Monday, May 28, 2012


Our guide and spotter..note rifle in green case..
There was a slingshot too, in case we encountered Goliath

Safari? Or should I say wild rides in a Toyota Land Cruiser though the Bush Veldt of the Thornybush Preserve? No land untouched by the hand of man..but enticing and thrilling, none the less.


Why it is the "Thornybush" Preserve..Acacia genus

The mission of the guide and spotter was for us tourists to see as many animals as possible..and so we made our break neck way..Scenery shots, unless otherwise noted were taken with a Coolpix whilst hanging out of a moving vehicle..


Elephants were ubiquitous, and I would say we spent the most time viewing them..
Scenery shot..

Grasses were of major importance and
fed most of the animals we saw

Elephants and Impala taken from Simbambili Lodge deck

Closer look at Impala
Lascaux Cave painting..

We stop now for a bird. Birding was not on the menu, but our guide was a self-professed "twitcher" so would occasionally slow down for birds..of which there were many..birding in Africa is  now on my bucket list..

Ground Horbill not on the ground. Endangered
Looking for birds?
I feel pretty
Leaving now..
We pause for a Gray Curve Bill..plentiful
And a Zebra

Who do the Kudu that you do so well? (with Egyptian Goose)
The Happy Hippo..munched its way across the field
in front of the main lodge

While a Black Headed Oriole enjoyed a snack..

Hippos enjoying a swim..

Two-fer..Mammal & bird. Cape Buffalo and Ox Pecker,
a commensal tick eater.
The birds are also said to warn the buffalo of danger
There was a whole herd of the buffalo crossing the road..we watched for quite awhile, the white under the eyes is from the ears flapping off insects.

Lilac-Breasted Roller

Crested Francolin
Rhino poaching for the "magic" horn is a serious problem

The animals were surprisingly nonchalant about the Land Cruisers..they do not see them as a threat & the diesel smells mask the human odors..They would react differently if we stood up, or walked we had to remain seated at all times..

Here kitty kitty..that is a land cruiser tire behind her..

The land cruisers really do..when the guide wanted to we ran down the "bush", small trees included..I had mixed feelings about that..

But that is how we sat next to the same Leopard
 who lay down next to the cruiser & fell asleep.
Yes, those spots belong to a pair of Cheetahs. We were very far away.
 It was the first time Cheetahs had been spotted in seven months.
There were two "game drives" every day. In the morning we stopped midway for coffee, in the evening at sunset for wine.

The only sunset where I was not flying along in the cruiser.
Before sips of wine..
 After sunset the spotter literally swept the "bush" with a spotlight to see what we could find.

You woke me up!

We saw Lions only at night, and I preferred the moodiness of this non-flash picture, even if poorly exposed..


Who tells a finer tale than any of us. Silence does ~Isac Dinesen (Out of Africa)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cape Peninsula in One Day

Cape Peninsula is a rocky peninsula that juts out into the the Atlantic Ocean. Cape Town, South Africa and Table Mountain are on the northern end of the peninsula..At its southern end is the Cape of Good Hope, the most south western point on the continent of Africa..The Cape of Good Hope, formerly the Cape of Storms was named for the hope engendered by opening up an eastern route to India. 

Cape Town & Table Mountain with "Table Cloth"
Best view I got, as weather quickly closed in.

Satellite image of Cape Peninsula
courtesy of Wikipedia
How was I to see this peninsula? Drive myself on winding roads on the left-hand a standard tour in a minivan and not be able to stop for pictures when I wanted to, no, not that either. With luck I found James Gradwell, a South African native who guides personal photo tours..Voila! Perfect! 

James Gradwell, photo guide extraordinaire

We drove along the western coast & False Bay.. .and stopped at three village "suburbs" of Cape Town.  False Bay is a true bay, but not Table Bay, and sailors sometimes got confused.

The beach huts at Muizenberg..everybody photographs these,
you've probably seen them before

I would have liked to stay awhile..

Next stop Kalk Bay, a fishing village

Where the Eared Seals lounge in wait for fish scraps

On to Simontown and Boulder Beach, famous for its colony of Jackass Penguins.The first area we stopped at is where most view the penguins..

I am not a jackass, I just bray like a donkey
..and my eyes are closed
It's beautiful where I live..

I have lots of friends..

Keeping an egg warm
From the main beach, we walked to Boulder Beach...

Spying Rock Hyrax along the way
..thanks to Jame's keen eye

You can see why it's called Boulder Beach

Time to say goodbye

We had been racing the weather all day, tho' the blue skies don't make it seem that way, and after lunch the clouds were closing in..Time to head to the Cape of Good Hope

We stop for Dolphins! Those are Cormorants on the rock

And beautiful views, 'Dolphin Rock' in the far distance

We finally reached the Cape Point portion of Table Mountain National Park, a wild and rocky promontory covered with endemic Cape Fynbos, or native heath/shrub land. It is home to wildlife such as Baboons, Ostriches and Zebra. I saw Ostriches, but did not get a clear picture..

Why did the baboon cross the road?

To eat some heather
Heading off for the evening
The day was ending, and Cape Point was fogged in, so rather than continue to the very point, James and I opted to stop at the Cape of Good Hope & then take cloudy sunset pictures of the wild and rocky coast. 

I practiced a technique James had taught me
and took my first "silky water" shots.

A beautiful end to an exhilarating day.
Look in the far left corner, to see James at work

The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly..and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing ~ Omar Khayyam-Rubaiyat