The heavy grey clouds have lifted and the hot sun has returned. Now this feels more like Botswana should feel. Yesterday’s high temp was probably 75 but cloudy and felt quite cool – especially when driving around looking for animals. We were drizzled on a bit this morning but the animals were out and about. We started with a hyena den where we eyed about 6 spotted hyena… Including one that had somehow been injured. It’s front leg was lame and causing it to limp. Poor little guy. Even though hyenas get vilified and depicted as ugly, they’re really sort of pretty in their own way.
Speaking of ugly, I was informed that there is an Ugly 5 – a play on the Big 5. The Ugly 5 are: wildebeest, hyena, hippo, warthog, Maribou stork. We have seen this set of 5 along with the Big 5… And I know their mamas still love them even though they’re ugly.
We also saw several Ellie herds today… And it’s official, I’m in love. There was a tiny little elephant baby that stole my heart in an instant. It was so young that it was still figuring out how to work his trunk, ears and legs. He’d stumble a little, flail all of his appendages and run around in crazy circles and figure eights like a toddler who had just devoured a bag of candy and didn’t know what to do with the energy. The mother and aunty elephants would try to wrangle him and keep him towards the center of the herd but that was a full-time job. At one point they felt a little threatened by us and trumpeted loudly at us and circled around the young ones to protect them. Herds like this are usually juveniles and mothers and aunties. The mothers and aunties all take care of one another and are very protective of all of the youngsters. I wish I had gotten the baby’s frolicking on video but I will always smile and my heart will melt when I recall that scene. Simply amazing.
Here is a view of the gardens of the Tuli Lodge: