Sunday, February 22, 2009

Last Tour

Back home again after another tour with wonderful people - and of course lots of photos. While in Cape Town and during a township tour, we visited the Disa Primary School in Bonteheuwel, where the principal, Mr Andy James, asked for a photo with the group (above). I was happy to oblige and can now pass it on to him via this blogspot and his email - and what about the 13 people I had so much fun guiding through our beautiful country? I hope you "enjoy" this photo I happily dedicate to you.

During the following days I'll "post" some photo-"stories" of what we encountered along the way, whilst today "represents" a broad "outline": we saw quite a few Red-collared Widows fluttering about in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve. These small birds with their long tails are difficult to photograph because they seldom settle down long - and close enough. However I managed to eventually capture one (left).

From small to large - a magnificent Goliath Heron (right), which we saw during a boat-cruise on the St Lucia estuary. By way of a comparison - the Red-collared Widow breeding male (above) is 15cm without its long tail, whilst the Goliath Heron is 140cm tall!

"Trigger happy" as I am (camera-wise!) I took this photo (left) of White-breasted Cormorant flying in "formation" across the sky in Wilderness. This cormorant species is a common resident in most parts of South Africa.

We also encountered this Spotted hyena (right) in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve. This (mainly) scavenger with its exceptionally powerful jaws was also difficult to photograph because the tall grass kept "hiding" the animal from our view. Spotted hyenas live in matriarchal clans of approx. 30 animals, but most encounters with this animal in the wild "comprises" of one hyena.

Although I mostly "concentrate" on photographing wild animals and birds, I do have "an eye" for whatever else looks appealing - like this water lily (left). I have a large "collection" of flora-photos, but as I've "confessed" before, I'm not very good at identifying flora.

The same goes for insects - I admire what looks "great", but certainly can't (fully) identify this butterfly. I'm happy though to share this photo, because it's "pretty".

During this last tour, a visit to Didima Camp at Cathedral Peak in the Drakensberg mountain range is part of the itinerary - mostly a highlight on this particular tour. Unfortunately thick clouds started moving in when we arrived - and the following day was completely "washed out". Instead of enjoying the magnificent scenery, we were forced to spend the whole day indoors, because it rained "non-stop".

Soon after our arrival, the clouds "split open" for a few seconds, and the "Cathedral's" peaks were momentarily visible - just long enough for me to capture this one photo (right).

Luckily it wasn't cloudy or it didn't rain all the time during the last tour - as this photo (left) of the beach at Wilderness "testifies". The day started with a thick cloud cover and a bit of rain, but the sun "emerged" during the afternoon, when I felt privileged to be able to take this photo from a "bird's view" through the window of my room at the Boardwalk guest-house.

We did experience one magnificent sunset across the bay at Hermanus - and I must admit, I felt quite guilty that I was the only one in our group, who "carried" a camera to capture it! Everybody else had left their cameras at the hotel, since we were out having dinner at a restaurant. I must also say that it was "strange" visiting this part of our country during a time of the year, when there are no whales around, since Hermanus is known as our "whaling capital".

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