Archive for the 'Dune 45' Category


Landscapes of Africa – Best Photos

Nothing is as evocative of Africa as the  landscape: the physical territory with lots of long shots, sunsets, sunrises, oceans and deserts. Why it should be so, evocative that is, is a bit of a mystery. But when  I  look at these photos, they cry out, “Africa!” and no other place on earth that I’ve been.

Red soil, red sand, champagne glass shaped trees form the setting for the furry creatures most people go there for: but the most evocative, single thing about the continent for me is the land, ancient and worn, new and untested, puzzling and yet strangely familiar. Hope you enjoy them!

Sunset over Serengeti waterhole


To be included in this “best-of” there should not be animals or people or at least not the focus of the shot. Getting hoards of people, usually kids, out of the photo is an issue for  being included in this post but not for taking pictures.  In Africa,taking photos, I hardly ever thought, “wait till that kid gets out of the shot”.

On the other hand, if there were a tubby tourist with a blue and cream flowered Hawaiian shirt and skin tight, orange Bermuda shorts wearing new silvered Nike’s on the feet, I’d have no trouble waiting. Anybody wearing cameras and/or snapping photos (yes, like I was) also meant I waited or pointed the lens in another direction.

Here’s  what I found in the photo folder one year later thinking “landscapes, yes, they were striking”.

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Birds of Africa – Best Photos

From the hoopoe in Namibia to the crested cranes in Tanzania Africa was a place of marvelous birds and birds very different that the ones we are used to seeing in North America. Only the greater and lesser egrets, gulls (though different ones) and the great blue heron come to mind as birds we are used to seeing here that crossed our path somewhere in the nearly 2 months in southern Africa.

From the Okavango delta to the plains of Serengeti to the Chobe river banks Africa was chock-a-block with peeping, flapping, chirping, kindom animalia, phylum chordata, class aves.

In Africa it’s easy to focus on the big, furry, nursing mammalians but when we got back, there were a surprising number of photos of our avian friends: Africa is a great place for birding. Birders (the real honest-to-goodness fanatical types like Harry and Ted) know this, of course but we novitiates thought only of the hairy things like lions and tigers and bears. Here are the feathered creatures that stayed still long enough to clap a lens on during our seven week trip between Oct. and Nov. of 2009. Hope you enjoy them!

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Reptiles, Plants & Miscellaneous of Africa – Best Photos

This is a catchall post from our Oct. to Nov. 2009 southern Africa trip:  those photos that didn’t belong in one of the big 4 categories.  Where do you put a spitting cobra, e.g.?  Or a tse-tse fly or a termite mound or Mr. and Mrs. Dung Beetle? Well, they just don’t belong with mammals or bird or landscapes, I can tell you that!

Still these are pictures worth looking at (IMO). Hope you enjoy them.

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People of Africa – Best Photos

Aside from the furry, nursing, large and small mammals, we went to Africa to meet and see Africans at home and at work. With varying degrees of success, we did just that between Oct. and Nov. of 2009. Here are the (IMO) best photos of the people we traveled with and the people we encountered. Enjoy!

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Mammals of Africa – Best Photos

Mammals: big and small, furry and nurse their young, our close relatives in the animal kingdom. Unless I miss my guess, mammals are the reason people travel to Africa. Here are the best (IMO) of the previously blogged mammals of Africa taken between October and November of 2009. Hope you enjoy them!

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Namibian Photo Gallery

Here’s a more or less complete “gallery” for the early Namibia posts. It didn’t start out  for viewing separately, but a bit of laziness on my part and this is what you get! The order of the pictures bears some resemblance to the order of when these pictures were taken.

Namibia, as I mentioned before is a vast country, grasslands, mountains and deserts are many; towns are few. Kind of an advantage when you think about it as a harried modern person, really. We spent (I think w/o digging out the scribbled, faded journal) 11 days there. We could have easily spent more time and, in fact Africa-In-Focus tours sometimes do offer tours that wind up to the skeleton-coast and take in a native village, I believe). Here’s a link to an Irish bloke’s AiF blog which started in Livingstone, Zambia where we will be headed in a few blog-posts time.

AiF (Africa in Focus the intrepid tour company of Benji, et al) offer variations on the Capetown to Nairobi trip and back, breaking it in the middle in the aforementioned Livingstone, eg. and stretching the tour out another 10 days or so.

You know what happens when you hit the first fast forward button on your DVD player? Things go by kind-of-recognizably but in a slight blur? I’d rather be blogging the pictures of Etosha, Chobe and the other great game parks we visited. You can see from the pics below that we stopped, visited and photographed:

  • Place called Citrusdal and took a bush-walk with Sooky (sp?) Scorpions, tortoises, giant caterpillars and flowering desert plants on our first, very nice hike.
  • Goegap Nature Reserve – great collection of very, odd and beautiful desert plants.  The geologists are welcome to puzzle out that large gray rock formation.  No one else noticed it but I thought it looked left over from “The Day the Earth  Stood Still” (the Michael Rennie version, natch).
  • Paddled our canoes down the very tame Orange River in its own canyon.  I actually left my primary camera behind which is why you have to try to see the bird life from a 4x lens.  The quaint old bus was a Craftsman of 1920’s vintage. This would prevent you from forgetting you were supposed to be and act like a tourist.
  • Fish River Canyon which is a bit like the US’s Grand Canyon.  We went at sunrise – many AiF events were organized around sunrise and sunset.
  • Stopped by the Tropic of Capricorn (23 deg. 26 min. 22 sec. south and from here the sun can never appear directly overhead).
  • Stopped in Solitaire for a bit of yummy German strudel.
  • Shortly after the Tropic photo, Benji had a flat tire even further away from anything in a country which truly defines “further away from anything”). When you look at the photo below you will  probably think: oh, he’s just pointing the camera at all that desolation.  There’s probably a mini-mart or a strudel shop behind him.  No, the other direction was even bleaker if possible.  Nothing in any direction right out to where the earth curved away toward something.  I took photos while praying that Will and the crew would be able to fix things because there was also no traffic, no likely signs of rescue.
  • Climbed Dune 45 which is very tall, very soft and a bit of a blow.  Of course we did this at sunrise.  Red sand because there is more ferric oxide than hematite, the little black pieces you can see if you look closely.
  • Toured Sossusvlei (alive and part of Namib-Naukluft National Park).  See Franz eat a lizard.  No, not permanently!
  • Took a walk close to camp of Sossus Canyon (at least that’s what I call it), small but replete with a possibly venomous snake (Rob thought not, but he is an inveterate optimist) who was very happy to  go back into his hole, and a very large, nasty looking baboon and his small troop.  We were happy to see that the canyon separated us – our troop and his, that is.
  • Visited the ridiculously photogenic Dead Vlei – red/black/white/blue. Check the pix at the end of the gallery if you don’t believe me…beauty in death, veritably.
  • Saw wildlife: ostriches, springboks, oryxes (beauties!), and lesser vertebrate and invert species.  Actually, after the rainforest of South America, the insect life was not great but those large, furry, oh-so-like-us mammals made up for a lot! If it’s got mammaries, it’s got to be cute and no one ever called a bug cute.  Not I, anway.
  • Got to know each other as travelers and as a crew of three.  We sharpened our chops on camping – I got so I could put up a tent solo as Chiyemi retrieved the bags from the underneath locker.  This assured us of at least a decent campsite – not that there was THAT much choice and all of the places were pretty decent with the exception of the Chobe-in-hell campsite.  There no place was less than horrid and poor Sue got lost.  Later she found Chiyemi and then they got lost together. But that is getting ahead of ourselves.
  • Stop the presses! Further, late-breaking research shows that the birds identified with finchiness are in fact ploceidae (which even Wikipedia is forced to admit are “related to finches”).  So, don’t blame the pictures if they are identified as “finches?”  – even Charles Darwin didn’t know a finch when he saw it.

    Click on the pictures to enlarge and use your browser’s back button to return “thumbnail” pictures. Sorry for the clunky interface – it wasn’t my idea.

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    Dead Vlei - Namib-Naukluft National Park

    Copyright 2010 – Terry Doyle