Monday, March 31, 2014

Betty in the Wild: Namibia

Home again, home again, jiggety jig:

It was almost Hallowe'en when I got back from my trip 'round the USA, so Cobweb Morning seemed appropriate.

And then we're off to Africa!  Just like Hugo!  Except the minor difference that where he spent months establishing a feeding center for starving children, I spent two weeks at a 20-year old preserve feeding well-cared for cheetahs.  It's the Cheetah Conservation Fund, should you be interested, and gets five stars for food (plenty of stodge!), accommodation (shared rondavel, check for snakes before heading down the gravel path to the bathroom), fun activities (dog walking, donkey care (okay, they were dead and I was feeding them to cheetahs, but they're still donkeys), brisk walks, peering through microscopes, etc.).

Plus:  TWO DUTCH INTERNS!!  Both definite charming younger sister types; no snooty Juffrouws here.

Every home has its big water tank - well, every white person's home - fed by a well.  The rainy seasons have been slack just lately.

Mariske goes to university in Friesland, though is not Fries.  Note hungry cheetahs feeding in background.

Marianne (MAH ree ahn ah) also at univ in Friesland; also not Fries.  I would tweeze hairs from cheetah poo for her, and she would peer at them through her microscope to determine what the cheetah had been eating.

Thorn bush with yummy little orange fruits.
Beautiful and industrious weaver bird building its Christmas-ornament-like nest.

And with this focus you can actually see the bird and nest.

Daisy did not join me when I spent a half-day, or 12 hours, in a tiny brick blind with a handsome English intern.  I am only about 30 years older than he, but still felt no need of competition.

Tom, looking for warthogs.

Our visitors at the waterhole included:

Lots of zebra

Many eland

two giraffes and dozens of warthogs.
a few guinea fowl
Lots of kudu (female; males have horns).
Several oryx
Seriously, enough warthogs that I was starting to have uncharitable thoughts about them, expressed in a hiss thusly to Tom:  "Can't we just start shooting them?"  And a single red hartebeest.
I went on safari, for less than 48 hours, and no time for messing about with books.  I had a mind to be blown and photos to take!

Blue wildebeest, or gnu.
Ostriches in quantity.

Elephants, including this charming family

A charming lion family.
And a charming couple intent on beginning a family, if you know what I mean.  Knowing this is a Brighton-free zone, I chose one of the less-racy photos for you.
Herds of springbok, and oh so much more.  Etosha National Park, and I can get you the name of the guide and guide service if you like.

Back at the ranch,

The male hornbill was still feeding his mate, still in her nest.
The logistics of trying to rescue these guys befuddled me incalculably.  Calling Dr. van Zeust!
Also, must confess I love the kitties, and the kitties appreciate a bit of dark-red meat.

That's why the CCF trains livestock-guarding dogs like Taya, who lives amongst goats to protect them from predators.  American Ben and Mariske are cleaning up goat poo, while I down rake for a moment to record the scene.
Of course, if a poor little steenbok wanders past a cheetah...

Unless it's one of these 'human-habituated' cubs, who just like to wrestle each other.

Good bye, Namibia.  Thank you!