A Day in Johannesburg

Posted August 30th, 2010 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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PHOTOS : JOHANNESBURG

VuvuzelasWe landed in Johannesburg airport to the accompaniment of a thousand vuvuzelas.  As South Africa prepared for the World Cup– these vuvuzelas were South Africa’s hope & secret weapon. As one local person pointed out, their strategy is to blast out these vuvuzelas so that the Europeans will be too baffled to play well.  As each flight landed and fans disembarked from the plane, the uproar started all over again with everyone singing their own football anthems.  Amidst the pandemonium, our guide Amos waited for us at the gate.  We had booked a day tour of Johannesburg city through Wilro Travels (recommend it) and they had promised to send us a guide for the day.  Amos was a soft spoken rotund guy and seemed like an oasis of calm after the chaos of the airport. He quickly shepherded all of us to the car, loaded our luggage in the boot and immediately launched into tour guide mode telling us about the city and the places we were going to see. Continue Reading »

All Creatures Big and Small

Posted August 26th, 2010 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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PHOTOS : Inyati Lodge at Sabi Sands , South Africa

The impalas were the most common antelopes and indeed the most common animal that we saw.  They were rather smaller than the common American deer and with three black stripes on their rump forming an M shape – the safari guides called them Mcdonalds!  Impalas move in large herds: each herd consisting of  one stag (with antlers) and about 30+ does and fawns. Once the male kids are grown up enough, they are banished from the main herd and they form their own separate “bachelor clubs”.   Although these young bucks maintain their independence by keeping to a separate group, they tend to stick close to the main herd because there is safety in numbers. Occasionally, during the mating seasons, one of the young males would try to lure a female away from the alpha male.  The “man” of the family is aware of the shenanigans of the youth so he keeps a strict watch on his harem, each time a young male comes too close, he will promptly trot over and nudge the female back into the fold. Most of the times the young males are chastened and go away to indulge in mock fights with the other males.  Occasionally one of the young males might challenge the alpha male for the leadership of the herd and then these mock fights come in handy. Continue Reading »

Safari Camps

Posted August 25th, 2010 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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PHOTOS: Okavango Delta

The highlight of our African adventure was undoubtedly the stay in the safari camps and the game drives at these camps.  We spent three days (and three nights) at the Pom Pom Camp at the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Seejo & I splurged for another three days at the Inyati Game Reserve at the Sabi Sands Reserve (part of Kruger National Park)  in South Africa at the tail end of the trip. In addition we also went for an early morning game drive at Chobe National Park.   Wildlife was abundant in all three places and we were lucky enough to get to see an amazing variety of species.  I found that there was a world of difference in observing an animal in its natural habitat as opposed to the zoo.  It was fascinating to see how each and every creature has adapted to its surroundings and utilizes them as best as it can to either get its food or avoid being food.

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Birds in Botswana and South Africa

Posted August 23rd, 2010 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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I have another post to describe the animals that we saw on the safari, but I thought I should show you the  bird life that we encountered.  Needless to say, variety abounded.   I have tried to name all the species that we saw but I am sure I have a few wrong. I’ll try and update as I get more information.

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1. Spotted Eagle Owl 2. Black-collared Barbet 3. African Scops Owl

4. Pied Kingfisher 5. Bateleur Eagles    6. Crested Barbet

7. African Pied Wagtail

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