Tag Archives: Safari

Stress

Whether you feel “I’ve-had-it-with-the-world-and-everything-in-it” hectic,


MALE LION BARING HIS FANGS – Schotia Safaris, South Africa

“get-out-of-my-face-I’m-having-a-bad-day” mad,

MALE LION SNARL – Schotia Safaris, South Africa

or “don’t-make-your-problems-mine” ratty,


LIONESS BARING HER FANGS – Schotia Safaris, South Africa

it pays to remember that stress arises inside.

STRESS:

In response
to a given stimulus,
Stress arises
inside

Allowed to rule,
it wreaks havoc
recognized, unresisted,
it recedes

Powerful,
potential teacher,
Stress offers options
on a silver platter

Succumb and suffer
or choose to transcend,
knowing that the choice
arises inside

©Naomi Estment

Quotes to consider:

“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.” – George F. Burns

“Don’t let your mind bully your body into believing it must carry the burden of its worries.” – Astrid Alauda

“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.” – Hans Selye

God will never give you anything you can’t handle, so don’t stress.” – Kelly Clarkson

“Give your stress wings and let it fly away.” – Terri Guillemets

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” – Chinese Proverb

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“Mud, mud, glorious mud!”

This was certainly the case at Madikwe Game Reserve last week. In a show of sympathy for all those devastated by recent floods around the world, Johannesburg and surroundings have been drenched in downpours over the past while. Madikwe is a mere 3-odd hours’ drive from here, and seems to have shared in the rain too.

Luckily for us, we sneaked into a window of great weather and had the BEST time. Well, probably not better than the African Wild Dogs, who made a meal of the left-over puddles:


AFRICAN WILD DOG wallowing in mud – Madikwe Game Reserve, SA


AFRICAN WILD DOGS cavorting in the road – Madikwe Game Reserve, SA

It wasn’t all rosy, though, like one morning when a Landcruiser got stuck in the mud 😀 Our ranger saved the day, so we witnessed the good deed:


LANDCRUISER stuck in the mud – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa


BUSH RESCUE – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

This was the reason for venturing off-road, which caused it all – understandable really!


TRACKS UNDERWATER – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

Later, we struck it lucky, courtesy of more puddles, when two lionesses squatted to drink right beside our vehicle. Tell me it gets any better than this!


LIONESSES drinking – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

There was more magic in store, thanks to the rain. The pan was a sea of yellow flowers:


RHINO & ELEPHANT in a sea of yellow flowers – Madikwe Game Reserve, SA

This is our head-ranger mate, Marc (of my previous post fame ;-)), getting down low with his Nikon. Don’t you just love it?


MARC LINDSAY-RAE in action – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

As you can imagine, we had plenty to talk about at the gourmet dinner every evening:


MADIKWE SAFARI LODGE dining area – Madikwe Game Reserve, SA

I could carry on, but instead here are links to my Facebook albums, which tell a lot more: Handful of Highlights – MADIKWE, Jan 2011 Playing on the Pan – MADIKWE, Jan 2011

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A gift that keeps on giving…

Big thanks to the lovely ladies at Well Designed Journeys for featuring a two-post interview with Dave on their beautiful blog, sharing his advice on wildlife photography: Wildlife Photography Tips for Travelers on Safari: Interview with Dave Estment and Wildlife Photography Tips for Travelers on Safari: Part II

This passion has blessed us with countless incredible trips into the African bushveld. It’s one of those gifts that keeps on giving. In fact, we’re off to Madikwe Safari Lodge again tomorrow, courtesy of their head ranger, Marc Lindsay-Rae – a fabulous friend and fellow photographer, who has just won the 2010 Africa Geographic/Canon Photo Competition for rangers and safari guides (with an awesome shot of a mother and calf black rhino charging him). Way to go, Marc! Here he is, with his winning photo (for the month and year):


MARC LINDSAY-RAE with his winning wildlife photo!

For those who don’t know, black rhino’s are endangered, which makes that pic all the more exceptional. We were treated on a previous visit to Madikwe to a spectacular sighting of three together, and a pack of endangered wild dogs on the hunt. It was too dark for decent photo’s, but regular readers of this blog will have seen plenty more wildlife pics in the past. Some stunning ones of Dave’s are included in those two posts at Well Designed Journeys, and here are a few other highlights just for fun:


AMARULA HOT CHOCOLATE – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa


MORNING BREAKING – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa


BREAKFAST FOR TWO – Madikwe Safari Lodge, South Africa


MARC, CLAIRE & GREG ENJOYING SUNDOWNERS – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa


AFRICAN SUNSET – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa


HEAVENLY SUITE – Madikwe Safari Lodge, South Africa

. . . and a quote from another photographer (as well as actor, artist and writer):

“I have never been in a natural place and felt that was a waste of time. I never have. And it’s a relief. If I’m walking around a desert or whatever, every second is worthwhile.” – Viggo Mortensen

Wishing you all a wonderful few days, until we return with more wild magic to entice you to visit the bush soon too 🙂

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Judgement

Judgement can be unjust.


VULTURE COMING IN TO LAND – Moholoholo, Hoedspruit, South Africa


VULTURES FEEDING – Moholoholo, Hoedspruit, South Africa

It’s a steamy summer evening near the Kruger National Park. Anticipation spikes the sunset as we pull up to the ‘vulture restaurant’ at Moholoholo (“The Very Great One”) rehabilitation centre. A simple patch of sand to us, the spot is significant to the birds. Dozens of them. The moment the carcass thuds to earth, they swoop in from their circling. A bombardment of quietly beating feathers flares dust into the air, muffling soft tearing and crunching sounds. Not a single squawk is uttered.

Each species knows precisely what to do. Larger-beaked prey ‘openers’ jostle beside their cousins who pick the bones clean. The ten minute melee is marked by precision feeding, highlighted with huge hops and tugs of war, as well as the intermittent scampering of a warthog. He’s having dinner too, snatching morsels from the heaving heap.

As swiftly as it began, the meal is over; barely a scrap to mark the spot. A flurry of large bodies lifts off and flies away. No wonder Nature is not strewn with waste. Among the less endearing of her feathered set, vultures sometimes receive a bad rap. Perhaps not the prettiest, they each have a part to play. As we all do.

Quotes to consider:

“Judge a tree from its fruit, not from its leaves” – Euripides

“We judge others by their behavior. We judge ourselves by our intentions.” – Ian Percy

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Gustav Jung

“The tendency to turn human judgments into divine commands makes religion one of the most dangerous forces in the world.” – Georgia Harkness

“. . . It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.” – Paulo Coelho

“Although I cannot lay an egg, I am a very good judge of omelettes” – George Bernard Shaw

Here are a few more pics taken by Dave:


VULTURES & MARABOU STORKS – Moholoholo, Hoedspruit, South Africa


WARTHOG WITH VULTURES – Moholoholo, Hoedspruit, South Africa


WHITEBACKED VULTURE – Moholoholo, Hoedpsruit, South Africa


WHITEBACKED VULTURE – Moholoholo, Hoedspruit, South Africa

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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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Grace

Grace = Gift


KALAHARI SUNSET – Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana

We call it ‘Big Sky Country’, the Central Kalahari. Somehow the horizon seems more expansive. Parked alongside a pan in Passarge Valley, we contemplate the meeting point of Heaven and Earth. Mesmerized, we forget to sip our nicely chilled drinks and nibble on the cashew nuts. Regal Gemsbuck drift nearby, quietly crunching the rough grass. Further away, a Ground Squirrel family frolics above its burrows. We’re done filming them. That was exclusive to Golden Hour. Maybe they’ll humour us again in the morning.

Light lingers solely in the sky, gone from the sand. The first rumble of far-off roaring reaches our ears. Warm up for the hunt. Anticipation tingles through the evening air, tempered by a peculiar peace. ‘I have a theory,’ Dave murmurs. ‘It’s almost as if the animals enter a trance-like state, accepting that one of them will go down.’ He’s right, I muse. Predator and prey appear to share a primordial pact. Premeditated panic knows no place here. Only Grace.

Quotes to consider:

“I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief… For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” – Wendell Berry

“Grace is available for each of us every day – our spiritual daily bread – but we’ve got to remember to ask for it with a grateful heart and not worry about whether there will be enough for tomorrow.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach

“We cannot go faster than grace…If God will not go ahead with us, we must wait and go with God.” – Marcia Hollis

This is how the Gemsbuck looked a little earlier:


GEMSBUCK HERD – Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana
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