What kind of expat would I be if I lived in South Africa and didn’t safari as much as possible? A sad one. And what is Land of Nams without a good dose of wildlife photography? Being close to wild animals never gets old. (Okay, it got a little old- since P is now officially a birder. He has a book and everything. A thiiick book.)
We went to Madikwe Game Reserve with my sister and Brian & Kari, lovely friends who were visiting us from Boston. We saw a pack of wild dogs on their morning hunt. Wild dogs are endangered species. And a first! I saw my first wild cheetahs. I don’t have a lot of apex predator firsts anymore and so that was wonderful. Also terrifying wonderful- being in the middle of a pride of 15 lions while they roared away. At night. Observe:
Here are my photos from our safari. I didn’t get my hands on my dad’s huge L lens but good news: he’s letting me borrow it between January and June of next year (there are not many animals to photograph in Minnesota). It was a fun change to safari somewhere outside of South Africa and my favorite pictures are of the crocodiles which were so close, in the magic hour before sunset. Botswana is famous for its elephants, which are everywhere you turn. I’ve never seen so many elephants in my life! Luckily for my parents we got some quality time with lions too.
We had a lovely holiday with my parents through 3 countries and lots of animals. I took lots of shots that still need to be edited but here is what I got on my iphone. We safaried by air, land and sea (mokoro) through the Okavango Delta, Moremi and Chobe, and viewed Victoria Falls from Zambia and Zimbabwe. It was fun to add countries to our list and log even more safari time (you can never have too much safari) and get up close and personal with crocs, lions, elephants etc. We kept the mosquitos away (but not the spiders, I have a huge nasty bite) and kept cool to boot. There was lots of quality time and great memories.
Fuschia flowers are blooming on the trees in the backyard and the warm weather is back in South Africa. My parents are visiting us and we’re headed to Botswana to safari in the Okavango Delta, Moremi and Chobe. We’ll also ogle Victoria Falls from Zambia and Zimbabwe. I’m unplugging for a blissful week (perhaps an errant instagram or two of the wildlife will surface if we come across some wi-fi) and will see you soon. When I come back there will be more diy, Alexander McQueen, and muchos photos from our safari. My dad bought an L series 400mm Cannon lens for himself which I plan on co-opting/commandeering as much as possible. Have a lovely week!
I went on safari and all you got were these photos. We took P’s family to Hluhluwe-Umfolozi and isiMangaliso for safari, and we went deep sea fishing on the Indian ocean. We caught 7 Yellowfin tuna, and we’ve been eating it in all kinds of ways (mostly raw) since then. I continue to be floored by the flora and fauna we come across in South Africa’s national parks. We saw lions but my lens wasn’t powerful enough for a good shot. Maybe, next year it will be! Also, I made you a little stop motion video of a couple mama rhinos and their babies. Enjoy!
P’s family is coming to visit in 6 weeks and therefore mule-ing me some desperately desired online shopping loot that I can’t do here (thanks family!). Every once in a while you gotta Treat. Yo. Self.
1. Native Union Moshi Moshi retro receiver for your iPhone in silver. I’m the last person on Earth to know about these things but I CAN’T WAIT to get my hands on it. I almost got it in gold but I thought P may like to use it to. You’re welcome P.
2. Stella & Dot Renegade Spiked Cluster bracelet. I’ve been looking for this exact bracelet for months ever since I spotted it on A House In the Hills. Too bad I’ll have to wait until August to add it to my bracelet stacking.
3. Brown leather weekender bag. I bought this locally during an after work shopping treat- it’s the perfect size and perfect for our upcoming adventures- we have two weekends away with friends in the next few weeks , a 1 year anniversary trip P has planned for us to do the Garden Route, and two safaris each with our respective families. The first safari will be a road trip, so not a lot of room for luggage. The second we’re flying in little planes around Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe with smaller than normal luggage restrictions. This is the perfect thing!
4. Alice + Olivia’s black peplum dress. I NEED PEPLUM IN MY LIFE. Plus we’re going to our first South African wedding in September and I’m so excited, I think this will be the perfect thing to wear.
Go buy some stuff you want. You work so hard, you deserve to TREAT YO SELF.
Two of my best girlfriends have been visiting us for the past two weeks. We went on safari in Kruger and flew down to Cape Town and explored Johannesburg thoroughly. It was a blissful time and I wish your best friends could always be across the hall, a few steps away like they were in college. It was sad to take them to the airport yesterday but if we all lived in the same place we probably wouldn’t have spent the last two weeks spotting lions together in Kruger, wine tasting in the Western Cape and eating meat and pap with our hands at a shisa nyama in Soweto. I feel so thankful that so many of our friends have come and visited us here in South Africa (and when we were in Berlin) and all the priceless memories we have running around the world with them.
Any time you feel down, just look at pictures of apex predators. These guys were about 3 feet away from our car, and slowly passed us one by one, giving new meaning to the word ‘catwalk.’ For the first lion, the windows were rolled up. After we saw that what they were interested in wasn’t us we rolled down the window a bit in the name of good photography.
Another set of lovely friends visiting (Nick and Rachel), another safari in Kruger (my life is very hard, I know). This time in the category of Things I’ve Never Seen Before: a whole group of young male lions (I don’t think it’s proper to call them a pride when they’re just a wandering group of brothers who aren’t fully grown) and a group of hyenas ripping apart a left over animal corpse (look carefully, you can see them). As the lions paced around our vehicle, staring at the humans inside I couldn’t bring myself to take pictures when they were directly next to me. The female scared me far more than the males, I felt as though she knew exactly how easy it would be to jump inside and tear me to shreds (ok so maybe I was a bit nervous since I’ve never been directly available to so many wide awake apex predators). I was too nervous and excited to operate the camera properly and had to put it on automatic mode.
We stayed in a lovely cottage overlooking a river in and in the morning we watched a hippo splash around for her morning bath from our porch. I’m not sure how many times I’ve been on safari now, but every single time I feel like I’m a five year old discovering how planes fly or where rain comes from. Normally I pay almost exclusive attention to the big game, but thanks to Nick’s enthusiasm (during his high school years he taught ornithology at a local nature center) I became interested in the birds. Above you can see the technicolor European Bee Eater perched cheerfully on a tree. Following his lead I purchased an animal guide to Kruger and surrounding areas and we worked hard at checking off every animal, bird and reptile that we could, and before I leave this continent I am determined to check off every single one.
Our good friends Jon and Katie came to visit us for a week and it was amazing as always. Every year for the past three years we’ve vacationed together at some place around the world and next year we are planning somewhere in Latin America where P and I have never been. These trips are always such a treat and it’s so fun to see how our lives have progressed in a year, discuss every subject under the sun, and make fun of each other a lot. We plan to continue this tradition until somebody gets knocked up, at which point I hope to resume when the kids are old enough- this way mommy can drinks lots of cab sauv in one room while the kids who at this point will probably be bratty and loud are in another. I digress… since we had visitors it was back to safari and back to Cape Town.
For the bush we went to Pilanesburg National Park which is a two hour drive away from Jozi and contains all of the big 5. Since I feel like I’ve been on safari a lot lately and have been posting lots of animal photos I’m just going to feature some elephants today. One thing I love about elephants is that because of their deep wrinkles and grey skin they look gorgeous with different black and white and split toning in Lightroom.
A couple tips on Pilanesburg: we got our guide using Game Trackers. I wouldn’t do it again. You feel as though you are in Disney World and not the bush, plus I felt our guide was very unknowledgeable and cheesy. Rather go with someone like Chris Green. I’ve never personally had the pleasure but I met him through my friend Heather who has gone and loved it and I hope to soon. Plus, he is charming and knows everything and if you’re lucky he might tell you about the time a Cape Buffalo nearly gored him to death with its horns.