There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label elephants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label elephants. Show all posts

16 November 2015

Taonga

Zac and I walked about a 1/4 of a mile down to the Zambezi river. It was the middle of the afternoon, and the area was quiet. A monkey was curiously watching us, the water peacefully lapping the shore, and soft music could be heard in the distance. I saw a sign offering a dinner and evening cruise by Taonga safari's. 
It was our last night here in Zambia before heading back to Kenya to complete our humanitarian project. At the time, I had no plans to quit BCK, in fact my life was still full of dreams to continue this work.

All I wanted to do was to instill happy memories in all of us about the continent that I love. I thought that I would treat everyone to a nice little river cruise. We board and find that it will only be us, the boat captain and cook. We are thrilled to have the boat to ourselves, and pour our drinks as the meat starts to cook on the barbie.

The motor starts and seconds later we are going down the mighty Zambezi.
Brightly colored birds zip along the shoreline, as creatures new and old are spotted. Hippo pools and the ancient crocodile once again fill us with everlasting memories.
As the sun begins to set, the mighty procession of elephants fill the river banks. They forage the trees and brush, snapping mighty wood like tinder. They trumpet and stomp in graceful fashion as we gaze upon them in silent wonder.
The pictures we have of each other on this final night speak to how close we became, a true family. Although we may not speak often these days, I've no doubt that our bonds of friendship and love are forever cemented from our time here.
Bonds that can only be formed in the Heart of Africa.

07 May 2015

Land of the Giants

The safari jeep rolls down the dusty road, thick trees surround us as we go. All eyes are wide open searching for signs of wildlife in the Chobe, none of us really knowing what to expect.

We emerge from the thicket of trees close to the mighty river. For a moment I think I'm seeing a mirage through the leaves.
I'll never forget the sound of the mighty and graceful elephants walking along the river's edge. Witnessing the family dynamics of the herd ; Father's showing dominance through size and strength, Mother's protecting their young. You can see into their eyes and know they are thinking about you, just as curious about us as we are them. It's an epic feeling.
Giraffes here bend in the most curious of ways to forage for food. I've never seen this type of flexibility before. It shows just how nimble and amazing these creatures are, and how adaptable to their environment. Nature surely is a wonder to behold.
You can say it a million times and it never gets old or untrue, the skies of Africa are unlike anywhere else on the planet. Everything is bigger, more open and wild.
As this may have been my last African safari for quite awhile, I treasure the people I shared the experience with even deeper. True bonds of friendship that were formed, unbreakable memories I hold dear.
My love for the Motherland will never fade.

26 April 2015

The Chobe river safari

Early in the morning we pile into the van in Zambia, but there isn't a tired eye among us. For today we are driving to the Chobe National Park in Botswana. The anticipation in the faces of those about to embark on their first African safari is high. For me too, as this will be my first time in Botswana, and my first time experiencing a safari from the water.
The Chobe river divides Zambia from Botswana. Passport control is a little building on the side of the river, and we are quickly and happily stamped into a new country. We put away our passports and board a small skiff to transport us across the river as the sun begins to rise.
Just like that, we are in Botswana. We laugh at the huge family of monkeys that are frolicking among the great semi trucks waiting at the border crossing to go back to Zambia. Soon our Safari jeeps arrive and take us to the drop off point. We board our boats and start down the river, the great blue sky above us and nature's jungle all around.
After a short while, we come close to the shore, tall marsh reeds hiding what may be beyond. Our guide lets us know that we are on the shores of Namibia, home to some of Africa's biggest elephants. As if on queue as we slowly make our way through the reeds to the shore, the sun is blocked out by an enormous shadow....
Our first glimpse of the mighty African elephant is an epic one, and everyone's adrenaline is pumped. Moving on down the river, incredibly we come across a python. It is hard for me to spot at first, as the natural color of the snake blends so well into the environment, but once spotted, I can't take my eyes off of it.
Herds of hippo are active this morning. Toted as one of Africa's most dangerous animals, I've usually only enjoyed watching these great creatures in the water, thus only seeing their eyes, ears, and backs. Today though they were on all fours on the shoreline, giving us all a full view.

Marks are covering the sides of many of them, and our guide lets us know that this is from the males fighting for breeding rights.
Crocodiles, so still that they seem to be placed there for our enjoyment, and not real creatures that can crush out our life existence with one ferocious bite of their mighty jaws.

It's been a few hours by now, and between my morning coffee and the water on the boat to keep me hydrated, the urge to relieve myself is strong. It was even stronger for those with me that were enjoying morning beers. After a few requests for a bathroom break, our guide surveys the shores and seems to find a spot that doesn't have crocodiles, hippos, or any other animals that are too close to enjoy us as a snack.

It was a surreal rush taking a leak in the Chobe!

It's almost noon, so we head back to have lunch before embarking on our land safari in the afternoon. I wonder....

can it get any better than this morning? Yet I know that in Africa, one is always constantly amazed and surprised with the wild beauty that presents itself.


29 March 2015

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Fund ( protect the Elephants)

You must watch....

I've always loved the mighty and graceful elephant, but this feeling was most certainly solidified when I first saw the African elephant in the wild of Kenya's Maasai Mara in 2009.

That was also when I first visited the Sheldrick Wildlife elephant orphanage in Nairobi.
Having returned to this orphanage a few times since then, I've seen it grow in tourist popularity. Some feel it to be an exploitative showing, but not I. The money and awareness raised but the dedicated volunteers FAR outweighs any other minor inconveniences.
I patiently waited to see the newest arrivals, those baby elephants that had their mother's slaughtered in the wild for their tusks, leaving the babies alone to die if it weren't for people such as the Sheldrick organization.
It is a special treat indeed, as the newest member of the family, Alamaya, comes right over to me. Her trunk playfully and inquisitively feels my body as I touch her skin.
David Sheldrick has passed away, but Kenya born Daphne Sheldrick continues her work today. Support the mighty and graceful elephant, won't you?