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Zimbabwe Nov 2017: Hwange NP

From Mana Pools we flew over the Zambezi and Kariba Dam to Hwange National Park in eastern Zimbabwe on the border with Botswana.  Hwange is Zimbabwe’s largest reserve, holding one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa, in particular buffalo and elephants. More than 45,000 elephants roam here (considerably more than the area should hold).

Our two camps within the Linkwasha concession, Davison’s and Little Makalolo, were perfectly situated to witness wonderful wildlife, overlooking large waterholes. Open plains and pans ringed by short grasses attracted Southern Giraffe, Blue Wildebeest, Warthogs, and many more.

Sable Antelope were exquisite-looking with deep burgundy coats, and long curved horns that arch majestically backwards. Many animals meant prime lion territory! Once the haunt of Cecil the Lion, his offspring now patrol this vast area, and we enjoyed multiple encounters with the big cats.

Seven lionesses crouched in a row at the water’s edge, lapping up a drink before being chased away by a tight-knit herd of fast-approaching elephants. Two male lions, fresh from a slumber, roared feet away from our vehicle, before heading out at dusk, joined by three lionesses and seven cubs. One evening, while sipping sundowners and watching lionesses on the far side of Linkwasha pan, we suddenly became aware of a male taking a drink just 150 feet away from our vehicle! Another heart-pounding, special safari moment!

We enjoyed two separate Cheetah sightings. One peaceful encounter we watched two brothers resting on a termite mound. Excitement abounded at another time when a troop of Chacma Baboons chased three Cheetahs, who ended up flushing a family of feeding Warthogs and capturing the smallest one.

We were beckoned from a mid-day siesta to watch herds of elephants saunter in to the Little Makalolo waterhole. We positioned ourselves quickly behind a hide on the edge of the water, and became surrounded by the behemoths just a few feet away as they drank and bathed. Herd after herd tromped into the waterhole, some trumpeting their arrival. They were joined by Burchell’s Zebra and Southern Giraffe, the tallest creature of the plains. It was absolutely exhilarating to be in the presence of these giants.

Noteworthy bird sightings in the area included Capped Wheatears feeding three youngsters near their underground nest hole, many Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Red-crested Koorhan, Red-chested Cuckoo, the gorgeous Crimson-breasted Shrike, Brubru, Bradfield’s Hornbill, Dickinson’s Kestrel, and Zambezi teak-mopane woodland specialists Arnot’s Chat and Racket-tailed Rollers. The latter held us spell-bound with its unique display of rising up and dropping vertically head first before opening up into flight.

The common raptor was African Hawk Eagle, with White-headed Vultures, Wahlberg’s and Tawny Eagle, Steppe Buzzard and Shikra also sighted.  We did extraordinarily well with owls, including African Barred Owl, pairs of Verreaux’s Eagle Owl and Spotted Eagle Owl. The night game drive highlighted Southern White-faced Owl, Small-spotted Genet and comical kangaroo-bouncing Spring Hares!

all photos © adrian binns / WildsideNatureTours.com

Harvey: A Story of Ethical Observation and Photography

  It was a frigid morning for my Father and me, as we quickly exited the hotel and made our way to his ice covered CRV. The skies were pitch black with the early morning hour, and we were eager to get our day underway. We arrived at our destination, the outstanding boreal habitat ofContinue Reading

BOOK REVIEW: “Birding Without Borders”

  On January 1, 2015, Noah Strycker began an epic quest to find more than 5,000 bird species in one year. The number would shatter previous “Big Year” records; the pace would exhaust the hardiest travelers. In his book “Birding Without Borders,” published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017, Noah describes the experience with riveting proseContinue Reading

2017 Another Exciting Year

2017 was a year of spectacular wildlife experiences, creating inspiration and reflection to underscore how fortunate I am to travel the world in a “job” that I love. I’m delighted to highlight some of my favorite memories with you, in these stories and photos. I spent much of the first quarter of the year onContinue Reading

Excitement in an Instant: The Dall’s Porpoise

  The Dall’s Porpoise is a master of surprise. One moment, you’re at the head of a ship, motoring through the dark waters of one of Alaska’s deep underwater canyons, and then in an instant these magnificent creatures appear. While observing some rather distant Humpback Whales aboard the Northern Song, a small pod of theseContinue Reading

Cooperative Feeding Nets Success for Humpback Whales

  The cold, dark waters of Southeast Alaska are mysterious and magical. While motoring through the massive fjords and smaller channels, one might think that these waters were barren and empty. However, they are teeming with life, from the smallest organisms to the massive beasts that lurk in the depths. At one moment the waterContinue Reading

People Make the Difference…

  As you all know, I am not long home from an amazing trip to Alaska. The things that I saw and experienced there will never be forgotten. They are, like so many other things, massive building blocks that continue to construct the foundation of who I am and what I do. Completely changing yourContinue Reading

The Marvelous Marbled Godwit: A Labor Day Adventure

    WAKE UP! I nearly flew off of my couch, startled by the loud pinging from the alarm on my phone. It was 3:30 in the morning, and though groggy, I was excited for the day that lay ahead. My Father and I quickly got ready and on the road, venturing to the ConneautContinue Reading

Stopping Time: The Story of a Parula and a Cherry Tree

  “Experiences are much more valuable than things. Things break. We get tired of playing with them. Experiences though, are a part of us forever. Long after returning home from an adventure, we continue to share stories and photos of our travels with friends and family, while looking forward to the next great experience!” –Continue Reading

My Morning Routine: Turning A Simple Concept Toward Positive Action

  It is no secret to anyone that knows me, that I do a lot of talking. I would be willing to bet that first sentence will garner a chuckle from many of you, simply because of how honest a statement it is. You poor folks! Heh. I woke up this morning with the strongContinue Reading