This African buffalo is calm, content, almost insouciant in the afternoon sun, by the water, snuffling in the deep mud for whatever it is that buffaloes snuffle for. Tough as nails, too, these animals – no easy prey for a predator.
The African wild dog doesn’t always get a good press – it hunts its prey in packs, tirelessly chasing until the animal stumbles in exhaustion, and has the somewhat repulsive reputation of ripping it to shreds, even whilst its victim is still alive. The wild dog moreover has the fearsome jaw, and sharklike rank of serried white teeth, that nightmares conjure. Yet it is also beautiful, social, intelligent – and endangered. These images, a mix of black and white and colour, convey, I would like to think, something of the quite profound ambivalence – fear, revulsion, admiration – I felt […]
It is hard to describe our experience at the Madikwe Game Reserve up near Botswana – Rob and I have been on many other game-viewing trips, in the Kruger Park, the Pilanesberg, Marakele, the St Lucia Wetlands and more, but never anything like this. Two examples will suffice, at least for now. On one of the afternoons when we did not go on a game drive, we were entertained for hours at the waterhole right in front of our (unfenced) lodge at Mooifontein, by buffalo, giraffe, impala, kudu and – most thrilling of all – a standoff between a rhino […]
So this is what you do when you are about to head off to Madikwe, the private game reserve close to the Botswana border where every year your grown-up daughter and son-in-law and their friends go to play: you spend the morning before departure finishing your shopping; packing; buying booze; the afternoon checking your bins (binoculars), cameras, lenses, batteries and assorted other gear; and then in the evening heating through the confit duck legs you have bought at Woolies, gingerly opening and carefully decanting the 2006 Meerlust Rubicon you have kept perfectly cellared for over a decade (for those of […]
Here are two more images – handheld, with the Nikon 70-300mm, of the Rosy-Faced Lovebirds in the trees outside our yard. The previous image, in my last post, was taken with the Nikon 200-500m lens I have just purchased, using a monopod, and I have to say I am struck, on closer examination, by the superior quality of the bigger lens – its brightness and contrast, as well as its sharpness, which would have been better of course if I hadn’t been so lazy and had set it up on a tripod. Still, this is just practice and experimentation, until […]
This business of being on my own, here in Johannesburg, is for the birds I think. Fortunately Rob will be winging (eish, that is crushingly bad!) her way back to South Africa from Detroit, via Toronto and London later this week, and I will be picking her up at the airport on Thursday morning. Not a moment too soon, I say. But staying behind, after I returned two weeks ago, has meant she was able to attend her nephew Kevin’s funeral in Dearborn yesterday, and reconnect with her family, something hugely important to her, especially at a time like this. […]
Well, I am back in SA, after an all-too-brief visit to the UK and Canada. Rob isn’t. Instead she is in the US, visiting family, and still in the process of sorting out our house in Toronto, damaged in last month’s ice-storm, and dealing with the very sad loss of her nephew, Kevin. It has been a strange kind of trip, in a way – lovely to see old friends (Mike, down in Kent, and the potluck gang on our visit to Toronto), my son and my daughter and their wonderful partners in London UK and Woodbridge, Ontario; wonderful just […]
Rob is in Toronto, squaring up to face the damage to our house from the recent ice-storm; I leave tonight for London, to spend a weekend with Jonathan and Hayley and the impish Gabriel, before heading down to Kent to spend Monday night with Mike Hanson. Tuesday, I fly out from Heathrow to join Rob in Canada. All of which means that normal blog service will be disrupted. To leave you not entirely bereft over the next fortnight, here are some photos of Tom Tjasink – hands, feet, smiles and bums.