Chobe National Park - Botswana, Africa

. Chobe is a great Park to get really close to the animals. You can see what we mean by looking at this great close-up shot of an Elephant that was eating right next to our LandRover. So close that you could even hear the huge animal breathe. Sometimes it is a little too close for comfort. At least the elephants let you know when that is. 

They give you three different posturing warnings before they charge. First they trumpet really loud - hoping they will scare you away. If that does not work they flap their huge ears back and forth and trumpet really loud. If you are still crazy enough to be there after this warning they do one more thing before they charge you full on. Of course, we don't know what that last thing is since we always ran like hell after their second warning. Certainly is a heart-pounding event.

Since we were on a river you could see plenty of Hippos. Believe it or not they are the most dangerous animal in Africa. Hippos kill more people than all the other animals, combined! Why? They are not meat eater you say. Well, it is because they don't like people intruding on their space and often turn over canoes that get too close to them and then impale the poor little creatures that fall out (humans that is) with their spear-like tusks. Definitely a nasty way to go - but it happens allllll the time. YIKES! Keep me away from those Hippos!
Plenty of lizards too. This fellow was about the length of a large dog. Not something we see at home. We wonder what Fido would do if he saw one.
Majestic fish eagles, "balder" than our USA icon and about the same size, are overhead looking for a good catch. Their elegant and regal flight is awe inspiring. 
An impressive antelope is the Kudu with its twirling horns used to scare off and possibly maim any of the big cats thinking of jumping on their back for the kill. As you can see, most of the animals blend very well into their surroundings, thereby not making for great photos. Nothing can compare to being there and having binoculars handy.
On this occasion we startled an Elephant that was snoozing by the water's edge while it was still standing up. The big brute was in our way and we had to kindly awaken it to get buy. 

It seems that Elephants only sleep laying down for a few hours a day. The rest of the time they are feeding and catching dazed naps throughout the day. So its not hard to run into one that doesn't quite know what's going on.

Hans was all over the vehicle trying to get good shots of the wildlife. Getting a good angle for a long range shot was key to good photos, especially when taking pictures of the lions since the typically don't get cozy up close.
Chobe gave us our best look at lions in the wild. Here a pride start the hunt as the light begins to fade and the temperature begin to drop. They were very patient when hunting.
The pride started moving in for the kill. You can tell by the determined stance of the center lion. Once they get away from the roads it's hard to follow them as they go ahead with the business of  hunting and feeding. You see, we are not allowed off the roads - park rules, but the animals are.
As in the other parks, Chobe closes at sundown. We always were sent home with spectacular sunset good-byes. This one over the Chobe River was no exception.
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