reasonable) and we were warned wildlife might not be out in abundance, we were more than pleasantly surprised. Perhaps we were fortunate that the country had endured an especially rainy season, for we were greeted with some great sightings, including our first ever of a leopard out for a stroll.
And, a less than one-week-old hippo calf hitching a ride on her mother’s back....

a parade of over one hundred elephants that never seemed to end....

and a pack of wild dogs on the prowl. Here is just one of them. I love its perky ears.

Warthogs are usually a common sight. What is uncommon is to come upon two near their den and that they stayed still long enough for a decent picture.

A male lion making sure no other male suitor came after his females

These two male giraffes posed perfectly.

Then they put on a demonstration of their sparring technique, using their heads to lift up the other’s leg.

I’m particularly proud of this photo of a baboon high up in a palm tree taken with my new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000k camera which features a Leica lens and a view angle from 25 mm wide-angle to 16X optical zoom. (thanks to the suggestion of a dear friend.)

The camera allowed me to get some lovely bird photos which I’ll share in an upcoming post. For now, I leave you with this advice. If you’re planning a trip to Botswana, consider going off-season. The prices are cheaper. The lodges are less crowded, which means you’re not crammed into a vehicle for animal sightings and you get more personal attention.
On previous trips, I’ve traveled with a simple camera.
Never again.
If you’re going to the trouble of a long flight (22 hours air time from Los Angeles, not counting layovers in airports) make sure you can take quality pictures.

We stayed at Tubu Tree Camp in the Okavango Delta floodplains and Zarafa Camp located in the Selinda Reserve.  Our trip was arranged by LIVINGSTONE SAFARIS.

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