South Africa - Spring 2006 travel blog

the zebra twins

what a face

campground monkey

emptying the garbage

Cape Buffalo

the trumpeter

you talkin' to us?

standing tall

the McDonald's logo on my keister

I vant to be alone


As we ate breakfast hordes of monkeys swept through the campground looking for breakfast themselves. One seemed to enjoy my muffin wrappers. They had neatly picked through our dinner garbage, removing all the edibles and leaving the paper and plastic behind. Some campgrounds we have been in have garbage cans with hard-to-remove lids, but they seem to have given up here.

We spent the day touring Hluhluwe Game Preserve with a professional driver in an open air vehicle. Hluhluwe (pronounced shush - louie) is the oldest game reserve in Africa, having been established in 1895. Animals are plentiful here thanks to the vigilance of the game wardens who patrol for poachers on foot, on horseback, and by plane. Over the years animals from here have been used to repopulate parks in other parts of Africa. The reserve was well covered with 200 kilometers of paved and gravel roads and we wondered if we could have found all the animals we saw today without our driver's help. The tradeoff was that we were in a vehicle with eight other people and had to take photos around one another and were not in charge of when it was time to move on. But it was a good opportunity for Ken to shoot to his heart's content without worrying about what side of the road he was on.

Ten pairs of eyes had to be better than two. It was challenging to see some animals since the brush was quite dense. We could see a rhino nearby, but he was hard to photograph until he burst through the bushes and strolled down the road ahead of us. As we clicked away, I tried not to think about the fact that he was less than fifteen feet away from us. A giraffe also put on an interesting show, chomping away on a large piece of bone. Our guide explained that the vegetable diet, leaves these critters short of calcium and they gnaw on bones the same way dogs do. I was also surprised by the variety of zebra here, who were not pure black and white as the ones we had seen previously, but had a definite brownish cast. We also saw some animals I had never heard of such as a large bird who roams the bush on foot looking for snakes to eat. When he finds one, he kicks it to death so fast, naturalists had to use slow motion photography to figure out what was happening. Cape buffalo and warthogs as well as many antelope and deer, made this park a real Garden of Eden.

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