Tag Archives: Okavango Delta

Belonging

Belonging is inescapable.


BABY BABOON WITH PARENTS – Moremi, Okavango Delta, Botswana

BELONGING

Acknowledged or not,
there’s no escaping
our own
belonging

Born of one,
born of another,
kissed into being
by the same breath

That bonds a baby
to its mother,
and cleaves a leaf
to a tree

The same sacred
infinitesimal
fibres
of life itself

Know our names,
cradle our souls,
which sing with
gratitude

At being a part
of the perfectly
complete
Whole

©Naomi Estment

Quotes to consider:

“I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you” – Walt Whitman

“No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

“See the things you want as already yours. Think of them as yours, as belonging to you, as already in your possession.” – Robert Collier

“The Earth is what we all have in common.” – Wendell Berry

“Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable”- Kenyan Proverb

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

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Celebrating Southern African Getaways

Sincere thanks to the fabulous Christine Searle at SA-Venues, for including me in her awesome post: South Africans share their favourite local getaways! It’s a total treat to participate and discover what’s special to others too 😀

Picking only one favourite was impossibly tough, given the abundance we have here – as well as how privileged Dave and I have been, thanks largely to friends, family and our professional photography. I narrowed it down to the African bushveld, because I believe that nothing compares to the ‘soul vacation’ this offers. Here’s the longer list, incorporating more of Southern Africa and a few of the countless highlights we’ve enjoyed:

Londolozi private game reserve, SA – leopards:


LEOPARD CLOSE-UP – Londolozi Game Reserve, South Africa

Madikwe private game reserve, SA – wild dogs:


AFRICAN WILD DOG – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

Schotia Safaris, SA – lions:


MUFASA – Schotia Safaris, South Africa

Welgevonden private game reserve, SA – rhino’s & elephants:


RHINO SILHOUETTE – Welgevonden Game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa


ELEPHANT SILHOUETTE – Welgevonden game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa

Timbavati private game reserve, SA – buffalo:


BUFFALO BULL – Timbavati game reserve, South Africa

Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana – abundant game and raptors:


HIPPOS AT SUNSET – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana


FISH EAGLE TAKING OFF – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana – wide open spaces and occasional cheetah:


DAVE checking photo’s on our roofrack – Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana


CHEETAH RUNNING – Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana

Mozambique – scuba diving, especially Guinjata Bay’s manta rays:


MANTA RAY WITH REMORA FISH – Guinjata Bay, Mozambique


ME SCUBA-DIVING – Mozambique, Southern Africa

Lesotho – enduro riding, in particular the extreme Roof of Africa:


ROOF OF AFRICA 2010 – Lesotho, Southern Africa


VIEW OF MALUTI MOUNTAINS – Lesotho, Southern Africa

Cape Town (where I grew up) – family, fun, Two Oceans & Table Mountain:


TABLE MOUNTAIN from V&A WATERFRONT – Cape Town, South Africa


VIEW OF CAPE POINT – Cape Town, South Africa

As far as wildlife goes, we’re planning perhaps the pinnacle trip for September next year: Serengeti under Canvas in Tanzania with &Beyond Africa, which follows the migration in luxury tents. CAN’T WAIT, especially since it will probably include scenes like these:


WILDEBEEST RUNNING – Masai Mara, Kenya


HOT AIR BALLOON ABOVE MIGRATING WILDEBEEST – Masai Mara, Kenya

I wasn’t lucky enough to accompany Dave to Kenya, where he shot these last two pics, so that’s high on my wish-list of wildlife destinations, along with others in Southern Africa, such as Namibia (where I was born), Zambia (where my father was born and raised) and Zimbabwe (where some of our special friends come from). And that’s just for starters. Ah, AFRICA…what’s to do but LOVE YOU?

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Awakening

Awakening → Awe


BEE DRINKING FROM WATER LILY – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

AWAKENING

Enticed
by Morning’s
first
Caress

her Heart
swells
to embrace
the Sun

Warmth
from without
Light
from within

She is
all at once
immersed in
Radiance

Quotes to consider:

“We are near awakening when we dream that we dream.” – Novalis

“If every day is an awakening, you will never grow old. You will just keep growing.” – Gail Sheehy

“I would have the studies elective. Scholarship is to be created not by compulsion, but by awakening a pure interest in knowledge.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Creativity comes from awakening and directing men’s higher natures, which originate in the primal depths of the uni-verse and are appointed by Heaven.” – I Ching

“The poet knows himself only on the condition that things resound in him, and that in him, at a single awakening, they and he come forth together out of sleep.” – Jacques Maritain

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Khwai is calling, battling Hippo’s and all . . .

Selecting a calm, open spot along the winding Khwai river in the Okavango Delta, we loll beside our vehicles while Danie fires up the gas. He’s a master at the art of the skottel braai, tossing bacon and eggs like a ninja with a nunchaku. The aroma is enticing as the air is crisp, and we’re starving. It’s around 8:30 am, but we’ve been awake for ages, catching the best of the light ever since sunup.

Hippo’s blast lazily every so often, reminding me of Jeremy Mansfield’s brilliant impression. He had us in stitches one morning on Highveld Stereo, transporting us right here to one of our favourite places. The snorting intensifies, trapping our attention on two large beasts, intent on one-upmanship. Their teeth clack together for a good twenty minutes, against the lively orchestra of splashing water.


HIPPO CONTEST – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana


HIPPO CONTEST – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana


HIPPO CONTEST – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana


HIPPO CONTEST – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

They’re still at it by the time we’ve wolfed down breakfast, so we mosey further along and drift into the day. Swinging past later on our afternoon drive, we find the pool more peaceful. That’s not to say there’s little to photograph. Game is abundant, but Dave is diverted by a branchful of Bateleurs. Climbing from the car, he creeps closer, avoiding heaps of dung while relishing the freedom of this stretch of land.


DAVE AT PLAY – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

The raptors oblige, perching long enough for him to capture their beauty:


ADULT BATELEUR – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana


JUVENILE BATELEUR – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

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‘A Feathership of Partners’ for Birdlife SA

While on the subject of conservation, we have some special photo’s to share. I posted these last September, but the sequence is so exceptional that it bears repeating, particularly since WordPress have introduced their great Gallery feature! Over the years, … Continue reading

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Apple iPhone is birdsong to my ears

This blogging world is super cool. What a great way to discover new things and interact with awesome people around the world. Last week, we were horrified to learn about the fatbooth iPhone app, which appallingly adds weight to an ordinary mug shot. This was thanks to an excellent post by Agrigirl: It’s Only Funny Until Someone Gets Hurt. Take a look – honestly, seeing is believing! Tammy mentioned more apps, inspiring me to investigate and, quite frankly, take my iPhone more seriously 🙂

My number one app, though, is Sasol eBirds. Dave, being my personal techno-wiz, loaded it for me (if it weren’t for him, I’d have an ancient Nokia). So, if I’m feeling like a bush fix in the middle of Jo’burg, I simply tap in, close my eyes and listen to a few calls. Within a virtual moment, I’m lounging in the luxury of the African wild. Of course, when literally there, we have the bonus of identifying birds and reading all about them.

Or even engaging in conversation, such as recently at Welgevonden. A Mocking Cliff-chat (impressive bird knowledge courtesy of our friends who are accomplished birders) took a shine to the lodge bar. Whipping out the iPhones, we returned its warbling (“loud, melodious mixture of mimicked bird song”). It’s so delightful that I’m going to share it with you – via my iPhone, Sasol eBirds app, and Wordpress’ brilliant Post by Voice feature 🙂

But first, here’s a picture:


MOCKING CLIFF-CHAT – Welgevonden Game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa

As well as two photo’s of birds that have my all-time favourite calls. These are the Woodland Kingfisher, abundant in the Waterberg during summer:


WOODLAND KINGFISHER – Welgevonden Game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa

. . . and the African Fish Eagle. It occurs here in South Africa, but is a more common resident of the Okavango Delta in Botswana:


FISH EAGLE TAKING OFF – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Now, for the audio of all three . . . ENJOY!

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African Elephant on the Charge!

Several things happen simultaneously:

– an Elephant trumpets
– men yell
– tyres spin
– dust flies
Plovers shriek
Impalas scatter
Hippo’s submerge
– my throat constricts
– the video camera tumbles into my lap

. . . and Dave calmly fires off a sensational sequence, hand-held from our roof rack:

I don’t know how my husband does it, but there you go 🙂

He shot this near the Khwai River Lodge, just North of Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. No, we weren’t doing the five star thing, rather the real bush deal, camping at the Khwai Development Trust site just up the drag. Thereby hang a whole lot more tales, but we’ll save them for another day.

Our friends in the Prado had inadvertently come between the elephant and the water. Never a good idea. They got off fine, albeit shaken and stirred!
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Movement

Movement contains magic.


LECHWE ON THE MOVE – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Quotes to consider:

“The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.” – Blaise Pascal

“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.” – Carol Welch

“The dance is a poem of which each movement is a world.” – Mata Hari
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Serenity

Serenity is a state of soul.

KHWAI RIVER SUNSET - Okavango Delta, Botswana
KHWAI RIVER SUNSET – Okavango Delta, Botswana

It supercedes any state of mind.

Quotes to consider:

“Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm.” – Unknown

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr

“Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is.” – Thomas S. Szasz
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Saddle-billed Stork Survey

So how’s this for a bit more synchronicity: just a few days after posting the sequence of images of the Fish Eagle attempting to steal a fish from two Saddle-billed Storks (In Celebration of Birds!), we received an email from the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) – about these very birds.

Here’s their request:

“Join the Endangered Wildlife Trust and SANParks in a photographic survey of Saddle-billed Storks in the Kruger National Park. The survey started on 1 September 2009 and will run for a full calendar year.

This survey forms part of a research project that will be conducted over the next three years on the population status of Saddle-billed Storks, one of Kruger’s rarities, and one of the “Big Six” birds. “Census operations on any species within the boundaries of the Kruger National Park are important to help us get an idea of that species’ status within the context of biodiversity management,” says Marcelle van Hoven, the project’s coordinator. “The last Saddle-billed Stork survey conducted in 1993 suggested that there were less than 60 of these birds left in the Park.”

Saddle-billed Storks (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis) are distinctly identifiable by their large size (they stand about 150 cm tall), sharply contrasting black and white plumage and yellow lappet (saddle-like structure) on the bill. The males have a dark eye with two small yellow wattles at the base of the bill, while females have a yellow eye. These birds can also be individually recognised by the details of the front edge of the black band across the red bill. Side-on photographs of all the birds, from both the left and right angles, will be used in identification during the survey.”

Here are two images taken by Dave at the Okavango Delta, which clearly illustrate the difference between the male and female birds:

MALE SADDLE-BILLED STORK - Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana
MALE SADDLE-BILLED STORK – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

FEMALE SADDLE-BILLED STORK - Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana
FEMALE SADDLE-BILLED STORK – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

They go on to say the following:

“Saddle-billed Storks are classified as Endangered in South Africa. They breed slowly and are dependant on extensive wetland habitats, which are under increasing pressure from humans. The flow regimes of rivers passing through the Kruger National Park are expected to change in response to catchment developments outside the Park, and this, together with the removal of artificial water impoundments within the Park, may have a negative impact on this species. In South Africa, Saddle-billed Storks are largely confined to the north-eastern tropical lowland with the majority of the population residing along the riverine habitat in the Kruger National Park. They normally occur in pairs, are strongly territorial and remain in the same area for years.

Visitors who spot a Saddle-billed Stork are asked to take a clear photograph of both sides of the bird’s face and bill and to record information about the sighting including the date, time, location, name of nearby water source, bird’s gender, juveniles present and any other notes that might be relevant. A Saddle-billed Stork census weekend is also planned in the Kruger National Park for later this year, where photographers with the powerful lenses can contribute to this project.

Please keep a special eye out for Saddle-bills and send all sighting details and photographs to storks@ewt.org.za.

This project is sponsored by Tinga Private Game Lodge and Custom African Tours & Safaris.”

Please pass this on to anyone you feel may have the fortune to contribute 🙂
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