Tag Archives: Raptor

Pending Trip of a Lifetime with Hills of Africa Travel!

Soul Safari 2009
Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

‘Thank you, Amy, for your excellent suggestion!’ Because of it, we’ve become a group within a group. Threaded together through our shared passion for photography, we’re allocated our own vehicle. Oh, the lush abandon of unreserved agreement to linger with wildness! Indulgence permeates our journey like French perfume. We’ve barely left the lodge when we spot our first subject. My heartbeat accelerates. This is unusual. Sitting a seat away from Dave, I feel his same response. All hands on board close around cameras.

The Martial Eagle rests on a bare branch, eyeing our every move. Marc manoevres the Land Cruiser so that the sun bathes our backs. A flurry of whispered questions fires from the back, fielded by him and Dave in the front. Brand experts both, they support Canon and Nikon respectively. Not that the raptor cares. It perches just long enough to allow an explosion of shutter clicks, like popcorn passing its eruption point. Huge wings unfurl for a preliminary hop. Then with a mighty flap, the bird is airborne, becoming a small speck on a distant tree. Never to be erased from memory, digital or otherwise.


MARTIAL EAGLE ABOUT TO TAKE OFF – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa


MARTIAL EAGLE ABOUT TO TAKE OFF – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa


MARTIAL EAGLE IN FLIGHT – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa


MARTIAL EAGLE IN FLIGHT – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

Here’s the group of photographers, brilliantly guided by Marc, with Dave fooling around! Amy is the lovely lady second from right 🙂


PHOTOGRAPHERS – Soul Safari 2009, Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

. . . and the whole happy tribe!


SOUL SAFARI 2009 – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

That raptor sighting was one of countless magical moments on Hills of Africa Travel’s Soul Safari 2009, with Oprah-featured psychic, Ainslie MacLeod. Dave and I were fortunate to be the official photographers, documenting what was truly a trip of a lifetime. Perhaps this video clip of Day 3 explains it more fully, starting with the eagle taking off:

NOW FOR THE GREAT NEWS: Our friends at Hills of Africa are planning another dream adventure for Sep-Oct 2011, also including Madikwe and Cape Town. This one will feature personal participation with Dr. Jonathan Ellerby, the ‘Spiritual Program Director for the acclaimed Canyon Ranch Health Resorts and an esteemed expert of holistic healing, spiritual counseling, and integrative medicine’. Read about all the AWESOME details here: Awakening Inspiration Safari – with our heart-felt recommendation!

To summarize in Dr Ellerby’s words: “At the end of this amazing safari, participants will be culturally enriched and spiritually inspired to live a life they love.”

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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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Peter Sarstedt Sings for Conservation in South Africa

Isn’t it stunning to come across a celebrity with a big heart? No wonder the words ‘Where do you go to, my lovely’, sung from that heart, touched so many. The Number 1 hit single of Feb 1969, which topped the British charts for 6 weeks, and reached # 1 in 14 more countries, is as familiar today – over 40 years later! This composition earned Peter Sarstedt the coveted Ivor Novello Award for Best Song 1969/1970. No surprise really that it’s also the theme song for a recent movie by Wes Anderson, ‘The Darjeeling Limited‘.

Some offerings of the soul are simply timeless, like this musician’s attitude to conservation. His ‘Green Alphabet’ song explores urgent environmental issues. Another, ‘Hemmingway’, expresses passion for Africa, while deploring the ease with which nature’s beauty can be lost. Peter Sarstedt’s signature works are born of an era when folk singing raised awareness and protested injustice, captivating the world and initiating change.

Not for the first time, his reach is extending here to South Africa, where he’ll be singing this month. His ‘green music’ does more than entertain. It promotes sustainable improvement of our planet. He will be performing ‘Save the Rhino’ to assist with the plight of these threatened creatures. In conjunction with Sappi Ltd., dedicated environmental supporter, his visit will benefit additional causes, such as The Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre, Birdlife SA and The Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens, among a number of others.

To give you an idea of these Gardens, here’s a pic of their spectacular waterfall:


WATERFALL – Botanical Gardens, Roodekrans, Johannesburg

And two of the majestic residents that nest near the top:


BLACK EAGLE ON NEST – Botanical Gardens, Roodekrans, Johannesburg


BLACK EAGLE IN FLIGHT – Botanical Gardens, Roodekrans, Johannesburg

The Gardens will be celebrating 10 years of Sappi Sunday Picnic Concerts on 12 September. With Peter’s help, since he’ll be appearing as a guest artist on the Mathys Roets programme. He will also host ‘singer songwriter‘ workshops for aspiring musicians, in line with his and Sappi’s upliftment of this art in South Africa.

Andre Oberholzer, Group Head Corporate Affairs at Sappi Ltd, says that they ‘invited Peter back to South Africa to add a new dimension to our long-standing support for the arts, community development and conservation.’ How fabulous for this country!

Shows are scheduled for Johannesburg, Nelspruit, Cape Town and Franschhoek. For details, go to: 702 Talk Radio.

To wrap up, here’s a video of Peter Sarstedt’s ‘Lovely’ song:

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Inspiration

Inspiration is the wind beneath the soul’s wings.


MARTIAL EAGLE ON TAKE-OFF – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

We fly infinitely higher when inspired by something greater than ourselves.

Quotes to consider:

“Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.” – Karen Ravn

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” – Vincent van Gogh
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In celebration of birds!

Huge THANK YOU to Sandy and Hills of Africa Travel for featuring some of Dave’s fish eagle photo’s on their fabulous blog: http://livethemagicofafrica.wordpress.com/.

Have a look there and read Sandy’s insightful article on these stunning birds. She taught us a new term – “kleptoparasites” – which fish eagles are categorized as because they have “been known to steal prey from other bird species, as well as steal eggs and young from other water birds’ nests”.

Dave shot a phenomenal sequence in the Okavango Delta which illustrates this perfectly. It involves a fish eagle swooping in to steal a fish from a saddlebilled stork. The series is included in Sandy’s post, but it’s so exceptional that I’m going to add it here too.

Dave supplied this sequence to Birdlife South Africa, an organization which “Gives Conservation Wings”. It is printed across the contents pages of their beautiful book, “A Feathership of Partners”, which was conceptualised and created by Malcolm Drummond – thank you, Malcolm! If you love birds, please visit their site (www.birdlife.org.za) to see how you can help 🙂

SUCCESSFUL CATCH...
SUCCESSFUL CATCH…

BIG FRIGHT!
BIG FRIGHT!

DIVE-BOMB
DIVE-BOMB

CONFRONTATION
CONFRONTATION

FLURRY OF WINGS
FLURRY OF WINGS

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY...
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY…

No breakfast for the birds, but the fish was smiling!

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Aptitude

Aptitude is invariably appropriate.

FISH EAGLE WITH BARBEL - Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana
FISH EAGLE WITH BARBEL – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Everyone is gifted in their own unique way. Gratitude begets grace.

Quotes to consider:

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” – Zig Ziglar

“Genius is nothing but a greater aptitude for patience.” – George-Louis Leclerc de Buffon

“You are the only person on earth who can use your ability.” – Zig Ziglar
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