Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Xmas and a Happy Two-zero-one-zero

This is Africa calling....

Are you still there, Legion of Fans (LOF)? If you are you shouldn't be... get off the internet and go have a Christmas drink with your loved ones.

Regular-commenter, Ali G, and Mother Blog are here with Mrs Blog and me for Christmas. They seem to be having a good time, having spotted leopard, painted dog (a pack of 18), lion, hyena, elephant, buffalo, rhino and a host of grass and tree eaters.

They were last seen heading north in the Kruger Park, South Africa, towards Shingwedzi Camp in search of Cheetah. Hopefull they will make it back... if not there will be more roast pork, chicken and booze for Mrs B and me.

We have pictures by the hundred to post and I am sure Ali G is keen to show the world his new found talents as a photographer so I am going to ask him to be a guest poster very early in the new year.

Myself, I will be out of regular email contact for quite a while. I'll pop on when I can, but Mrs B and I are heading, in this order, to Kenya (Mombasa), Tanzania (Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park), and Zimbabwe (Kariba and maybe Mana Pools) in January/February. None of these countries is known for its excellent interent connectivity.

I will, however, hopefully squeeze out a new year's newsletter in early jan, before I leave South Africa, which will include details of the next TP (that's Tony Park, not Toilet Paper) Safari, due to depart for South Africa in May, 2010.

So, on that note, to all of you from all of us (me, Mrs B, Ali G, Mother B and Broomas and Tonka the Land Rovers) have a safe and merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

(And on a mildly serious note, please spare a thought for the many Australian servicemen and women posted abroad this holiday season)

x

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Shoo!

Shoo! Getaway from here to Getaway Magazine, and read my latest blog there.

Don't forget to leave comments. I want the people at Getaway to think I'm famous, so that one day they'll send me on a hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara, or to a B&B in Bloemfontein, or something exotic like that.

There'll be another post there soon... a very controversial one with lots of racism and xenophobia. You'll love it.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Snap slide show

Yes, Legion of Fans (LOF), it's another slide show because, you guessed it, I can't think of anything else to write. Thank God for the Kruger National Park and its abundant wildlife and photo opportunities (and I know you really only come here for the pictures).

Work-wise, I am now at Page 176 of the new novel (nearing half way), and have completed my edits and re-write of the top secret second non-fiction book. This, thankfully, has been well received by my very good friends at Macmillan Australia.

If you've been having trouble getting hold of a copy of one of my earlier books in South Africa (and I know a couple of you have, because you've told me), rest assured that resupplies are on their way, via airmail, from Australia following a bit of a glitch in the supply chain system.

I do, actually, have some interesting stuff to write, but the swimming pool and cold beer at Skukuza Rest Camp are beckoning, so here are a few pics, instead.

If you think this bird looks odd, you should see him in the flesh 'n feathers. He is (I think) a black-bellied Korhaan. His call is a series of quacks followed by a noise that is - and I kid you not - exactly like a cork coming out of a wine bottle. To impress the ladies, during the mating season, he flies up into the air and then stops, mid-flight, like he has been shot, and then tumbles to earth as though he is dead. As with so many things in Africa, truth is stranger than fiction.

It's rootin', tootin' and fightin' season in the African bush, LOF, and everyone is at it everywhere. All of our major grass and leaf eaters are popping out babies left right and centre and that's as good a cue as any that it's time for some sex again.
Who asked for the Zebras? Ah, yes, Mr Shamrock Safari - he of the Zebra-painted Land Rover. Here are a couple of feisty stallions testing each other out to see who will have the honour of getting the most piggy back rides in the next few months.

The rainy season is good for raptors, which is what twitchers call killer birds. Mrs Blog and I, we just call them killer birdies. I snapped this chap just after he had finished a meal of Chameleon a'la mort du rue. He's some sort of eagle (I usually say Tawny Eagle, to people who know less about birds than me, when I don't know what type of raptor I'm looking at). I stand to be corrected (by Kathleen, I suspect, if she is still out there).
Anyhoo, this chap had a Black Breasted Snake Eagle (I do know that one), circling enviously and greedily above him. The Snake Eagle swooped this guy a couple of times. In the end, the bird above woofed down his Chameleon in one big bite. He had to waddle around on the road a bit after that (I know how he feels - indigestion is a bitch), before taking off in front of my camera lens.


"I could eat you, if I chose," this young fellow is saying to me, as I sat in Brumas the Land Rover, just metres away from him, "but I know I'd get in trouble for eating a tourist, so I only eat Mozambican illegal immigrants."
"Oh, sorry.... didn't see you there," (because like all rhinos he is half blind and therefore ludicrously easy for poachers to kill), "would you like to take my picture?"
Big, friendly, slightly daft, overweight, short-sighted and sporting an enormous horn. Is it any wonder why I identify so easily with the White Rhino, LOF?