Backstory: I spent three nights in the Duba Plains in the Okavango Delta region in Northern Botswana with Dereck and Beverley Joubert. The two have been making films about lions for 30 years, and their newest one, Game of Lions, premieres on Nat Geo Wild on Dec. 1. It was my first trip to Africa and it basically changed my life.
Here's everything I learned:
1. There is no feeling quite like the feeling you get when you see an elephant from a plane.
2. Also the view of the Okavango Delta from above is INCREDIBLE.
3. Botswana, specifically the Duba Plains, has the largest lions in the world.
4. Today there are more statues of lions in the world than actual real-life lions.
5. The world population of lions has decreased by 90% in the past 75 years.
6. A sausage tree is the coolest tree.
7. There is nothing quite as terrifying as hearing a hippopotamus literally right outside of your tent in the middle of the night.
8. There is elephant poop EVERYWHERE.
9. It takes two to three weeks for a buffalo to turn into a skeleton.
10. The sunrises in Botswana are very Lion King-esque.
11. The sunsets are too.
12. One-third of the world's elephant population lives in Botswana.
13. There are people who make their living completely on Instagram.
14. Elephants are basically stoners.
15. Elephant babies are excruciatingly cute because they're always between two adults. It's ridiculous.
16. The highlight of any safari is if you catch a group of animals mating.
17. Lions are INCREDIBLY sneaky.
18. Male lions are lazy. Females do basically everything.
19. Lion cubs are everything. They're also very curious.
20. They are also fajlsdfa;sdfl;as;dfakl;sdfasf cute.
21. Sleeping lions are hilarious.
22. Lions sleep alllllll of the time because they have small hearts.
23. Lions are obsessed with shade.
24. China is the biggest threat to lions today.
25. Baboons are very, very scary.
26. Buffalo are actually the most volatile animals. If they're sitting down, you don't mess with them.
27. The Jouberts, whom I wrote about earlier, have witnessed only one natural lion death in their 30 years of studying lions.
28. The Duba lions are the only lions in the world to swim/go into water period.
29. Kenya is the Disney World of safari tourism.
30. Lions get massive food comas.
31. Lions have the same tongues as regular house cats.
32. European documentary: 52 minutes. USA documentary: 44 minutes. Chinese documentary: 20 minutes.
33. There are already 26 countries where lions are extinct.
34. The most despicable form of hunting is "canned lion hunting."
35. Botswana is the most environmentally progressive country currently in Africa.
36. Watching a lion hunt is a very long, stressful, but extremely engaging experience.
37. Blame The Lion King.
38. Female warthogs have blonde mohawks.
39. Monitor lizards are my new secret favorite animal.
40. This is what happens when a monkey hears a camera shutter.
41. Elephant graveyards don't really exist.
42. Buffalo smell exactly like a farm.
43. Lions are INCREDIBLY social creatures.
They're always lying all over and licking each other.
44. Lions are also almost exactly like cats.
45. They're super curious.
46. They sleep all day.
47. They don't give a damn.
48. They love to play.
49. And just like house cats, they are the king of whatever area they're in.
All photos by me.