Archive for the 'Zambia' Category

08
Nov
10

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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08
Nov
10

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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08
Nov
10

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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08
Nov
10

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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08
Nov
10

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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04
Sep
10

South Luangwa National Park – Zambia

To the east of Victoria Falls, past the 7500 km mark on our trip across Africa we came to the little visited South Luangwa National Park.

One of the unusual features of South Luangwa National Park are the allowed night game drives. Most places, Etosha, Chobe, Serengeti, etc carefully sequester if not seal in tourists after dark: not SLNP. We saw the second of our three leopards plus a civet (sort of but not really a cat), a bush baby (fleetingly is putting is generously),  a genet and a leopard feeding on a antelope. Only annoyed by us, she pulled the carcass back into the bushes after we persisted in shining a very bright light on her.

The camp was beautiful, along the Luangwa river, with its sand bars and oxbows. You would not dare approach it for fear of becoming crocodile food. Blazingly hot during the day, heat waves rising off the long view into the park to the south of Wildlife Camp, herds of impalas and giraffes grazing in the shade, hippos and crocs in the river. The constant grunts of the hippos had become quite usual and familiar to all the travelers.

Wildlife Camp bar - park off to the right-->

The next day we took a fine game drive through the park again coming upon giraffes, elephants, hippos, antelopes of many sorts, and a very fine collection of birds: little and carmine bee eaters…

Oh, here! This is Carol’s list (thanks!): wire tailed swallow, lesser swallow, hadeda ibis, the aforementioned bee eaters, white rumpled swift, palm swift, gray heron, red billed oxpecker, lesser white-backed vulture, golden weaver, long tailed/glossy starling, great white egret, hammerkop, arrow-marked barbet, LBR (?), helmeted guinea fowl, crested cranes, spur fowl, and a white-fronted bee eater.

15 minutes before finding the leopard eating

Sunset - S. Luangwa Park

Carol’s list from the night drive: tawny eagle, double banded grouse, white tailed mongoose (that is not a bird), banded mongoose (nor that), scrub hare (ditto), lions, fruit bat, leopard, civet, large spotted genet, martial eagle, hippo, thick tailed bushbaby and cape buffalo.

More unusual from the daytime: puku, unusual sub-species of Burchell’s zebras, gray squirrel, and kudu.

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04
Sep
10

Victoria Falls – Zambia – Lions and Rhinos and Cobras, oh my

Midpoint of the trip: we stopped for 3 days to allow a dozen AIF travelers off and pick up 4 more. Pity. Wasn’t an even trade. Check the white rhinos we walked with on a tour and the slithering, Mozambique or black necked spitting cobra (Naja mossambica) that came through our campsite along the Zambesi River. A word about spitting cobras: they can bite but much prefer to spit, aiming for the eyes. I didn’t know at the time what sort of snake it was, but was willing to be this was a bad one. This is one of seven African spitting cobras (aren’t you glad there are none in your country?) plus six Asiatic species. Their venom can travel up to two meters (about where I was willing to photograph from but the idiot Dutch guy was half that distance but at least wore glasses).

Speaking of which, the Dutch crew (all decked out in their ever-so-stylish camo clothing) wanted to kill the snake. I said I thought that was unnecessary and Sue was semi-apoplectic even though the snake had almost crawled across her feet.

Six feet distance was my limit for photos

Spitting Cobra - Victoria Falls Camp

We also saw a green snake at the fancy lodge next door where you could get a latte (and snakes). The wait staff assured us this was a green mamba (and plenty bad medicine if true) but it surely was not. Also not about to get close to this bold little fellow. Further research shows this to be the spotted bush snake (Philothammus semivariegatus).

Taken with the small Canon A520

Green Snake Next Door To - Victoria Falls Camp

Yummmm!!!!

Terry enjoys a latte - Victoria Falls

We took a “drunken” cruise in which all you could drink was included. I’m afraid one alcoholic drink was my limit – besides the photo ops from the boat were exceptional. This was our last evening with several new friends to be replaced in the morning by a boorish group of Brits who I hope will never read this post, but if so, ah well.

The statue you see is David Livingstone who apparently was the first westerner to clap eyes on this  wondrous falls, now more Victoria Canyon than falls. I would also be willing to bet that this snake was poisonous (slightly swollen back of the head where poison glands could be) and not a mamba which can chase you up to 4 mph and so take a good run to avoid.

Eventually we packed up and off to one of the hidden gems of Africa: South Luangwa National Park replete with lions and leopards.

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