Working in travel has its advantages. One is the opportunities we get to visit the countries we sell. I have visited Botswana on a number of educational trips, each time exploring different areas and seeing amazing game. On my last trip, I was yet again blessed with some wonderful game viewing.
Arriving at Pom Pom Camp my hopes were high of seeing rhino, despite the fact that in 1992 they were considered to be ‘locally extinct’.
By the end of my second game drive, I was wondering if my hopes were in vain. Luckily for me, our guides knowledge and determination paid off and a rhino was spotted. We kept our distance as this particular male is known to be rather bad tempered. I was delighted to have the chance to take some photos of this extraordinary pachyderm, one that has barely evolved over the course of time.
My next two special sightings were seen during my stay at Kwando Lagoon Camp. We had the legendary Spencer as our guide and KT as our tracker so we were already in luck. We had a superb sighting twice of a pride of lion on a kill at Lebala Camp and had seen yet another pride of lion with cubs on our transfer between camps. Spencer asked if there was anything special we hoped to see; I mentioned wild dog. As if to order, KT soon picked up their tracks and suddenly there they were, running through the bush towards us.
We followed these playful animals and they led us to their den where the alpha female was waiting to be fed. Spencer explained that the pack goes out hunting while she stays behind to look after the pups. When the pack gets back the alpha demands to be fed every 15 minutes. She comes out the den and starts whining, at which point one of the dogs will regurgitate the food for her. Not only did I have a wonderful view of wild dog but I saw their den; a first for me.
We were now on the lookout for the elusive aardwolf. Spencer knew of two dens in the area and on arrival at the first, there it was, lying at the entrance sunning itself. It headed off after a while and Spencer surmised that it might head to the other den, so we followed. As we approached, we saw another aardwolf at the entrance although as we got closer it ran inside.
In all my years in the travel industry I’d never seen an aardwolf and I saw two in one day. It clearly was my lucky day…
If Botswana is on your bucket-list let me know and we can start planning an epic trip for you.
*All images © Natasha Jericevich