Sunday, December 20, 2015

Whats it's all about Alfie?

What's it all about, Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What's it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give

(Cilla Black - see Utube & others)
Alfie lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

RIP Alfie

Oh no, this is so sad.

We got back from South Africa and picked them up on the Monday and the doggies were so 
happy to see us. Alfie was bouncing around like a pup!

He was struggling by Friday, (but, we have been treating him for heart failure for the last six months).

Monday, a week after we came home, and our first day back at work, he was critically ill.
And we had him put to sleep on Tuesday the 8th December. 
We don't know how old he was, we adopted him thinking he was 2 or 3 but he must have been 7 or 8 or older, because he had lots of old age problems. We had him for 5 and a half years, far too short.

We have lost a lovely little dog and Graham has lost his best buddy.
And Georgie is so sad....

We had him cremated and have him back in a little box.

So how to replace an irreplaceable doggie?

We are looking for a different little dog and have our feelers out with the pound. 
Please come and find us little doggie, you will be a lucky little doggie to fill this vacancy.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

South Africa ~ Thursday~ Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre

Last Day!
And above is the last photo I took an the trip.
Really easy to take great photos when you have great subject matter.  

As we didn’t see a lot of cats in the wild we decided to take the easy way and visit those that are being cared for in the  Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. We had an interesting experience with the SA Police on our way out to Hoedspruit ~ but that's a long story, which Graham tells well, so ask him about it.

One last Safari car!
But this time most of the animals are in cages, but they do aim to release most of them. 

We fly back to Johannesburg tomorrow and then out to Sydney on Saturday, we lose most of Sunday arriving in Sydney late afternoon. 
Then home on Monday to see the doggies!
We love South Africa and will certainly try to get back here again. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

South Africa ~ Wednesday 25th November ~ Sabi Sands Evening Safari

Because the day was reasonably clear we ventured back up the mountains to admire the view from Gods Window. We also visited the Pinnacle and Wonder view. Its about 45 minute drive from Hazyview via Graskop.

Then we were collected from our lodge for a evening safari at Sabi Sands private game reserve. Sabi Sands borders Kruger.
But, I’ve never seen such a stormy sky – amazing colour, the photos don’t do it justice.

We were hoping to see lots of active wild life at dusk but unfortunately we saw mostly a very active and spectacular thunder storm.

Yes driving around in an open top vehicle was getting a little scary.
I tried really hard to get some lightening in this photo but it wasn’t cooperating. 

So we retreated to the lodge for drinks – Sundowners as its called in South Africa

We did see a hyena spooked by the storm – below is a fuzzy pic of it’s hind legs!

Dinner was at the Umkumbe Safari Lodge.
This pics from their web site as it was too dark and wet for photos.

Last Day tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

South Africa ~ Tuesday~Elephant Whispers



Well,,,,, unless we ever get to swim with the QI infamous Blue Whale, this will be the biggest animal/creature,  we will ever get to touch and pet, in our lives.

Please meet the 6 ton  TEMBO and he is the hero Elephant of Elephant Whispers , near our resort at  Hazyview.


Elephant Whispers’ magnificent six ton gentle giant.

Elephant Whispers recently celebrated Tembo’s 29th birthday in true elephant fashion. Party goods included bags of oranges, paw-paws, apples and a large pile of freshly cut Bhana Grass to sustain his superb six ton physique!

When Tembo was two years old, he was orphaned when his herd was culled. Together with another orphaned elephant, Becky, he was raised by humans. Tembo’s home until he was approximately 18 years of age was in a reserve which bordered crop farms which Tembo regularly raided, causing thousands of rand’s damage. Authorities, faced with a deluge of complaints by local farmers, decided Tembo would have to be destroyed. Fortunately, Rory and Lindie Hensman rescued Tembo, taking him to EFAF, where Tembo enthusiastically embraced his new routines and also interacting with other tamed and trained elephant




And this is… I actually, shame on me… I can’t remember his name!… I think It’s Shamwari.

They feed them (for tourists) something that looks just like ‘sheep nuts’ (pelletised feed) and it probably is very similar!



But whoever this beautiful boy is.. he would lay down and let us touch him.

From the tip of his trunk, to the end of his tail!


They told us he liked it, a bit like a massage or petting a dog! He certainly liked the food they kept popping in his mouth…

Below: yes does have  a big ear for hearing…


He felt course and hairy, a  bit like a big bristly pig, or bit of Christmas pork.


And his tail was like a thick wire broom.


AND, then we were introduced to Tembo – yes there was a handler on top of him at all times!

and thank you to the photo Gods for the red flowering tree – 

which made great photos and matched my hat.!.



They train the elephants to respond to all handlers so they don’t get attached to just one person. They chose me to ask him to salute and he did.


Above – and here he is showing us his teeth, which was part of the tour, to understand the anatomy of elephants.

And then after lunch at Perry's Bridge (sushi for me, burger for Graham), we spent some time at the reptile park which was only around the corner from Sabi Sands Resort.




Night Safari tomorrow!



Monday, November 30, 2015

South Africa ~ Monday 23rd November ~ On Safari.

Kruger National Park


Above:- I love it when they pose for me (and I humbly apologise to my faithful Canon Power shot for even admiring the new version in the duty free shop).

So this was the highlight of the trip and the reason we went back to South Africa – to go on Safari and see the animals.


And it was a huge day, and to my relief Kruger Park is much better than the Dubbo Zoo! For a start it is huge ~ ‘some say’ the size of Wales. So we only saw a very small piece of it.

We were up at 03:30 for the full day tour, as we left early so no breakfast before we started.


We went in via the Paul Kruger Gate, which is the closest to Hazyview.


And The early start was worth it, as we saw more animals before breakfast than we did for the rest of the day.

At least it wasn’t too hot, cool in the morning then up to about 26ish in the afternoon.


Only just through the gate and we met this fellow crossing the road!

Oh Hello – crossing here!                                                 Well maybe not….



okay, okay – going now!


…………Watch out….Here I go!…….


…and we also met a female Kudu,


and a Crowned Hornbill.




The great recyclers, a White Headed Vulture.


Cue the ‘Benny Hill’ theme tune – here are a pack of Wild Dogs, being chased by a Baboon, which in turn is being chased by a pack of tourists.




Wild dogs are the most efficient hunters with a kill rate higher than all African predators.


Another elephant….


Velvet monkeys,


Below ~ Another finalist for Photo of the Day - The Black Rhino. Graham spotted this looking like a rock in a bush, apparently to see a black Rhino is very rare.

Black rhinos became extinct in the Kruger National Park by 1945. Between 1971 and 1989 a total of 81 black rhinos were re-introduced, with a further 6 animals added in 1998. Presently the black rhino population is estimated to be about 300. - WWF


and then some very distant and amorous Lions – this is Grahams photo as mine was just a furry blur.


and Impalas, the fast food of the African world, this is a newborn. Apparently Impalas can stall the birth of their babies until after a good rainfall. 


A Zebra crossing – Boom, Boom. Aren’t they beautiful, how could you make them into a rug, (and we’ve  seen lots of Zebra hides for sale in gift shops).



And all that was all before breakfast! Phew, I’ve already used up one battery in my camera.

After a bacon and egg sandwich we met a Waterbuck,


and more Elephants,


then a stop to admire the beauty and vastness of the park…


Next, a family of Giraffes,



and a Wilder Beast.


Don’t think these are all zoom lens shots – this is how close some of the animals come.



Then finally a Buffalo doing what Buffalos do best,


and a White Rhino.


Do You Know the Difference Between Black and White Rhinos?

No Its not the colour.

The term white rhino is actually a mistranslation; the Dutch settlers in South Africa initially called them “Weid mond rhino”, meaning “Wide-mouth rhino.” White and black rhinos are similar in color. The most notable difference between white and black rhinos are their mouths. Because black rhinos are grazers, they have smaller, hook-shaped lips that allow them to grasp prickly shrubs and trees.

Black and white rhinos also have different body shapes: white rhinos have bigger heads and longer necks than the blacks; the white rhinos are also slightly taller with longer tails. The white rhino is built slightly differently, with their hips lower than their shoulders, resulting in a sloped shape to their back in contrast to the blacks that have dipped backs.


And that was it, back to our resort late afternoon and very tired.

We didn’t see ALL the big 5.

big 5

Which are the Elephant, Lion, Rhino, Buffalo and Leopard.

We missed the Leopard! But we did see both the Rhinos.

We may have a second chance in a couple of days when we have a evening Safari booked.