Category Archives: Photography

When day has gone…

Nighttime in Africa is so special. That’s when the shadows deepen – not only in the bush, but in your mind as well. And you get visitors…

IMG_0134aThe spooky moon fills your mind, creating images you’d rather not endure.

IMG_3246Quick! Add wood to the fire…! Listen…the soft padding of approaching paws!

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Oh joy! It’s the resident badger, scouting for scraps. But…isn’t that another shadow moving behind it? Oh no…there are two of them!

108_0844A jackal and a brown hyena followed the badger in the hope of robbing him of supper!

Trip 2012 043And then you realise – the biggest of them all has been watching silently all along.

x23aWhen at last dawn releases you from the claws of darkness, you get the fire going for a mug of black coffee. Another day of adventure awaits…

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PS If you like Africa and her stories, you may want to have a look at Imagine: Africa..

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Endurance…the Africa Way

Africa poses many challenges to everything and everybody who makes it through every day.

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The hardy Welwitschia steadfastly ignores the arid conditions of the desert, surviving for hundreds of years on the dew it collects on its leaves.

IMG_2551Some trees didn’t make it, of course. This one, thousands of years old, survives in a petrified state. One cannot but help wondering about the birds and the animals it gave shelter to.

a3The San people did, fortunately, leave a record of the time when rhino’s were abundant – and respected.

IMG_2602And Mother Nature, not to be outdone, carved this map of Africa out of solid rock. Maybe it’ll still be there after mankind manages to wipe itself out.

IMG_3250What do we learn from this?

Well, Mother Nature has found ways to endure. Mankind, however, must still do so…

The Kalahari Biker Reflects

Servaas settles down in the large chair, sighs, and sips the ice-cold beer. He’s finally arrived in Calvinia, where he discovered – much to his surprise and joy – the Rolbos Guest House. Of course he took that as a sign and immediately stopped to enquire about a room for the night. The hospitality of his hosts was outstanding.

IMG_3500He remembers the shell of the old tortoise, and imagines how it must have been like when it was alive. That animal must have been quite old, must have seen so much…

nAnd then there was the memorable visit to Pella and all the date trees. Yes, that was quite something…

82Ce4SjOf course he’ll remember his visit to Doctor Patric in that rural clinic. That man really helped him a lot!

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Servaas sighs contently as he drains the last drops from his glass. The trip has changed his life, indeed…

P4010880Shall he ever – EVER – forget his visit to the nudist camp? He still blushes at the thought…

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Then there was Madame Esmeralda. If you look carefully, you’ll see both the old woman he met, and the young lady Servaas left there…

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And yes, He’d remember that shack where he helped to deliver a baby for a long time. Surely Nature will claim it back, now that the old woman and her daughter have been employed by Agnes?

***

Mrs Rootman finds the old man fast asleep in the comfortable chair.

“Shame,” she tells the maid, “old people drift off so easily. It must be boring to have so little to do when age catches up with you.”

Smiling gently, she drapes a wooly blanket over the sleeping figure.

 

Photo Challenge: Containers

Storage: that’s the key to survival in any remote area. Africa has lots of them – remote areas as well as strange ways of storing, preserving and transporting essential items.

Come see our village, the man at the camp said. We are a prosperous family, living not far from here. So I went and  I asked the old Himba woman permission to see her house. It is not mine, she said, but you are welcome.

335The hut contained a young mother and her baby. No, this photo wasn’t photoshopped. The red colour is real. I looked around  after greeting her and receiving a shy smile in return. See, she said, this is my house, my life. Look at all the things I have. I am a blessed woman, she said, holding the baby out to me.

37Then she proudly showed me her container with the aromatic herbs. Picking up a glowing ember with her fingers, she dropped in into the herbs so I may smell the scent of the veld, the aroma of Africa…

36And look, she said, I have a pail, a calabash and a funnel.

I looked. And I saw the funnel was made of wood and s strange bit of copper or brass. What is that? I asked.

The old woman heard the question and laughed. It used to contain a bullet, back in the days of the war, she murmured.  Now it pours the goat’s milk from the pail to the calabash38

I marvelled at that. These women have so little…and yet so much. The spent cartridge a soldier had thrown away, now served as an important component to the primitive funnel.

Oh, let me rephrase that… The word ‘primitive’ doesn’t belong here. Not in this society where the scrap of wartime now helps them survive. Maybe we should learn from them. We, in our large houses and with our many possessions and running water and electricity – we keep on making guns and shooting down aeroplanes. We are hamsters on silly little wheels, constantly wanting more. How primitive is that?

I walked out in the sunshine, past the kraal filled with goats and the little ‘hut’ for the chicken swinging gently in the breeze. It contains the eggs, keeping them away from vermin.39

My visit left me wondering whether the minds of these people contained more wisdom than I originally gave them credit for. Are we really sure that our way of life contains everything to make us as happy as they are? 40

Or should we admit that they have more reason to smile than we do? Shouldn’t we discard the trappings of luxury and sit in the sun more often while we contemplate the joys contained in a simpler life?

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Split-second Chameleon.

For this challenge, you have to take an early-morning walk in the Namib Desert. Look carefully for a little fellow that stays in trees in more forgiving surroundings. Here, he makes do with what he’s got: a desert with almost no vegetation. Be careful, for he’s a master at disguising himself.

IMG_2645Okay, you’ve found him. It’s still cold, so he’s turned black to absorb heat. He won’t do much. WAIT…be patient.

IMG_2648There, he’s warmed up, turned pink to ward off the heat, and on the hunt now. More patience, the desert is a big placeIMG_2649At last! He’s found breakfast. But…how long is that tongue?IMG_2651Pick him up carefully. Careful now! He’ll turn blackish again to show his discomfort. Work slowly…his bite is far worse than his bark…IMG_2652Now tempt him with a dead fly. Will he? Won’t he…?

IMG_2653Yessss! There you go. Action shot of a nice, long tongue. It took a few hours (well, it felt like that in the hot sun) but the split-second was worth it, wasn’t it?

Weakly Photo Challenge: The Unexpected Twist

What a wonderful theme – and Africa is always so willing to oblige.

It could be an address…

IMG_2914Or a railroad going nowhere:

IMG_2986Or even finding out the Bushmen used the twigs of these plants to be candles at night:

IMG_3245Or finding a stuffed leopard in the bar:

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Or even a tad more bizarre: a live, real, huge, hippo sleeping peacefully in the lounge of your lodge:113

 

Twists in Africa? Of course…they’re everywhere!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art.

The challenge: “Art” isn’t just paintings and sculptures, it can be anything in which we find beauty and meaning — even food. Show us a thing, place, or person that’s a work of art to you.

Of course this creates a problem when Africa is there to constantly remind you of her beauty. Her plants, trees, sunsets, creatures, people… Where do you start? So here’s a random selection of pictures. They represent memories from recent trips, each of which contributed to the stories on this blog. Which is the masterpiece of Nature’s Art? Your choice…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monuments in the Veld

Long before Diaz, Da Gama and Van Riebeeck set foot on Southern Africa soil, there were people here – The First People. And they left monuments in the form of petroglyphs to remind us of the delicate balance in Nature.

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The First People regarded the rhino with awe, and even then realised how important it is for later generations to respect the presence of these huge creatures in Nature.

Some animals are depicted as 'getting out of the rock', like this Eland. It s still trapped in the spirit world, waiting for the dream to become reality.

Some animals were depicted as ‘getting out of the rock’, like this Eland. It s still trapped in the spirit world, waiting for the dream to become reality.

They were great artists, leaving us wonderful pictures on their stone monuments.

They were great artists, leaving us wonderful pictures on their stone monuments.

Did they write us a letter in a language we don't understand? Or were they aware of...other things? Distant galaxies perhaps? Foreign visitors?

Did they write us a letter in a language we don’t understand? Or were they aware of…other things? Distant galaxies perhaps? Foreign visitors?

These stones now are scattered across the veld in the Northern Cape; a monument seldom visited and it’s powerful messages lost in translation.  Maybe one day, after the nuclear dust has settled and the last plastic bottle finally decayed, it’ll remain as a reminder of how Man once respected his surroundings…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections of the Cederberg

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Leisure

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

William Henry Davies
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