Harriet Smith Photography


"For The Love of Africa"

AFRICAN SAFARIS - Trips Of A Lifetime

Family Ties

Country: Botswana
Reserve: Linyanti Reserve,
Lodge: Kings Pool

Family Ties

This is a picture of a herd of 18 elephants crossing elephant habitat at its finest, while virtually mirroring themselves in the water stilled by grasses and reeds. This rich floodplain shows the river, both dried and green grasses, the tree and shrub line all set under a brilliant blue sky, with a smattering of wispy clouds. An elephant herd contains females and their calves, the young males driven away from the family when they mature. Elephants often stay for many decades in herds of about 12 to 20, led by an older matriarch. The females are extremely social. They take very good care of their offspring, and like children, the younger elephants must be disciplined by the older members of the herd to turn into responsible members of the elephant society.

This picture was taken in the Linyanti Reserve.  The Linyanti River (later named the Chobe River), forms the natural border between Namibia and Botswana. Linyanti Wildlife Reserve is located on the southern banks of the Linyanti River. Chobe National Park is the western boundary for The Linyanti Wildlife Reserve. The last stretches of Africa's Great Rift Valley separate the forests of the interior from the rivers and floodplains of the Linyanti and it is along this ridge - and along the Savuti Channel - that the best wildlife can be seen. The Channel stopped flowing between 1980 and 2008; during this time it was an unusual and productive ribbon of grassland that served as a corridor and feeding ground in the surrounding woodland for a wide variety of herbivores.

In 2008 the Savute Channel once more became a deep, clear waterway harboring hippo and aquatic life with myriad varieties of water birds. Wildlife, from plains game to a plethora of predators, has had to adapt to a new source of water and all the opportunities and menaces it brought with it. For different species the channel has become a place of refuge, an obstacle, an unrivalled food source, a navigational aid, a larder, a playground, and a graveyard. It is impossible to say yet whether the waters will persist or begin to recede in earnest as much of this will depend on  summer rains.

The Linyanti area is renowned for its predators and large concentrations of game, particularly elephant. Dereck and Beverly Joubert made the region famous in their National Geographic films. "Eternal enemies" is a classic, and chronicles in detail the interaction between lion and hyena. National Geographic estimates "Eternal enemies" has been seen by over a billion viewers.

The camp and its lagoon take their name from King Leopold of Sweden who honeymooned here in the mid 1900's.

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