Sunday, February 21, 2010

Adventures in South Africa--Animals!

Here is the bunch of photos taken during our two weeks on safari in South Africa. We were in the Northern Province near the Limpopo River which separates South Africa from Botswana.

Eric, the professional hunter, took us out one day on the Limpopo in this boat for some sightseeing and a picnic. He docked the boat on the other side, we jumped off and said "We're in Botswana!"

Can you spot the monkeys in these next two photos?

The animals we saw in Pilanesberg National Park were wonderful but seeing them in this environment was even more amazing. Eric has 5500 acres of land which is fenced with miles of roads cut through it. As we drove the roads we spotted animals everywhere including warthogs, rhinos, impalas and giraffes. The giraffes were my favorite. A bull can be 18 feet tall and weigh 1500 pounds. They only feed on leaves from the tops of trees so we often saw their heads peeking through as we drove along.

This guy spotted us, watched for a few moments and they he was off!

We were driving along, turned a corner and this is what we found. We stopped and he stopped as if he was posing for photos. Check out the guy in the back of the second photo.

Paul was there to hunt, of course, and I stayed behind for most of the hunts. Below is group of warthogs around a watering hole.

Erik employs two African trackers, Piet and Joseph. Here is Piet at the top of a spotting tower. He's using a walkie talkie to direct the hunters towards animals he can see.

Here is Joseph and Paul stalking something.
Paul and Erik heading back to the lorry during a hunt.

Piet and Joseph were incredible trackers. They could look at dozens of tracks and tell what the animal was, which way it was headed and how long since it had passed by. The sticks you see them carrying are shooting sticks used to make a tripod to rest the gun on if necessary for a shot.

This is a blind situated at a water tank. It's called The Pizza Oven 'cause it gets pretty hot in there at midday. A couple weeks earlier a black mamba, one of the deadliest snakes in Africa, came slithering into the blind as hunters sat there. Fortunately Erik spotted it and they got out before anyone was bitten. Only two hunters fit in The Pizza Oven, and I spent some time with Paul watching and waiting.

This herd of wildebeest came through as we sat in The Pizza Oven.
This guy was my favorite. We saw him several times over the two weeks we were there. Erik estimated that he was 18 feet tall. Poor guy was missing most of his tail.

This water tank was about 5 feet tall so this gives you an idea of just how big he was.
Take a look at the thorns on this tree.

This is a termite mound. We saw many as tall as 5 feet.
This is a the remnants of a termite nest after an aardvark had lunch.

Come by next Monday for the final installment of our Adventures in Africa and see the culmination of Paul's dream hunt.


DUTA said...

Breathtaking pictures!

The big thorns on the tree remind me how painful it is to be stung by a thorn even smaller than these in the picture. I've twice experienced this sort of pain and it was awful.

Vodka Logic said...

What a beautiful country and amazing animal shots. SA is on my list of places to visit

Wanda said...

Your photos gave me a real sense of how large a giraffe can be. They looked so muscular and healthy. The thorn tree reminds me of our Honey and Black Locust Trees here.

JoeyRes said...

My daughter wanted to know if that was the zoo. She's pretty impressed to see pictures of the place where the animals come from.

The giraffes are amazing!

Stephanie Faris said...

How cool! I've never been anywhere like this. Can't wait for the next installment.

Anonymous said...

Wow, going on a safari is every child's dream... The pictures are really good. I've seen some "wild" animals, but that was always in a zoo, so they can't really be considered wild. You were really lucky to see all those in real life!

Just Breathe said...

I love the giraffes too, they are so beautiful. What wonderful pictures. It must have been amazing to see all those animals.

A 2 Z said...

I'm guessing by the color of the grass that you there during the winter. Its a better time to go: less chances of contracting malaria and better chances of seeing the animals. :)

Badass Geek said...

I'm speechless. What an experience!

Laoch of Chicago said...

Nice pictures. It looks so dry there!

croneandbearit said...

An African safari is on my list of things to experience but I'm afraid all the flying would kill me. LOL Great pics. Must have been a wonderful trip - such memories!

Debbie said...

Incredible photos. I would never have seen those monkeys if you hadn't told me they were there. I would so love to go there sometime.

Anonymous said...

You're certainly having a great adventure! Thanks for sharing such wonderful photos!


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