Wednesday, 30 March 2011

naughty puppy - Okavango Delta

There's not supposed to be any interaction between humans and wildlife when viewing game but this little chap, just like any puppy, was just too in*uisitive (damn missing cue again) to keep his distance.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Successful Earth Hour

Johannesburg - During Earth Hour on Saturday South Africans saved 350 megawatts of electricity, enough to power Bloemfontein for a whole day, Eskom said on Tuesday. We must do this more often

My...what big teeth you have.

Exactly how I'm feeling right now. Time for bed I reckon.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

A gorgeous bird indeed.

One day I might just be lucky and get one of these in flight - they're not easy since the first  you normally see of them is the bright red flash of their wings in flight. So I had to make do with this one on the ground waiting it's turn at an Mkuze waterhole in Zululand. It is of course a Purple Crested Tauraco.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Endangered Wattled Cranes - Okavango delta

We had never seen so many Wattled Cranes together. In the evening they would fly in from all directions like a fleet of jumbo jets, but much uieter (cue not working dammit) of course. On our last evening count, there were at least 40 gathered.

Friday, 25 March 2011 has wings.

Just to prove that I also appreciate the small 'stuff' as well as the meat-eating, growling variety. Actually I love macro photography. It was something I did in my days as a photographer in the Biological Sciences Dept at what used to be the Portsmouth Polytechnic (now University) - I just need the right lens!

Monday, 21 March 2011

She's beautiful - Phinda

Many lions that you see are battle-scarred, but not this one, she was in beautiful condition.

I see you

Male lion - Okavango Delta. Gorged with eating his buffalo meal, this male lion kept his beady eyes on us as we drew near in the vehicle to get a closer look through the grass.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

White rhino....don't speak with your mouth full

The s uare lip of the white rhino.
4 .“The tragedy is that rhino horn is made of keratin, the same stuff that makes up human hair and nails. It has no medicinal value, you might as well eat your fingernails.” – Mark Jones, Executive Director, Humane Society International/UK, It is devastating to see rhinos killed for a cure that doesn’t work

Friday, 18 March 2011

Leopard - classic member of the Big 5

Okavango Delta - this was a good looking chap. He was agitated, as just behind us were two lions finishing off the remains of their kill (baby elephant ). He was up, down, up, down - trying to get the best view he could in case he had a chance of a few leftovers. The lions however, got fed up with being watched while they were eating and dragged their meal into thick bush to enjoy it in peace.

Buffalo - One of the Big 5

Buffalo. One of the Big 5 - and seemingly benign looking. Have the same poo as cattle but can be very un-bovine like in character -. in fact are very dangerous if you get them on a bad day.

Maun - the gateway to the Okavango delta

I love Maun. Despite the march of civilisation, it still has the atmosphere of a frontier town. Many years ago, the only buildings that existed there was the airport, some mud huts and the infamous Riley's hotel, now there are malls, major supermarkets and a plethora of safari shops and backpackers. However, civilisation is interspersed with white sandy roads and roaming donkeys, cows and goats. The backpackers are full of young people from all corners of the earth. We spent a memorable evening at 'The Bridge'  last year seated round a fire next to the river and talking to a bunch of youngsters. The cross section of nationalities was enormous and listening to their chatter and stories of their travels as they criss-crossed the world made us want to be young again.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Peaceful paradise - the Okavango Delta

The images and the news on the television - from the Middle East to Japan, are so horrific at the moment that it would be nice to just drop off the face of the earth for a while. The situation in Japan is uppermost in everyone's mind and sometimes just to be an onlooker is too much to bear let alone be there and experiencing it firsthand. The Okavango is a paradise. Peaceful. Beautiful. Slow, but also fragile and at the mercy of humankind.

The Lion King - Okavango Delta

We tracked this male lion in our vehicle finding his tracks in the sand along the road as he was following a herd of buffalo. So after half and hour of driving we found a huge herd of buffalo and sat and watched. Within minutes this male lion's head popped up and he made a very unsuccessful attempt at stalking them. We discovered later that he had injured his back leg. The ranger didn't hold out much hope for him but some months later on a subseuent visit we found him again, hale and hearty

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Endangered African Painted Dog - Okavango Delta, Botswana

The wild dog, now called the African Painted Dog have the most beautiful markings and can behave at times pretty much like a domestic animal....except when they hunt and kill their prey. They are very brutal and really need their own PR company when viewed by tourists to restore their reputations.

Feeling twitchy.

Okavango leopard checking the insects dive bombing his kill in an adjacent tree.

AS I sit inputing the details on this image I can hear the continuous coverage by Sky news on the terrible after effects of the tsunami in Japan. Some of the footage is almost too visual, too horrific to absorb - more like a far-fetched Hollywood disaster  movie. Yesterday's visuals included a scene of the wave sweeping up a pile of brand new cars like a set of dinky toys, almost with contempt. Nature's revenge maybe.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Okavango Leopard #2

We tracked this leopard for a while. He scared the living daylights out a herd of Impala who sniffed and snorted furiously as a warning to each other and to let him know that they had see him. They didn't run, but watched his every move as he drank at this pan.

Leopard kill - Okavango Delta, Botswana

This leopard (and I think it was a young male) was a hungry chap as he had two  kills stashed up two seperate trees. He spent his time changing the position of his stash and snarling at anything that came close. He sat at the base of one tree and snarled even at any birds, butterflies or moths that came too close.

Rhino poaching - the sad facts

Figures released today -March 7 2011 - record that 54 rhino have already been killed for their horn in 2011. The Minsiter of Environment says Rhino poaching is a cause for concern. Mmmmm, you don't say! Break down as listed:
  • Kruger National Park: 33
  • Gauteng: 0
  • Limpopo: 8
  • Mpumalanga: 1
  • North West: 1
  • Eastern Cape: 2
  • Free State: 1
  • KwaZulu Natal: 4
  • Western Cape: 1
  • Northern Cape: 0
Even worse update - March 14, News 24
- South Africa has already lost 71 rhinos to poaching this year, SA National Parks (SANParks) said on Monday.
"This figure encompasses fresh and old carcasses which have been found in the various parks and nature reserves countrywide," said SANParks CEO David Mabunda.
Most of the poaching, 46 rhinos, occurred in the Kruger National Park.
Rhino poaching figures are on the increase with 333 rhinos slaughtered in 2010 compared to 122 killed in 2009 and 83 killed in 2008.
Mabunda said 64 suspected rhino poachers had already been arrested this year.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Elephant - Mkuze game reserve

Elephant with a little help from Photoshop. It was interesting to watch his chap as it was right next to the main waterhole, but he declined the muddy water there choosing rather to suck clean water from a pipe nearby.

Friday, 4 March 2011


"Lions in crisis: UK and US told they must act now

Lion population on verge of collapse
March 2011: The US and UK governments are being asked to take urgent action to help save the African lion, now seriously under threat."

I HATE hunting. I know there are some tenuous reasons that support hunting e.g. putting money back into
conservation but it is true to say that hunters and non hunters will NEVER find any common ground. For myself I cannot understand how anyone can find pleasure in lining up a magnificent animal like a leopard, lion or  rhino in telescopic sights and killing or yes, murdering it. If animals are culled due to over population or to actually eat then I can just about get my mind around  it, but to kill for actual pleasure - no, nothing will EVER seem right about that and no-one will ever convince me otherwise.

Three rhino killed today in the Eastern Cape - 4 March 2011

The human race is selfish. I can't believe that man can deliberately bring an animal to the brink of extinction for their own selfish needs. It is said that rhino are now being killed to inflate the price of the horn even more. It's sick.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The Ultimate sundowner - Kwazulu Natal.

A beautiful sunset at Nsumo Pan in Mkuze Game in Kwazulu Natal.  The heads of the hippos can  be seen as black dots on top of the the water. As chocolate boxy as it is, it's impossible to ignore a great sunset and the accompanying sundowners!

Traditional sunset - Okavango delta, Botswana

Oh my, there are so many of these traditional sunsets. It must be the dust in the air or something because as long as it isn't overcast, there will be a glorious sunset.

Blue sunset - Okavango delta, Botswana

The Okavango Delta is the home of magnificent sunsets usually of the vivid red and orange kind , but on this night it was mostly blue with a touch of yellow and orange on the horizon.