Tag Archives: sunset

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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Contentment is not continuous.

AFRICAN SUNSET – Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana

This simply seems to be the way we’re wired. Like blowing the perfect soap bubble. We’re drawn to catch it as it drifts away, only for it to burst, leaving us with nothing but slippery fingers. But there are always more where that came from. Bigger and better ones.

Similarly with sunsets. Time’s relentless march sucks the molten orb into the night. No debate. Until tomorrow. And the point of it all is? Perhaps partly to teach appreciation, moment for moment, while allowing discontent to guide us in the direction of greater Contentment. Maybe one of these days I’ll manage the process with more grace 😀

Quotes to consider:

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” – Epicurus

“There is no end of craving. Hence contentment alone is the best way to happiness. Therefore, acquire contentment.” – Swami Sivananda

“It is better to want what you have than to have what you want.” – Proverb

“Contentment is a pearl of great price, and whoever procures it at the expense of ten thousand desires makes a wise and a happy purchase” – John Balguy

“Contentment is a kind of moral laziness; if thare want ennything but contentment in his world, man wouldn’t be any more of a success than an angleworm is” – Josh Billings

Just because it’s beautiful, here’s another pic of that Kalahari sunset, closer to complete . . .

AFRICAN SUNSET – Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana

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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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Closure ↔ Creation

AFRICAN SUNSET – Wlegevonden Game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa

Wrapped in woolly scarves, gloves and beanies, we stop the open-topped Land Cruiser beside a dried up waterhole. Some hadedas squawk off as a lone Rhino marks his territory. “Like a fire hydrant!” Claire comments, while we cluster around sundowners, sniffing fresh air. Savanna Dry, G & T’s, Miller’s, Captain and Coke, all contribute to the colourful conversation, accompanying more-ish snacks. Tangy cheeses and paté, chips and biltong are stroked by the sun before it snuggles into the bushveld.

Another disappearing day beckons us back to a blaze in the boma. Special sightings linger on lips, including a rarely spotted Gymnogene, barreling Bushpig, as well as Lions and their cubs on a Wildebeest kill. Africa, you breathe with closure and creation!

Quotes to consider:

“Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open.” – Alexander Graham Bell

“Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during a moment” – Carl Sandburg

“A subject for a great poet would be God’s boredom after the seventh day of creation.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.” – Pablo Picasso
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Captivating Katberg

Every now and then a surprise discovery crops up. Like Katberg did for us. More specifically, the Katberg Hotel and Eco Golf Estate nestled in the Katberg mountains in the Eastern Cape. This is another of the delightful destinations we’ve come across on Dave’s motorbiking trail. It was the venue for the last national enduro event, which he participated in.

Unfortunately, due to mechanical problems, Dave didn’t finish, but we certainly made the most of the trip. The scenery was absolutely stunning, similar to the nearby Hogsback area, which is rumoured to have inspired JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (in particular the fictional forest “Mirkwood”), since he holidayed there during his childhood.

Here are a few photo’s to give you an idea of the surroundings:

KATBERG ECO GOLF ESTATE – Eastern Cape, South Africa

KATBERG ECO GOLF ESTATE – Eastern Cape, South Africa

An ostrich on the golf course 🙂

Just to confirm there was a race going on, here’s a shot of the pits in the morning, as well as Dave and the guys lining up for the start:

From Katberg, we traveled through the old Transkei, now part of the Eastern Cape, en route to an extreme enduro event on the Kwazulu Natal South Coast. More about that later, but here’s a shot of the sunset just South of Mthatha (Umtata), which is too spectacular not to share:

EASTERN CAPE SUNSET, Old Transkei, South Africa

For more photo’s from the trip, you’re welcome to take a look at my Facebook album: Kei National Enduro – July 2010.
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Magnificence gets magnified.

This image is particularly special and apt for today’s thought, because I shot it recently from the roadside South-West of Mthatha (Umtata) and close to Qunu, which is where Nelson Mandela grew up. The region falls within what was the Transkei, a homeland of the Xhosa-speaking people during apartheid years. It was reintegrated into South Africa in 1994, when Nelson Mandela became President, and now forms part of the Eastern Cape province. Shortly after taking this photo, we came across the Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha, which showcases the gifts he has received from all corners of the globe.

Since Madiba’s birthday has just passed, marked by Mandela Day around the world, here are two quotes to consider that bear particular relevance to him:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of ‘A Course in Miracles’.

Part of the passage is said to have been quoted by Nelson Mandela in his 1994 inaugural speech, although this is apparently not conclusive. I don’t rememeber the speech well enough to say for sure, but either way, Madiba certainly embodies everything contained in these words, as well as the following poem, narrated by Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela in the movie of the same name:

INVICTUS – by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

If you’re interested in my thoughts (as a South African) about this film, then here’s a link to my review: Invictus
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Exploration expands perspective.

Quotes to consider:

“Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit.” – Frank Borman

“We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started… and know the place for the first time.” – T.S. Eliot

“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.” – John Hope Franklin
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Contemplation is a form of mental air-freshener.

Down-time is renewing to the mind.

Quotes to consider:

“That pleasure which is at once the most pure, the most elevating and the most intense, is derived, I maintain, from the contemplation of the beautiful.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“…Carry with you an atmosphere of quiet contemplation, wherever you happen to be. The less you talk, the more will become your mental power. …” – Sri Sathya Sai Baba

“What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action” – Meister Eckhart
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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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Be the stillness that lies beyond.

SUNSET - Bushwillow, Hartebeespoort, South Africa
SUNSET – Bushwillow, Hartebeespoort, South Africa

Quotes to consider:

“One’s action ought to come out of an achieved stillness: not to be mere rushing on.” – D.H. Lawrence

“For those who wish to climb the mountain of spiritual awareness, the path is selfless work. For those who have attained the summit of union with the Lord, the path is stillness and peace.” – Bhagavad Gita

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