On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com

 

This Friday is a compilation of a few submissions, all from the same series. I apologize if I got something out of order. I’m thrilled to see so many pictures of Africa, land of my birth. I’ve been blessed with two trips to sub-Saharan Africa, both in the early 1980’s. Luckily on one I got to South Africa and saw where I was born. I was disgusted and horrified by Apartheid and hated being there.  I did have some adventures and those travels shaped me. If you ever have the chance to go to Africa – any part – do it! It will change and enrich you immeasurably.

Have a wonderful day and weekend, and enjoy the pictures!

 

Today, pictures from valued commenter Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes.

The Okavango Delta is a geographic oddity that is formed due to uplifts in the Rift Valley. Essentially, during rainy season, streams originating in Angola get backed up due to having no place to go.

Over 96 percent of the water in the Delta ultimately gets lost to evaporation; the air is very dry, but the water that does pool and stream is life giving and the fuel of great migration.

We visited two areas of the Okavango – the first is along the Khwai, which is somewhat less extensive.

Taken on 2018-10-15 00:00:00

This leopard actually walked right up to the vehicle. I loved this photo for the carefree yawn.

Taken on 2018-10-15 00:00:00

Staying on the yawn theme, this guy was drawing my attention away from the leopard

Taken on 2018-10-16 00:00:00

This little girl was with her mother and aunt. She was super interested in us, while the adults could care less. She was trying to come closer, but mama cuffed her and made her stay.

Taken on 2018-10-16 00:00:00

This youngster was munching a squirrel when we pulled up.

Other stupid squirrels were squealing at it, gathering attention. As we sat there, it climbed the tree, leaped out and snagged another squirrel midair. There’s some lesson somewhere.

Taken on 2018-11-16 00:00:00

No description necessary

All photos in Khwai were October 14-17, or thereabouts

These guys were everywhere

Too feral for domestication

Life is great…

I loved watching this baby – so much personality.

The night before, we came upon an entire pack – including babies. Problem was, they were impossible to photograph without flash, and I didn’t want to risk it.

Next stop was the Eagle Island Lodge, in the heart of the Okavango Delta. This environment is decidedly wet, and game drives are done by pontoon, speedboat or the traditional dugout canoe called the makoro. All photographs October 17-19, or thereabouts.

While on a helo ride (fantastic time – the diversity of life and the numbers of large animals in the Delta are apparent), we saw these two idiots fighting while that kinda large croc was edging in for a meal. Eventually, they noticed it and moved off about 15 yards before resuming their pissing contest.

We had the pilot orbit for a bit just for the action.

These guys fill an important role – their churning and eating keeps the channels of the Delta open.

I had a lot of pleasure trying to capture them in flight

Elephant population was high

About 20 live in a nearby tree

Following our experiences in the Delta, we took another bush flight, dirt airstrip to dirt airstrip, flying to the heart of the Kalahari. Conditions were far more primitive there – no AC, no private plunge pool, and the only pool was shared with elephants at 115 degrees F in the daytime.

All photos 10/19 to 10/21

All of these people appear to survey their surroundings at all times for useful plants or potential meals

Both humans and elephants get moisture from these tubers

These people are still hunter gatherers. They hunt with poison arrows and spears, their protein coming from antelope, small game, fowl, termites and scorpions. They genuinely live off the land, and are healthy, well fed and happy. They speak in clicks, and are eager to share their knowledge of survival.

Kobra was the last member of the original clan in the area.

This guy loves to hunt – he’s got generations of knowledge on it

Meerkats!

They’re out for two hours every morning to hunt grubs, scorpions and bugs (they hit their holes to escape heat). They’re chatty, oblivious to people, and really eager to make for the highest point they can get to in order to scout.

About the only thing they were bothered by was a predatory bird overhead.

They also might be content to stay there awhile.

He’s happy…

They come very close

Alternatively titled “Dutch Master paints Meerkat in Profile”

Nothing better than a woman in a hat to scout…

 

Thank you so much Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes, do send us more when you can.

 

Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.

 

One again, to submit pictures: Use the Form or Send an Email






26 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    Mary G says:

    Those are spectacular! What a great vicarious adventurer I am becoming. At one point in 80s or 90s I was bedridden for some months and became addicted to Animal Planet, especially Meerkat Manor, so it’s a thrill to see them climbing you both. You’re great photographers.

  3. 3
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    Now I know where I stopped uploading – I’ve got material from the Makgadakgadi Pans, Cape Town and Madikwe Hills game preserve yet…

  4. 4
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @Mary G:

    Than you! We were huge Meerkat Manor fans – they’re neat little creatures, the juveniles sqeak constantly.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    TS (the original) says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: These are wonderful, keep them coming.

  7. 7
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Good stuff and a great safari.

    These guys fill an important role – their churning and eating keeps the channels of the Delta open.

    Hippo shit is also a very important part of the aquatic food chain.

    These people are still hunter gatherers. They hunt with poison arrows and spears, their protein coming from antelope, small game, fowl, termites and scorpions. They genuinely live off the land, and are healthy, well fed and happy. They speak in clicks, and are eager to share their knowledge of survival.

    If you haven’t yet, watch The Gods Must be Crazy. Too funny.

  8. 8
    Sab says:

    No jackals?

  9. 9
    satby says:

    What a great trip that must have been! Fantastic photos!

  10. 10
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I was trying to describe that movie to the Countess while we were in Botswana – the tribesman was San, and the story over the top.

  11. 11
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @Sab:

    Jackal photo is in my next group to be uploaded. That thing was neat.

  12. 12
    Sab says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: I am satisfied with the hyena photo. Also, I didn’t think I could like meercats more than I did, but now I do.

  13. 13
    Albatrossity says:

    Fantastic images! Thanks for sharing so many of them, and please share more!

    And Alain is right; once you visit Africa it gets into your blood. I’m still scheming to try to figure out ways to get back there. If you have never been there, and have a chance to get there, take it.

  14. 14
    debbie says:

    Damn is right! Each photo is better than the one before it. Aren’t yawns supposed to mean the animal is trying to get you to believe they’re not concerned about your presence?

  15. 15
    Kattails says:

    Was just checking my email and web before breakfast and what a great way to start the morning! I’m grinning without even coffee, thanks so much, great photos.

  16. 16
    Yarrow says:

    Wow, these are amazing! Thanks so much for sharing. The meerkats are hilarious. I don’t know what photo would be my favorite. So many good ones. I really do love the first one, though. The yawning leopard is just fantastic.

  17. 17
    Tenar Arha says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: Thank you. Beautiful photos, & I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of your trip.

  18. 18
    TomatoQueen says:

    Wonderful photos, what a lovely fascinating tour. Loved Elsa and Little Elsa and Handsome Hippo and Flower.

  19. 19
    arrieve says:

    Gorgeous photos — thanks for sharing! I love the leopard.

  20. 20
    eclare says:

    Great photos! I went to Kenya about twenty years ago, what an experience. These photos make me want to go back, but wow, what a flight.

  21. 21
    J R in WV says:

    Just WOW! Thanks so much for sharing this glorious event in your life with us jackals.

    Which travel agency did you use to book the trip? We’re working down our bucket list, deciding which items we still have the ability to pull off without pain and suffering.

  22. 22
    Wag says:

    Fantastic photos! Thanks for sharing. The baby elephant and mercats made my day.

  23. 23
    eclare says:

    @J R in WV: Go. The only issue is the flight, and you can get drugs for that. When I went to Kenya, I used an agency and got a package deal, everything included, which was much cheaper and easier than doing it on your own.

  24. 24
    EricNNY says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: Thanks for those Le Comte! Awesome.

  25. 25
    Miss Bianca says:

    Uh…yow.

    (“safari” moved up higher on bucket list)

  26. 26
    suezboo says:

    Wonderful pictures, Comte. Thank you for reminding me how lucky I am to share a continent with leopards and meerkats.

Comments are closed.