Monday, June 30, 2008

As common as an....

...Impala! When we first landed in Kruger National park in South Africa there was a short drive from the airstrip (OK, some mowed grass) to the camp. On the way we say some impala, baboons, and kudu. Our guide assured us that we would see MANY more impala (impalae?!?!) on our trip and wow was he correct. As common as an impala is a phrase used down there for good reason. These grazers are everywhere and we saw them in all of the parks that we visited. They are the main course for many a predator but don't usually care about the Land Rovers so we often got very close to them. Being unconcerned with the jeeps did make them easy to picture (see below) but one of the most impressive things about them is to see them run and jump whch is a little harder to get on film if they don't run away from you :) A couple of times something else spooked them (in fact, that is how we spotted the lionesses in Hwange but more on that in a later post) and my new camera made itself useful--it is almost instantly on and there is only a fraction of a second delay to focus usually so I was able to get this shot. In truth, they are capable of jumping 4 meters int he air--clean over the land Rover if they wanted though we did not get to see that. They are really beautiful while running and their leaps are incredibly graceful. I have added another jumping shot below as well as a group shot. These were taken in Chobe National Park in Botswana:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Waterfall rainbow goodness

(Note: I couldn't decide which of these I liked best--so you get to vote in the comments--let me know!)

Victoria Falls!!!! It really is amazing. It is an odd type of waterfall in that instead of falling off of a cliff it falls into a crevasse. So, instead of seeing the falls from the bottom like you are used to, you stand across from it, at the same height as the top of the falls! It is pretty hard to see the whole thing as the rift fills up mist. The native name for the falls, in fact, is Mosi-oa-Tunya which means the Smoke that Thunders. You can see it from a long ways away (the land around there is VERY flat) and it really does thunder! There is enough mist that on the opposite side form the falls (where you view it from) it is actually a very small rainforest! To give you an idea of just how wet it is, check out Charles, our guide waiting for Cathy and me as we walked out to Danger Point.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mom's Favorite

June 5 and a sunset cruise on the Kwando river in Namibia (who ever thought I would be in Namibia some day?!?!) and we ran into another of my mom's favorite animals! OK, that may be a bit of a sarcastic exaggeration :) This guy was a BIG one, estimated to be in the 5ish meter range. We were on a boat and so safe as long as none of us hopped out to say hi! His full picture is below, but I liked the textures of the ridges along his back and I think that they made for an interesting picture. We ran into many a crocadile thoughout the trip of a variety of sizes. I think that this guy may be the winner for largest.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Heffalumps and Woozles

At sunset on June 1 were along the Chobe river in Botswana. There was a veritable plethora of animals that came down for one last drink before nightfall including elephant, baboons, impala, and mongooses. We hung around at the water's edge for quite some time and I got many, many pictures including some really cute ones of the baboons that will be coming soon. This elephant was on his own, but we were about 30 yards away so I was able to get some nice close-ups. Here he is in full profile!

Friday, June 20, 2008


Time for a birdie today! I am not usually a big birder, though I do really enjoy having a feeder in my yard and seeing what comes by. While in Africa I was amazed at all of the gorgeous birds and was happy to see, and photograph, them along with the big game. My favorites were probably the lilac-breasted roller seen here, any of the bee eaters, and the plover though the darter and the fish eagles were favorites too. You'll have to wait a few days to see the other though :) If you click on the picture above you can really see the wonderful colors of this bird!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wow. Just plain Wow

Near the end of the trip we were out on a game drive out in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe at sunset and stopped by a watering hole with lots of buffalo, guinea hens, and even three giraffes. However, it was the sunset that stole the show that night. This is just one of many fantasmigorical sunset pictures I got on the trip--I am sure that I will share many more over the coming months.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What is black and white and re(a)d all over?!?!?

Of to Namibia for today's picture. I think you can all identify the animal in today's shot--if not, then you need to eat more animal crackers. These three guys lined up for their group portrait very conveniently when were in Namibia. They were grazing in and amongst many a wildebeest (otherwise known as Gnu's) and were very cooperative to help out with the picture :) I love the fact that their mains are colored too!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Really Big Putty Tat!!!

Hello! Well, I just got back from three weeks in Africa on Safari in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Needless to say the experience was INCREDIBLE and I took just a few pictures! I will be posting several of them here over the next little while but it is going to take me some time to go through the 3000-4000 that I brought home. I promise not to post them all :)
On our last day in Africa we were in Victoria Falls and there were several options for activities--in honor of my parent's 43rd wedding anniversary my sister and I took the family on a lion walk, an elephant safari, and a sunset cruise on the Zambezi just above the falls. For the lion walk we walked about a kilometer through a private game reserve accompanied by three really darned cute 14 month old lions. In the middle of the walk they had the lions lie down and we each got to pet them. Yes, I actually got to pet a lion!! He was actually pretty soft and cuddly--more so given that he didn't show me his claws! His main was a bit rougher, but wow, I pet a lion! was actually 7230 picts

Monday, June 9, 2008

Machu Picchu Goodness

A small detail from Machu Picchu that has always amazed me. Notice no mortar. No modern tools. Many hundreds of years and they still fit perfect. Wow!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Just Plain Cute!!!

Need I say more?!?! This little mini horse was living on a farm near Tienhoven in the Netherlands. Most cute!