Monday, August 13

It's official, Spring has sprung!

Giraffe feasting on Knob-thorn flowers
Snowfalls sprinkled all 9 provinces of South Africa less than a week ago, but in the low-veld the Knob-thorn Acacias are in flower – spring has definitely sprung:)

All the signs are there.......

Waterholes are rapidly drying up and those still with water are attracting hundreds of animals;

The skies are hazy with dust and smoke from wild fires;

Gusty winds ripple through the remaining grass, keeping all animals on high alert;

Kudu antelope are looking bedraggled and hungry;

Hippos are at their fittest, walking long distances at night for little return on food;

Newly damaged trees everywhere, being relentlessly torn apart by elephant foraging for juicy bark;

Cold nights turning into clear warm days;

Now, the desperate wait for the rains to arrive.........

Drying waterholes, slim hippo

Large buffalo herd camped out at a waterhole
Selecting the next tree to push over
Warming up after a long cold night
Very few leaves around for this young browser
Clear, sunny days in the low-veld

Friday, August 3

Deja vu and anniversaries

Exactly five years ago, on Friday 3rd August 2007, I met Roland, a future friend and colleague, at the airport, fresh off his flight from Germany. On Sunday 5th we met another future friend, Piera, for lunch.

We were due to travel down together on Monday 6th to Karongwe Game Reserve to start a field guide course with Eco-Training......

Yesterday, I returned from a safari, on which our last 2 nights were spent at a luxury lodge in the Karongwe Game Reserve. Strangely enough, this last few weeks has been the first time I had returned to Karongwe since our course.

Whilst bouncing around on the back of the open vehicle, bumping along on the dusty two-tracks of the winter dry bushveld, I couldn't help but reflect on how far I had come since that first stay in the reserve.

So I resolved to blog on this page, a little about that journey........

I leave town again on Sunday – heading back to Karongwe, but I will have some time there to start sharing my journey with you, so watch this space:)

In the meantime here are some from photos from Karongwe – past and present.

On the Game Drive.........
2007 - Roland as "tracker"
On course we all took turns both driving and perching on the trackers seat. A good lesson in respecting your tracker and the danger you could easily put him or her in to.

2012 - an experienced professional doing the tracking


 Two male cheetahs on the reserve have been the subject of a predator research study for several years now. As they are "used to" humans one can approach them quite closely on foot......


2007 - snack & smoke break on the morning drive
2012 - sundowner time (at moonrise) on the evening drive

 The accommodation.......

2007 Eco-Training - home to Piera & I for 4 weeks
 On course us girls were lucky - there were only 5 of us to share the "girls" shower and loo, only 50 metres away, but it seemed more like 50 kilometres in the dead of the night.
There were 15 male students on course but they didn't seem to mind waiting a day or two for their turn in the shower........
2012 Shiduli Private Lodge - all to myself for a night or 2:)