leopard cub

We have just returned from our 'Best of the Bush' safari (with a great group of 8 from USA) which certainly lived up to its name with some of the best wildlife viewing we've had in many years - with 44 species of mammals and 170 birds. Plus the trees, reptiles, butterflies and other insects. The accommodation, level of service and the guides at the various lodges all contributed greatly to our experience. This is an itinerary that we will continue to highly recommend to anyone coming on safari in this region

There were so many highlights that it is difficult to choose the best but here are some photos of some of the animals that made a particular impression.

Our safari had an amazing start in Mala Mala Game Reserve following a pack wild dogs, and we had a different pack the next day - having more than one pack of dogs at any one time is really exceptional! Two new male lions were checking out the area to possibly take over one or more of the prides was another major highlight – and what prime specimens they were too. Our favourite photos are those of the two standing on a termite mount and testing the scent, pulling the most extraordinary faces while they did this.
wild dog

lion lion

Then there was the young female leopard relaxing in the early morning sun paying no attention to us at all - whilst two Crested Francolins casually fed closer and closer to the leopard as if there was nothing to worry about. The hippos in the mucky water provided an interesting photo as well.

leopard francolin leopard

The rhinos were out in full force providing us with fabulous sightings on every day. Then there were the two leopard cubs on our final morning that kept us entertained for quite some time. There is a short video clip of them on YouTube – see leopard cubs on YouTube.

As always elephants were a highlight at Mashatu Game Reserve with two young bulls sparring, a cow and calf drinking from a hole they dug into the dry riverbed, and then the family that came down to drink at the waterhole in front of the main deck at the lodge.
rhino

elephant elephant elephant

Mashatu is certainly a great destination to observe giraffe and we had plenty of sightings. Most memorable were the calf suckling from its mother and the crèche of three youngsters left to look after themselves while their mothers went off feeding.

giraffe giraffe

The lions were fabulous and provided us with many great close-up sightings. We have heaps of photos of the pride under the Mashatu tree, the lioness feeding on the warthog to mention a few but have just included our favorite of the lioness looking rather serious and focused!

lioness

The cheetahs were yet another highlight, particularly when the sub-adult stalked a duiker (unseen until it dashed away way in the distance to live another day). Then there were the hyaenas, the hyraxes, the eland, the baboons, the Crimson-breasted Shrike and the White-fronted Bee-eaters. Where do we end?

wildlife

wildlife

hyena cheetah

Then off to Chobe - and the fabulous Chobe Chiwelo lodge! Unfortunately the weather cooled down and did not bring huge numbers of elephants down to the shoreline to drink but the rest of the wildlife made up for it. The first newborn impala lamb for the season, plenty of spectacular Sable antelope, a Broad-billed Roller, a Gabar Goshawk with its kill (possibly a dove but difficult to see), huge crocodiles along the river, many hippos grazing on the riverbanks during the day, many African Skimmers, and most exciting of all a Honey badger in broad daylight.

goshawk hippo

crocodile impala

skimmer sable roller

honey badger

Whilst not a pleasant sight, an old elephant bull died right in front of us and was a stark reminder of life in the bush and was something that very few people have ever observed - and a better end than many others.

elephant down elephant down elephant down elephant down

elephant down

ele mud bath Finally and on a much happier note, the elephants enjoying a mud bath on the edge of the Chobe River was a joyful sight - there is short video clip - see it here on YouTube