When you head out to the bush country you just don’t know what you are going to find. For the second (of three) Safari days out in the bush, the plan was to find some elephants in the morning, and maybe more lions in the afternoon. That meant getting a wake-up call at 4:30 AM and piling into the jeep and into the woods by 5:00 AM.
As it turned out, we didn’t find any elephants until later in the afternoon. But we did find a male lion. We also found a cheetah hanging out by a watering hole. Watering holes are a popular spot to hang out in the bush, except for the fact that some of the animals regard the others as dinner. So, the animals likely to be targets tend to go as a group—safety in numbers—while the lions hang out around the periphery waiting for one of the targets to stray from the group. Then the lions pick them off.
Another thing. Looking at the stars from the pitch black African bush takes your breath away. Without any distracting ambient light, you can probably see the stars the way the sailors saw them hundreds of years ago.
Anyway, here (below) are some more photos of animals and the countryside out in the bush. Next, we head for a short stop in Maputo, Mozambique. There are more photos available at Evocative Photos.
Here we are at Thanda Game Reserve to go on a Safari. Thanda is our “base camp” in the same way the Ritz-Carlton is a base camp. The place is just spectacular. (See the photo below of our villa).
After we arrived we got settled in and went for our first game drive, lasting from 4:30 until 7:30 PM. The drive consists of boarding an open jeep that holds 9 plus a driver and tracker, and then heading out to the African bush in search of lions, elephants, hyenas, cheetahs, buffalo, rhinos, hippos and whatever else materializes.
We were not disappointed. It wasn’t too long before we saw some buffaloes, gazelles, a giraffe and a wildebeest or two. Most important, we discovered sundowners. As the sun begins to set, around 6:00 PM or so, it’s time to stop the jeep, pile out, look out over the African plains and have a glass of wine or a gin and tonic before venturing out into the bush again. If you are going to be devoured by a hungry lion, you might as well be fortified by a G&T, I suppose.
Anyway, this is just a very brief hint of how spectacular a Safari can be. More in the coming days.
Some photos of a small sample of the animals and scenery we saw on the first of many game drives below.
We have left Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth and are now sailing in the Indian Ocean, headed for Durban. From Durban we will head inland to the Thanda Game Reserve in the heart of the Zulu homelands where we will go on Safari, tracking (and hopefully photographing) the “Big 5”–Elephants, Lions, Cape buffalo, Black rhinos and African Leopard.
The parts of Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth we saw were largely resort areas. We didn’t get to see much more than that, so it’s hard to put into context what we saw. We were told by one of the destination lecturerers that South Africa is by far the most Anglicized / Westernized part of Africa, and that most of the native population lives inland. In some sense a lot of what we have seen is like looking at Hong Kong and thinking you’ve seen China.
Anyway, here are some photos from this most recent foray.
We spent a few days tooling around Cape Town, South Africa after beating the East coast storm by a day. 17 hours in the air is a lot of flight time, but it was well worth it. Cape Town is hopping in our neighborhood but once you get outside the upmarket areas, it’s a bit of a different story. Anyway, we got a chance to visit and have lunch at an excellent vineyard in the Stellenbosch region. We also went to the top of the Table Mountain—with the help of a cab—and went to see a colony of penguins on Boulders beach. We got a great view of the coastline, including the coast along the Cape of Good Hope.
We embark on the ship tomorrow and set sail Monday morning at 5:00 AM. Soon we will be on a photo Safari at the Thanda Game Preserve, where we hope to get photos of the Big 5 (Lions, Hippos, Rhinos and Giraffes). The Safari will be 2 nights in camp and 3 days tracking the animals.
Here below are a couple of shots from around Cape Town and its environs.
We spent a quick—too quick—couple of days in Lyon, France’s second largest city. According to Journal des Arts it is the second city for culture in France, coming in just behind Paris. The capital of the Lyon Metropolitan region, the city is a festival of museums, restaurants, cafes and historic architecture. We stayed in Vieux Lyon—the Old City—where we had stunning views of the town and could easily make our through the old streets to do some sightseeing. A quick ride in a funicular and we arrived at the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere, which overlooked the city.
Lyon, the gastronomical capital of France, is positioned between the Rhone and Saone Rivers, making it extraordinarily picturesque. In addition, Lyon is a college town. It is home to many well-regarded universities, and is ranked 34th in the world by students for desirability.
If you travel to France, it’s well worth a visit.
There are a few photos below of Lyon, taken in the Old City. Collections of photos taken in both Lyon and Paris are available in the galleries section. Licenses are available at www.evocativephotos.com
We got the chance to take a quick trip over to Paris including a side trip to Lyon to celebrate the 21st birthday of our niece who is studying in Lyon. Paris is as beautiful and cosmopolitan as ever, with its classic architecture, museums, cafes and restaurants. We stayed at the Brighton Hotel on the Rue de Rivoli where our room overlooked the Tuilerie Gardens. From our room we could see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night and the Tuileries in the morning as the sun came up.
Soon—beginning early in January—we are headed out to Cape Town South Africa, where we will board Crystal Cruise’s Symphony Cruise liner to go on an extended trip that will take us through South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Columbia, Panama, St. Bart’s and from there, back to Florida. We will be posting all along the way, so stay tuned.
The colors of autumn are sprouting everywhere, and Shark River Park is a great place to observe the leaves turning colors as the Fall arrives in earnest. In the space below I have included some photos from a recent trip over there. Please click on the photos to see larger full resolution versions.
And before long–the middle of next week–we will be heading out for Paris and Lyon. Photos to follow.
We are back from a short visit to the Finger Lakes region of New York State. The region is gorgeous, especially as the leaves begin to turn as fall arrives. Small towns dot the landscape, and except for the larger cities like Ithaca, home of Cornell, it is mostly rural territory. And it has those scenic lakes, particularly Lake Seneca and Lake Cayuga. Seneca is the largest and deepest of the Finger Lakes measured by area; it extends to a depth of 618 feet at its deepest point. Cayuga is the longest lake at 38 miles, but it is not as deep as Seneca. Cayuga’s maximum depth is 435 feet.
In addition to the beautiful scenery, the area has lots of vineyards, so of course we went wine tasting. And we had some very nice Cabs and Chards.
The Finger Lakes region is home to the Women’s Rights Movement, and it has a number of museums celebrating that fact. Like all political movements, in the fervor of the moment the participants tend to get carried away. The early suffragettes claimed that by allowing women to vote the nation would rid itself of corruption. Moreover, they insisted that women would never support legislation in favor of women only. Well, we know how that worked out. (See below).
All in all the Finger Lakes region is well worth a visit. But unless you are a professor at Cornell or a wine producer, there doesn’t seem to be all that much opportunity here.
Anyway, some photos of our travels below. Please click on the photos below to see large, high resolution versions.
Summer is gone, the fall is here, the ocean is getting rougher, and of course it is hurricane season. The water was sufficiently treacherous over the past weekend that 35 people had to be rescued from the surf in Belmar, according to the Mayor. The Mayor said that 35 people had to be pulled out of the water by lifeguards, police, the Coast Guard and…”water rescue staff”. If not lifeguards I wonder what the term “water rescue staff” is supposed to refer to.
Anyway, off to the Finger Lakes region in New York State soon, where we hope to get some nice autumn shots. Some Spring Lake beach shots below.
The Kessler Foundation is a public charity dedicated to helping people afflicted with disabilities caused by stroke, multiple sclerosis, brain and other injuries, to improve their lives. Kessler, which funds research and prepares people with disabilities to re-enter the workforce, is one of the world’s leading organizations in rehabilitation medicine. Joe Benning Photography is an enthusiastic supporter of the Kessler Foundation and is a sponsor of the Annual Stroll and Roll. The 16th annual Stroll and Roll took place today in Verona Park. Some photos from the event are below. Please take a look at the Kessler Foundation Website to learn more about their work. Here is the web address: http://kesslerfoundation.org