Sanctuary Baines Camp

by Valerie Layton
(Gulf Breeze FL USA)

Baines Camp Okavango Delta

Baines Camp Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta, the watery Eden: I was completely immersed in the safari experience at Sanctuary Baines Camp in Botswana.

Walking safaris, game drives, mokoros (canoe) and motorboat exploration, we did them all. Baines Camp is eco – friendly having made use of local and recycled materials in its cabins perched on pilings high above the marsh of the delta.

Everywhere there was wildlife: land, air and water all visible to see and hear and enjoy.

Our cabin had one side with a large door that enabled a bed to roll out so a guest could experience sleeping under the African night sky.

My daughter wanted to try that and rolled out her bed while I slept behind a screen inside. Sleep came immediately as we were so tired after a long and exciting day. Just 2 hours later we both awoke. The loud and deep grunting was unmistakable and now so familiar to us.

A hippo was under our cabin! We both stayed in bed not knowing what to do. I whispered “Are you ok?" to my daughter and she replied “yes!” The hippo left and we fell asleep again.

In the morning we both agreed that by far our singular most memorable wildlife experience at Baines Camp was not the incredible safaris drives but the night the hippo came to visit us!

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Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero

by Valerie Layton
(Gulf Breeze FL USA)

Elephant and baby

Elephant and baby

Elephant and baby Baboons Kudu pair

Chobe National Park is a place I have been blessed to visit.

I love this place because of the variety of wildlife and terrain. The low hills and forest on the Botswana side of the Chobe River provide drier thick cover and food for herds of animals while the shoreline and river are a year round source of water and food as well.

I loved to see animals interact with each other. The sight of a mother and baby elephant comfortably snuggling together among thorn bushes was perhaps my favorite pair. This occasion confirmed what I always felt: that even a several hundred pound baby can have abundant ‘cuteness’.

Several sightings of baby baboons clinging and riding on their parents were highly entertaining. They seemed to be very curious of us while we viewed them as a great source of amusement.

The many species of antelope I found particularly elegant. We stopped on one dirt track and watched a pair of kudu. The male was darker with elaborate horns and the female lighter with bright pink ears that showed as she turned toward us.

Their stripes probably help them blend well in low foliage to escape any predators. They remained perfectly still and centered in the road.

I was able to capture the moment on film and it remains one of my favorite Chobe memories.

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