Elephant Ballet in the Morning – Do: Excursions, Fitness and Travel

Three young lions sleep exhausted, next to them is a buffalo that they killed in the night. The lions only bit the tail and the back, they didn’t have the strength for more. But they can no longer eat the prey in peace. When the lions are distracted by a fellow lion, the stalking hyenas pounce on the dead buffalo. They eat greedily and quickly. When the lions return, they can chase away the hyenas. but the joy is short-lived. Two other males with a powerful mane appear out of nowhere, drive off the young lions and seize the prey. Bad luck twice in a row.

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“A new mystery is being written here every day, and life in the wild is tough,” explains Masco Chiyco, a safari guide who works at Vumbura Plains Camp in the northeastern Okavango Delta. Impalas, who are as cute as they are delicate and look at you curiously, can tell you a thing or two about the dangerous everyday life.


get there far frankfurt With Lufthansa after Johannesburg (www.lufthansa.com), then continue with Air Botswana (www.airbotswana.co.bw) or SA air link (www.flyairlink.com) see you later Maun.

Accommodation The organizer desert safaris (www.wilderness-safaris.com) has several protected areas in botswana private concessions. In the ecological camps, the number of guests is limited to 10 to 16. Each group is attended by a guide. Prices for all-inclusive accommodation start at just under 600 euros per person per night in low season. Other providers: afternoon sun Africawww.abendsonneafrika.de, or Geoplan Reisen, www.geoplan-reisen.de.

Activities All camps offer wildlife viewing in land rover (game drive), safaris on foot and boat rides in motor boats or in the typical canoe (mokoro).

General information Tourist Office botswanawww.botswanatourism.co.bw UMR

The skeleton of one of his family members lies on the branch of a huge mahogany tree. He became the victim of a leopard, who often ambushed them from above.

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Undeterred by possible dangers, some Kudus, the largest species of antelope in Africa, graze nearby.

The nearly deserted Okavango Wetlands in northwest Botswana are one of Africa’s last havens, both on land and in the water. This also has to do with the fact that the European colonial powers were not interested in landlocked land at the time and also did not attach any importance to the Okavango oasis hidden in the Kalahari desert. The world’s largest inland delta stretches over 15,000 square kilometers and is made up of many different ecosystems. It feeds on water masses flowing south from the Angolan highlands, causing the water level to rise sharply from May and flooding large areas of the country.

The natural wonder, which was declared a UNESCO natural heritage site in 2014, is best admired from a plane. Below is a mosaic of swamps and lakes, meandering rivers, islets, trees, and grasslands. You can see giraffes and huge herds of elephants. Botswana has the largest population of elephants in Africa, numbering around 130,000. This large population ensures that mopani, which otherwise grow several meters tall, remain pruned to bush height.

The fact that pachyderms could spread so well here also has to do with the extremely low population density. Botswana, a country the size of France, has just four people per square kilometer. The animals roam the delta in total freedom, which, of course, carries dangers. Specimens are particularly abundant northeast of the Okavango Delta in the Linyanti River system, a teeming location unknown to many Botswanan travelers. Here the elephants cross the wide river at two shallower points to graze in neighboring Namibia and return in the evening. This is particularly dangerous for baby elephants. One has severe bite marks on its trunk from the crocodiles that lurk here. “If the wound is too big, the elephant won’t be able to feed properly and will die sooner,” says ranger Nicolas Shomanah, “that’s how the population is regulated.”

Thousands of hippos, considered extremely dangerous because they attack intruders in their territory, also cavort here among papyrus trees and endless fields of water lilies. Despite their bulk, hippos move underwater at amazing speed, escaping is unthinkable.

Scottish explorer David Livingstone, considered to be the discoverer of Victoria Falls, also felt this in the mid-19th century. “On an expedition from Namibia, the Scotsman got carried away down the river and was promptly attacked by a hippopotamus,” says Shomanah. Fittingly, a hippopotamus bone is found in the very spot where Livingstone once landed, nicknamed ‘Livingstones Crossing’. Right next door, a spitting cobra snakes through the grass, which can inject its deadly venom up to two meters with pinpoint accuracy. Depending on the water level, the protected area can also be explored on sandy slopes. As a rule, the animals do not take long to arrive and do not show fear to visitors.

After a short drive, a huge bull elephant suddenly piles up in front of the jeep and begins to dance left and right, moving his trunk to match. Then he even bends his knees and flaps his ears from side to side. What looks like a pretty ballet is a threatening gesture. “The elephant wants to show that he can kneel on his front legs long enough to kill a creature lying on the ground with his tusks,” says Shomanah. After his performance, the pachyderm decides to disappear into the forest, fortunately.

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