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Tag Archives: Safari
Whether you feel “I’ve-had-it-with-the-world-and-everything-in-it” hectic,
or “don’t-make-your-problems-mine” ratty,
it pays to remember that stress arises inside.
to a given stimulus,
Allowed to rule,
it wreaks havoc
Stress offers options
on a silver platter
Succumb and suffer
or choose to transcend,
knowing that the choice
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
“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
- Is Your Job Worth the Stress? (moneyning.com)
- Honeymoon Must-Haves: What to Wear on a Safari (onlineshoes.com)
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.
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:
This was the reason for venturing off-road, which caused it all – understandable really!
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!
There was more magic in store, thanks to the rain. The pan was a sea of yellow flowers:
This is our head-ranger mate, Marc (of my previous post fame ;-)), getting down low with his Nikon. Don’t you just love it?
As you can imagine, we had plenty to talk about at the gourmet dinner every evening:
- A gift that keeps on giving… (naomiestment.wordpress.com)
- Lionesses caked in mud (dailymail.co.uk)
- Big 5 Travel that assists Local Communities (south-africa-travel.suite101.com)
- Celebrating Southern African Getaways (naomiestment.wordpress.com)
- Lion-el messy (thesun.co.uk)
Judgement can be unjust.
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:
- Enough Said – Hoedspruit, Limpopo, South Africa (travelpod.com)
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.
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.
The raptors oblige, perching long enough for him to capture their beauty:
- Botswana: Safari Under Cover (audleytravel.com)
- Heart-warming pictures capture the tender moments between animals and their offspring (mirror.co.uk)
- The Caprivi Strip (audleytravel.com)
- Taking a punt on the polers of Botswana’s Okavango delta (guardian.co.uk)
- Picture Perfect [Snap Judgment] (jezebel.com)
Grace = Gift
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
Journey = Joy
‘Gearbox’. Not for nothing is it named that. Gnarliest road on the reserve, it snakes steeply up the side of a spectacular valley. As we approach, I engage my core, calling on my inner yogi to straighten my spine. It’s one of the ways I maximise the pleasure of being in the bush. Along with breathing deeply. And looking for little things among the magnificent. Pulling aside to let another vehicle pass, we spot a Chameleon. The feather touch of its feet feels like love on our skin.
Further on, a Kudu bull leaps across our path, the heaviness of his horns tilting his head. Chattering Monkeys peep from treetops, sending a Warthog bolting from beneath. It kicks up the scent of faintly bruised bushes. As we stop and start, warm air contrasts with cold wind on our faces. A mystical moon begins to rise. The main gift of the game drive is its focus on the moment. There is no destination. Instead we return to the same place we started, each experience unique. All the Joy is wrapped up in the Journey.
Quotes to consider:
“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” – Matsuo Basho
“A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles” – Tim Cahill
“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” – Greg Anderson
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end” – Ursula K. LeGuin
As an afterthought . . . here’s a pic of the little guy:
CHAMELEON – Welgevonden, Waterberg, South Africa
Several things happen simultaneously:
. . . 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!
Little compares to the quiet symphony of a bush shower. Hot water is preferable, regardless if it spouts from a tap, bucket or bag. But the essential ingredient is open air. That perfect blend of shampoo mixed with wildness. It holds a primal pull. Midday is best, mellowing the burst of freshness from drying off:
Sometimes, however, caution is prescribed, like once at Mabuasehube in Botswana. Our own campsite barren, we investigate another, only to find that we’re not there first. A pride of thirsty lions precedes us. Maneuvering our vehicles into a safe scenario, we oblige with a steady trickle, before retreating to let them drink. It’s clear that the water tastes delicious to their tongues. You’re most welcome, magnifient friends, with all our love 🙂