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 Post subject: DB & Hawk seek to paint with all the colours of the wind
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 11:00 am 
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You think I'm an ignorant savage
And you've been so many places
I guess it must be so
But still I cannot see
If the savage one is me
How can there be so much that you don't know?
You don't know ...

You think you own whatever land you land on
The Earth is just a dead thing you can claim
But I know every rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You'll learn things you never knew you never knew

Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned?
Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?

Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest
Come taste the sunsweet berries of the Earth
Come roll in all the riches all around you
And for once, never wonder what they're worth

The rainstorm and the river are my brothers
The heron and the otter are my friends
And we are all connected to each other
In a circle, in a hoop that never ends

How high will the sycamore grow?
If you cut it down, then you'll never know
And you'll never hear the wolf cry to the blue corn moon

For whether we are white or copper skinned
We need to sing with all the voices of the mountains
We need to paint with all the colors of the wind

You can own the Earth and still
All you'll own is Earth until
You can paint with all the colors of the wind

Verses from Colours Of The Wind (Lyrics Stephen Schwartz from the movie Pocahontas)


Two souls desperate to quieten the noise in their heads. A noise which comes with modern life.

It is time to return to nature, time to just be still. Time to gaze at the stars, to learn from the creatures and time to paint with all the colours of the wind.

We set off in a hours time ... off to spend eleven days in Kruger.

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Sawubona
Dalene


It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk seek to paint with all the colours of the wind
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 11:14 am 
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To let Nature paint the colours of the wind on the canvas of our souls

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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk seek to paint with all the colours of the wind
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 6:17 pm 
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Sunday, 07:19 – on the stoep of our cottage, Talamati

One of the great delights of belonging to these forums for me is to share our trips to the parks with like-hearted people. I remember the first trip we made as forum members, logging in each night with my pda to report was very meaningful to me.

I’d like to recaptured that – and at least share some as we go along. Being in the Park is a busy business which does not always leave much time over to send in live reports too.

Squeezing as extra day onto our trip here this time by being able to leave half a day earlier meant we could get to the Park half a day earlier, an extra night :D

When one arrives at Numbi gate, the gate, not reception a few 100m away, and sees two very playful rhino right next to the road, one can only know; this visit is going to be special!!

Yes – there was a point yesterday where we had seen more rhino than impala out in the park!!

Our night in our two bedded hut at Pretoriuskop was so special. I love the old world charm of that camp. It was cold and drizzling when we arrived. We set off to search for mgoddard to say hi, (doing two trips around the camping area in the rain to find her) meeting another YR, Delene D along the way

I loved the impala that reside in Pretoriuskop - they came by to say hello and welcome :D

Damp and rather travel weary we opted to treat ourselves to a veggie burger and chips at the restaurant – we sat outside sheltered from the rain, mellow on wine, watching the magical sparkling drops reflecting on the lawn – and boy, our burgers tasted delicious! We dropped into bed early.

After watching the day awaken with a cup (read mug) of coffee, we left Pretoriuskop and started the journey to Talamati.

We have only ever seen sable once before in our 17 years of trips to Kruger, so sighting one in the distance was a real treat. Leeupan was magic, a real Garden of Eden scene with a constant flow of animals to drink, and fantastic bird life, and a kill ... a fish eagle caught his lunch. And another treat in human form ... glmsmit :D

Two very shy honey badgers right next to the road close to camp rounded off yesterday perfectly.

This morning we beat the birds to the bird hide, and we enjoyed a good coffee while we watched the day awaken.

This is such a peaceful camp – the bird life and song something words could never convey. Down the riverbed is the most irritable and grumpy baboon troop we have ever heard! Clearly the juniors do not obey as the troop leader spent ages trying to call his troop to their tree for the night. This morning again – we can only try and image what the racket coming from that troop was all about. They have gone quiet now – not sure if any are still alive 

As I sit here and type this, a MIG is on secret agent business in a tree just next to our cottage. He is very serious about his mission to remain unseen by me (ha ha) and get to our rusks here on the table. I wish I could describe the expression on his face as he thinks he is hidden from view. But, I am the smarter primate, so MIG 007 is not going to have a rusk for breakfast :p

Time to pack up and set off on a slow, round about trip to Orpen!

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Dalene


It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk seek to paint with all the colours of the wind
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 7:14 pm 
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You are all so special and warm - thank you for all the well wishes for our trip, and your kind words.

We are now at Orpen (obviously) and right now a frog has just started up ....

Our drive here was lovely - we came to a waterhole which again I can only describe as a 'Garden of Eden' scene ... but maybe in winter. There was a huge herd of impala there, zebra, wildebeest, baboon and many birds and three rather thirsty bull ellies ... all in this dry, hot and dusty setting which can only be part of Kruger end of winter.

We missed the sable herd and 25 wild dogs everyone else seemed to get to see. But what the heck, we have seen so much wildlife, I do not feel cheated at all.

Oh ja ... and more rhino.

We stopped for lunch at a picnic site on the way here ... eating under a Jackalberry tree that the starlings and green pigeons were also having lunch in. Hawk was a bit .... 'uncomfy' I suppose is a good word, at the fact his lunch was peppered with the left overs of the birds above him as they discarded the seeds and fruit skins.

Booking in at Orpen we were advised to turn our fridge tonight because honey badgers are known to raid the fridges.

DB has a dilema ... turn fridge and miss honey badgers visit, or forget to turn fridge and sleep with one eye and ear open. But then again, what honey badger is going to go to all that exertion for a pack of veggie hot dog sausages, a half slab of cheese, no salt organic butter and soda water ....

Time to log off now - we have just had supper. A tin of baked beans mixed with a packed of precooked tastic rice. Hawk is getting spoilt!! Trying to make up for the 'extra' lunch he had today - hehe!

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Dalene


It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk seek to paint with all the colours of the wind
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:19 pm 
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Hi from Letaba. It is so peaceful and quiet here. Dark, with just the hushed sounds of human voices and the bats!

Sleeping peacefully last night as one can only do in Kruger, I suddenly heard a lion roar – right behind me :shock: There is a lion at the cam!!!! I hope the cammers are watching!!! I shot out of bed ... and looked at the waterhole, and there was a lion!?!?! I gabbled around in the darkness of the bungalow for the binocs, focused my still sleepy eyes on the waterhole and – oops, it was a bush ... no lion, just wishful thinking. 1am – back sleep.

Waiting for our coffee to brew in the still darkness just before dawn, we became aware of a scuttling around the camp close to us. The Orpen honey badger was on his rounds. He stopped by us, peered hard, had a good think and decided to move to the next bungalow. Next thing cups and plates went flying. One honey badger in deep trouble.

We set off for our next overnight camp, Letaba. A lovely drive, but not nearly as rewarding in game as the previous days.

Hawk is missing the crocs and the kingfishers. We yet have to see the latter, and only seen one junior croc in the Olifants.

Letaba is magic – and to add to it, a tusker in the riverbed right in front of the camp. Kristy will ID him for me once I have emailed her the pics. In the meantime I was so beside myself with this fantastic sighting, just about everyone on the path along the fence had a lesson on the tuskers of the park from me. Not sure if they wanted it or not 

I will leave Hawk to describe the colours of the sunset this evening.

We have a bat house right outside here – at sunset about a zillion bats left this little wooden enclosure. Golly, they must pack in there like sardines during the day. Then I suppose Captain Bat gives the command, and the troop drop out of the bat house as one, off on the night’s operation.

We have had our braai, and are ready to take a last walk for the day to gaze over the river bed into the darkness of the African night. With the moon waning, the stars are brilliantly bright and the bush so quiet and dark. Perfect for the dramas of the night ahead that are destined to be play out.

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Dalene


It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk seek to paint with all the colours of the wind
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:54 pm 
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(Hi all - wonky connection here, so will reply to posts here when home, by am reading them all, and thank you ALL for them.)

Olifants - Wednesday, 13:48

An early start was the order of the day yesterday - quick coffee, walking shoes on, and off to meet Jaques and Riana for our morning walk.

What a wondrous experience, with a few minutes of adrenalin pumping through our bodies when we came face to face with a bull ellie. Both Hawk and I left that experience so much more knowledgeable about ellies. (I also know that I can obey teh guide's commands as they leave their lips :P )

Being out of camp half an hour before the gates open and enjoying the sunrise over the Letaba, and then the bushveld on foot as the day warmed, left both of us filled with deep gratitude for the experience.

A visit to Letaba always has to include lunch on the veranda savouring one of my favourite views in Kruger. After which we took a drive to another favourite place of mine in Kruger – along the S62 – where in the greenness of one of the tributaries of the river, waterbuck, impala, buffalo and baboon enjoyed the coolness.

I am so thankful that I was able to experience a late afternoon drive along the Letaba river yesterday where everything was just perfect – the day was hot and still with a deep blue sky. The river; smooth, a mirror of the life around it. The game so peaceful as they grazed.
There was no need to wish or want for ‘more’ – no stresses, no arguments or egos, just harmony.

Not only was the sky twinkling with a trillion stars last night, so were the reeds in the river bed – with nearly as many fireflies.

Early coffee this morning was savoured watching the day awaken over the river bed. It was very overcast. We packed up and left for Olifants.

The area around Letaba is quietly awaiting the summer rains. Winter has left it very dry and bland in foliage. Even the birds I expected in the camp were missing – spring still needs to arrive at Letaba.

Being blessed with a great sighting in Kruger is just that, a blessing. As glmsmit said to me, a few seconds makes all the difference and it is really a case of being at the right place at the right time.

We pulled up to the view point on the road from Letaba just outside Olifants and there were about six folk intently looking out across the river through their binocs. I remarked something special must be happening for everyone’s attention to be so focused – yes, a lady replied, there is a lioness crouching and stalking those impala.

I raised my little video cam just as she made a very 'relaxed' attempt to take down an impala. Impala scattered and the lioness ended up without lunch instead opting for a long drink in the river – all this in the most beautiful light. Ellies crossed the river a little way down, a huge croc swam by and a klipspinger stood motionless, watching from his vantage point above the river.

A different view of Kruger awaited us when we parked on the Balule bridge a couple of hours ago. We had clear sight of the fish in the pools in the river, the dragon flies, the waders, a rock monitor and vultures circling above.

Thanks to a really efficient reservations clerk here – I am typing this from our hut’s stoep, which has a lovely view out over the river and into hot dry Kruger.

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Dalene


It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk seek to paint with all the colours of the wind
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:49 pm 
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I had just logged off yesterday and was packing out in our bungalow when we had a silent visitor – a MIG. He opened the fridge door and helped himself, not to the tomato or butter or bread, nooooo ... boring food that, but to a chocolate! A fussy eater to boot! And we are breeding a generation of junk food loving monkeys!

This morning was another very early start – quick coffee and into our walking boots and off for another morning walk This time from just past Balule along the Olifants river.

As we walked under the canopy of the silent and wise old trees, I could feel the stresses ebb right out of my body.

Again, a hot, still day with a cloudless sky. I do hope the fire raging north east of Olifants dies now the wind has dropped.

As always, Sweni birdhide kept both of us enthralled with all the activity there. A herd of elephant enjoyed a swin for about an hour, splashing and diving and playing together. Zebra, impala, waterbuck and bushbuck came to drink. The yellow billed storks took a bath (must say a wet stork is not nearly as handsome as a dry one!). Hippos, crocs and many birds posed for pics in the great light.

A pride of lion, with cubs, on the S100 ended off the day’s sightings perfectly. Although we encountered someone who must be entering the 2009 Darwin Awards at the lions ... but he sped off after he had taken one look at the expression on my face; and I reported him as soon as we got to Satara so the ranger has his details and is on the lookout for him.

I love Satara camp. Late afternoon we were entertained by the local MIGs and their antics in the bins and trying to raid cottages here.

A walk around camp gave us a glimpse of the sleepiest bushbaby. She was so relaxed curled up in the fork of a tree totally oblivious to the excited humans below. We said good afternoon to the scops owl, took a walk to look at the cam, enjoyed a beautiful Satara sunset followed by an exchange of stories with the prings family.

Right now the camp is quiet with only the bats chatting or calling or pinging or whatever it is bats do, and the scops owls calling out to each other. The night is hot and very still. Braai fires glowing, stars bright. A perfect night in Kruger.

How blessed I was today – from the banks of the Olifants, so far away from the plastic world, I watch the sun rise over this beloved wilderness; and this evening, I stood at the western fence of Satara camp and watched the sun sink on another perfect day.

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Dalene


It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk seek to paint with all the colours of the wind
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 8:21 pm 
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Yip - MIG = Men in Grey (monkeys) A term Hawk has just come up with so I am not surprised it confused :D And the Darwin Awards are given to people who die doing really stupid things ... like running up to lion prides with cubs :doh:

Yesterday the wind decided Kruger needed time to cool from the dry heat of the past few days. The winds brought cloud cover and relief – but no rain. Not yet, the time for rain is yet to come.

For us, the S100 is the ‘lion road’. The pride that contained themselves from nibbling on the brainless wonder who ran up to them the day before (the guy trying for the Darwin Award), had made a kill and decided to keep all who believed in the S100 happy by laying themselves out in good view. Two couples even mating from time to time.

Sundowners at the waterhole not far from camp (its obvious I don’t know the names of waterholes or roads ;) ) gave us time with a breeding herd of ellies and the cutesiest dwarf mongoose family.

These guys obviously needed to get from the clump of bushes to their burrow without being spotted and eaten by whomever would snack on them. One by one, and there were many of them, they made a dash for the burrow over about 4m. Each would look left, right and again, then run like crazy just about flying through the air until they reached the others at the burrow door. I could hear them calling – ‘coast is clear RUUUUUN!!!’ to each other.

Early to a warm bed was the only escape from the wind that had now become really cold.

A later start today and off down to Croc Bridge. As the day grew, the clouds broke up and moved apart making for a spectacular sky.

A herd of 19 sable somewhere close to Skukuza was a trip highlight for us. As we drew up to this bridge we saw a bit of a traffic jam ... ‘’leopard, we both knowing nodded to each other. Can you imagine the excitement when instead there was this sable herd up the valley?

Next traffic jam .... we nodded to each other, ‘obviously lion’ .. but no ... turns out, a leopard stalking impala. Ok – I agree on the impala part, but the leopard? No one else had seen it except one man who was very sincere that there was a leopard out there. I checked the direction of the wind, the behaviour of the impala ... maybe he was right. But no one else had seen the leopard – or saw it in fact as we later discovered talking to others who had done the same route – so it was time to move on.

Then – oh horror of horrors. A JEEP JOCKEY stopped in front of us, jumped out his truck, swaggered over to his pal in another car, chatted to him ... my camera was clicking away like crazy. Say your final prayers JJ I said to myself. I am reporting you!!! He then proceeded to crawl under the other car which was driven by an elderly man, and pulled out a large dry branch ... BIG OOPs here ... there was a SANP logo on the man’s shoulders and OSV. {Cheesy grin – photos deleted}

An impromptu mini meet at Nkulu with RayK and prings family was next. Whakkie – where were you??? AND WHERE WAS MY VEGGIE PIE?????

I now know how the MIGs feel when they arrive in camp ... the minute prings saw me arrive at the picnic spot I heard him say “uh oh ... here comes trouble” :shock:

The drive to Croc Bridge was awesome – the sky filled with fluffy clouds, the light rich, herds all about – rhino no. 19 for us ... neighbour saw 14 in 2 hours ....

And so, good night from the banks of the Croc River – sleep tight all, we are going to!

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Dalene


It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk seek to paint with all the colours of the wind
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:57 am 
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We were up and out of camp very early the next day, and meandered along the river road alongside the Croc River making out way up to the Byamiti Weir. This was such a scenic drive, with animals all along the way.

The afternoon was spend in camp trying to get pics of the birds - and I heard a cuckoo!

I love Croc Bridge camp - I love the trees, and the atmosphere in the camp.

Hearts starting to get heavy, we left Croc Bridge the next morning for our last night in the Park at Lower Sabie.

Sunset Dam is a favourite, particularly for Hawk - and did not disappoint, with a huge pod of hippos (it is a pod?) sunning themselves, a really large herd of ellies passing by and the usual bird life, impala baboon etc that hang around.

We decided to take a drive on the 'other side' of the river, and a very excited lady stopped us and told us that there were wild dogs not far off - yipee .... off we drove, holding our breaths they'd still be there by the time we reached the spot - and yes they were!!! All resting in the shade of a tree.

After watching the sun drop behind Sunset Dam, we sat on a bench at the fence and watched night creep up - our last night in Kruger.

Early up again on the day of departure, into our walking boots and off on a morning walk. It was a very cloudy and windy morning.

Driving out to the walking area, Irving stopped to tell us more about the rhino alongside the road .... and while he was talking, one of the other walkers glanced back and saw impala run across the road behind the truck. He said he was sure a lion got an impala. I looked around, and could see dust kick up and that a kill was happening. The guides reversed the truck a little way, and there in good view, was a cheetah with her jaws over an impala ewe's jaws. Later I will give more detail. The impala tried twice to escape. But the cheetah won the battle.

She waited until the impala had died, spent a good while checking the area was safe and no other predators were creeping up on her, gave a single call, and out of the bush some metres back, five of the dearest, cutest little cubs came bounding up to their mom.

What an awesome sighting - what a lesson in life.

The walk was interesting, different and fun. We walked a burnt area this time, got really close to a rhino without it knowing we were there and again learnt more of the bush.

Driving back to camp, passing the cheetah kill, vultures were cleaning up. A few hundred metres further on, two magnificent male cheetah were laying on the side of the road.

What an ending to a truly wonderful visit to the bush.

It was time to start the 1400km drive home.

And so, here I sit, back at home with loads of pics and video footage to help keep the memories alive. As soon as we have sorted them, will share with you all.

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Dalene


It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk seek to paint with all the colours of the wind
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 5:39 pm 
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A battle of wits – Hawk vs the MIGS and HBs

I have a philosophy that, particularly when we enter a National Park, we are the visitors – the aliens. If there is a bat in our bungalow, or ants on the table, or visiting creatures after our food; leave them be. This is their space, their home. We, humans, upset the balance in nature in the first place and in this one area on earth, let all creatures be and live and let live.

SO has somewhat less patience. He loves all creatures, but seems to give them more credit as far as IQ levels go than they deserve. Hawk feels these creatures know they are messing in ‘our little section’, and should go out to the bush where they belong. :roll:

Each day, Hawk pitted his wits against the light-fingered monkeys and at night, against the thieving honey badgers. All he needed to hear from a neighbour at Satara was that the honey badgers at Orpen know to pull the fridges from the wall by the grill on the back, even pulling the plug out the wall as a result, and then raiding the fridge! The memory of our chocolate thieve was also far too fresh in his mind.

And so, the battle was on.

Opening the fridge was a major mission ... the chairs had to be taken off the table, and from in front of the table, then the table moved, the fridge turned around ... by then I was no longer thirsty or hungry :|

When we left for our drives, or went to bed for the night, the veranda of our bungalows looked like we were having a junk yard sale ... with furniture piled up and spilling over in front of the fridge. :wall:

We were not raided. Not once.

I did feel sorry for the occupants of a bungalow two doors up from ours at Satara ... they had left their groceries in packets ontop of the fridge! At least their firelighters were left alone. :lol:

The Satara Men in Grey - an action packed feature.

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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk seek to paint with all the colours of the wind
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:27 pm 
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Bushveld Reflections Part One

Isnt it a great experience to go walking out in the bush before sunrise. Away from the roads, the cars, and tarmac. To see the amazingly endless signs and indications of the life of the bushveld civilization. Thousands of tracks and spoor, signs that hippo, giraffe, elephant, kudu, leopard, lion, a snake, have passed by, a few guinea fowl feathers; leftovers from someone's meal, a spider web, a burrow deep in the earth; someone's home, nests in trees, and so many more. The list goes on and on.

And then in the crisp fresh morning air, one of the highlights of the day. The sun with its palette of brilliant colours painting the morning sky, clouds tinged with gold, the sky watermelon pink and turquoise.

Add to this the energy and vibrancy of the birds greeting the day. From the raucous screeching of the Francolins and Hadedas, the mysterious voodoo like Coucal, to the beautiful liquid sound of the Oriole, and we feel a sense of peace and purpose begin to flood through our souls.

But why is this so meaningful to us? Why is the frantic shrieking of the francolin's wakeup call a welcome sound compared to the awful din of an alarm clock, or one of those dreadful little cellphone alarm tunes. Why is waking in the middle of the night while camping a pleasurable experience. To lie awake listening for the call of a jackal, that almost agonised roar of a distant lion, or the commanding bark of a baboon calling the troop to order, so enjoyable, compared to the restless frustration of sleeplessness so many of us experience in our "civilization".

Is it perhaps because, in spite of our modern hi-tech world we long for a simpler lifestyle. Are we overwhelmed by the increasing difficulties of securing our place in a society drowning in its own waste, trapped in an endless loop of competition and materialism, requiring never ending manufacture and disposal to fuel the growth and development of the Earth's burgeoning population. Mankind's ingenuity and intelligence seems to be squandered on an unstoppable search for more of everything. More comfort and convenience, entertainment, security and power. This is our "civilization".

Does it sound odd to also call the bushveld community "civilization". Whatever we call it, it is a highly developed complex system that works incredibly well. I'm not very knowledgeable bushveld or conservation wise, but I am intrigued by the complexity and yet at the same time the seemingly simplicity of Nature's systems. Perhaps the most noticeable thing is the interdependence of everything, from the biggest to the smallest, everything has a purpose. Nothing is wasted, everything is returned to the earth.

An animal dies or is killed, and after the predator has finished with it, the undertakers: vultures, jackals and hyenea move in and start the cleaning up process, with the little creatures finally mopping up the rest. The few large bones which are left eventually weather and also returned to the earth. The animal droppings quickly decay, returning nutrients to the soil.

Trees grow old and die, and in death provide homes for myriads of tiny creatures and organisms. The skies bring lightning to kindle the flames that burn the old, and make way for new growth. The rains fall, washing the rivers clean and nourishing the new life.

There are no rotting waste dumps, no sewerage farms. There is no pollution. No desire to have more than is needed. It is clean, it is beautiful and it is self sustaining. But it can be harsh and cruel. There is no sentimentality; only the fittest and strongest survive. Death comes suddenly in the bushveld and it is not always swift and clean, but it is never for sport or for revenge. It is for survival or defence only.

We label the inhabitants of the bushveld dumb animals who appear to live only by instinct or fixed programming, altered only by a process of evolution. We see ourselves as the superior, intelligent species who think and reason and are in control of our destiny, but our vast technical skill and knowledge does little to satisfy our longing for peace and purpose. Instead our inner restlessness draws us back again and again to the beauty and marvels of Nature.

There is no Spirit in the cold hard world of mechanical and electronic wizardry that we are filling our lives with. To help us find peace we need to return to the deep well of Nature.

Let us be thankful for the privilege of being able to do this, and continue to protect these sacred areas that we can return to for restoration lest we condemn future generations to lives fraught with unexplained yearnings to re-connect with some unidentifiable thing that no longer exists.

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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk seek to paint with all the colours of the wind
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:18 pm 
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The sunshine and fresh air does him good it seems :P Hawk - wonderful stuff :clap:



Sweni bird hide is a fav of Hawk and mine ... we always find life there, and most trips to Kruger are planned around finding some time to spend there. We do not always find water there ... but there is always some life around. This trip, we struck gold.

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This Yellow Billed Stork must have had a date that evening ... he spent ages and ages titivating. I do hope he dried thoroughly before going courting as he really did not look his best when wet!
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I whole herd of ellies came to have a swim and cool off - this chap kept apart from the others though. He seemed to go for a nice rest in the mud under a tree rather ... that after an age splashing around in the mud!
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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk seek to paint with all the colours of the wind
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 5:40 pm 
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Thank you all for reading our trip report, and for your very kind comments. It helps remind me just how important it is to receive comments when one posts a TR.

So, as a mod, a huge thank you to all those of you who take the time to let folk of this forum know how much you enjoyed and appreciated reading their report. I am sure this encouragement goes along way to make the Travel Tales one of the most popular and busy forums here!

Delene D - I am sorry I kept you from your cooking :redface: but it was wonderful to meet you! We are longing to hear about your wonderful, and long, trip to Kruger!



Today I feel like telling you all about the Cheetah kill.


Our once in a lifetime experience
I cannot work out why so many folk want to see a kill. TV documentaries seem to focus so much on this, as do many visitors to the Park - to the point at times they forget common decency in their excitement!

As mentioned earlier, on our last morning in the park we were booked for a morning walk at Lower Sabie. When we arrived at the meet point I was thrilled to see that Martie would be taking us with ranger (what does she call him?) man, Irving.

Driving towards the area we were going to walk in, on a chilly, really windy and cloudy morning, we stopped to learn more about white rhino. While the lesson from Irving was in progress another walker spotted something happening behind the truck. Impala had just scattered and run across the road. I could see dust kick up, and agreed, he had seen 'something!'

What amazed me about witnessing what we did during the time we spent at the kill (only vehicle as this was before gate opening time at 05:40); was firstly how hard cheetah mom had to work to kill the impala. This now after she had stalked and brought the animal down. Once the prey was dead, she checked the area around very carefully, over and over, and tried to move the impala to closer to where the cubs came from.

It was only after we were home and I watched the shaky video footage I managed to record, did I hear her call her cubs. One sharp call - nothing more.

I cannot describe the feeling when these little balls of spotted fluff came bounding up across the burnt veld to their mom and their meal.

Mom left the kill entirely to the cubs. She stood look out all the time. After a while she went and lay down, still keeping a watchful eye out for other predators who could steal the meal, and kill her cubs.

She must have been hungry too - yet her cubs needed to be fed first. This really touched me.

Another aspect that filled me with wonder was that until the cubs were called, there was no sight nor sign of them. How did they know to stay hidden and wait until called.

We know that the kill was taken from her by two male cheetah - those who came by after saw this, and when we drove past the spot on our return from the walk, the vultures were already there. I wonder if the cheetah mom got anything to eat.

When we go on a walk, we leave the big camera stuff behind, so the pics here were taken with 70mm lens. The video footage was taken with my little handy cam .... I leave the high quality stuff to Hawk.

Pic and video of poor quality, but at least we were blessed to get pics of a truly once in a lifetime experience.

Video of cheetah kill

Video of cubs

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It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk seek to paint with all the colours of the wind
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 6:05 pm 
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Apparently it is not unusual for a cheetah to have as many as five cubs, but it is whether they will make adulthood. It is hard work for her to protect and feed all of them.

They are jolly good little cubs too - maybe that is why she has five of about four months old, because they are smart cubs and listen to their mom.

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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk seek to paint with all the colours of the wind
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 8:38 pm 
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Thanks guys for the kind words.

Salamda wrote:
But I sometimes wonder if there is some deep genetic linkage between us and this cradle of humankind that says 'you're home, it's fine, these are the sounds of your environment' and so our limbic centres respond by relaxing us; releasing the pleasure we feel. But I also think we have to be, in some way, sensitised to this type of environment first before we experience this response because I know people to whom the bush, the silence, the presence of wild animals is, sadly, an anathema.


Salamanda you are right it doesnt move everyone. I have always lived on the coast and the sea always did it for me. I have to admit my first trip to KNP about 18 years ago didnt do a lot for me. DB was hooked from that very first time, but it took a few more visits for me to get "sensitised" to the bush.

Perhaps you are right and it is a physiological thing; brain chemicals being released at the peace brought on by returning "home". I love the thought of the "non physical body" coming to the fore, but now I'm treading on dangerous ground.

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