Phinda – the evolution of conservation

In 1990 Dave Varty's [Londolozi] vision of community-based tourism; a model sustained by good business practice & not on donor funds, was born. CC Africa - [now &Beyond] was formed to facilitate the purchase of land - properties farmed for cattle, sisal & pineapple. The land was mostly degraded & purged of wildlife. This newly-formed reserve was called 'Phinda Izilwane' - Zulu for 'return of the wildlife' & the wildlife has, indeed, ...

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Rhino – Africa unite

There are two schools of thought on the future of Africa's wildlife. In their purest forms the first is the preservation of wild animals in non-consumptive wilderness / sanctuaries; i.e. - reservations designed and managed to give wildlife free-roaming access & / or with minimal interference from people. The funding for the management of these sanctuaries is externalised or collected at the entrance gate / green lodge etc. People who find this school ...

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Dreamcatcher

For an enchanted moment, the ship must have held its breath.  Plucked from a fairy-tale, somewhere forward of the port bow, a Sooty Albatross took to the skies, soared into view and hovered like an evangelist on the draught of the collective inhale. I remember turning wordlessly to Alisha, partners in wonder; and shared a dream, a lifetime’s second that will endure for as long as we care to look up. I ...

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Namibia – journey under stars

Disagreeing with the women in my family is a hierarchical threat designated code orange. Get to red & blood flows. Yellow, I know. Pareidolia, for those who don't know, is the phenomenon of seeing faces in inanimate objects. Mea culpa - I'm a sufferer & a tulpamancer too. Here's how I saw it. Them girls didn't, couldn't or wouldn't. Predictably their tulpas are shtum. No imagination... Königstein is the Brandberg Intrusion's highest ...

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Bush-diving for tail

We joined the other foot soldiers & travelled down to Cape Town for the piper's Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin (Cercotrichas galactotes); the sub-region's 1st-confirmed sighting ie: a giga. The fact that the bird subsequently proved less inspiring than inversion on a cold morning, is a short story for another time. Sebastian, our son & a month shy of his own airline seat, tagged along for the return flight. Ever his mother's child, the boy ...

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Kruger 300 Challenge – Intro

Once every 5 years, or thereabouts, we set aside time & embark on, what we call, our Kruger Trek - ie: a north2south transit of the Kruger National Park. Summer's best for us & this year our trip coincides with the December silly season. It's not a rushed affair... 3 weeks or so. It's also a wee time away from the smoke & dust; the hum-drum traffic & the other clap-trap ...

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Kruger 300 – Part 2

We blitzed the 90-odd kilometres from Lower Sabie to Satara, [via Muntshe], in 10 hours flat. We like Gee, rather than Wiz, when it comes to speed in the park. Whilst not a session that gloried in numbers – watta day! The south-eastern scarp is dominated by the Lebombo range of mountains – great vantage for the footmen seeking a pittance in the horn trade & equally magnanimous for its rhyolite ...

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Kruger 300 – Part 1

It’s a glass past 10 - nearby Painted Reed Frogs ping a challenge. A Western Barn Owl hums a tune. Out there, the natural world does battle – here, not so much. Day one (1) of the Kruger 300 is in the bag, well almost. How'd we do? 149 sp. – shy of our targeted 150 & some would say 'ha' – a miss; but we’re not fanatics. Remiss? No - there’s always tomorrow. The ...

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Kruger 300 – Part 5

Is there anything more annoying, less useful even, than a leopard & her cub next to the road? It’s bloody chaos & we’re usually in the thick of it. Glance left & Alisha hangs on the cub’s every flirtation. ‘Can I chase my tail mummy?’ Golly-gosh wasn’t that impala sirloin tippity-poo?’ blah, blah flippity blah. Get off the road! There be birds about... … but 1st, a public announcement: - Tamboti, ...

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Big Birding Day

At 06h00, on Friday the 24th of November, Alisha added a line-entry to the thesis I've called (privately) 'My daily toil'. [By then I'd completed the ironing, vacuumed the house - seen to Sebastian's lunch; developed a plausible theory to bend time & therefore solve the mysteries which vexed my predecessor on the Enterprise; mowed the lawn; and fed the menagerie]. I was instructed asked whether I thought it 'a good idea' to participate ...

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