It's Good to be Home
After a few challenging weeks dealing with ill health and recovery we managed to visit David's favourite South African reserve, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. BUT it is really lovely to be back home.
We had an great time away with some excitement in the park with a few more snakes than I would've preferred in our surrounds. Beautiful as they are (and I can't really describe them as I usually turn away and shut my eyes) they are not my favourite creatures to view or photograph. Over the years we've had some very close encounters with snakes. A King Snake in Ecuador (VERY large, very close-where I sat gazing up the River Nigre gripping the wooden bench in the canoe while everyone piled out to photograph). A Black Mamba in Botswana where we camped under the tree in which he lived. (I stood in a fire - really I did - as the snake swept through the camp raised onto his tail). To this day I don't know where his head landed as one of the rangers decapitated him to keep us safe. We had a pair of Mozambique spitting cobras at our bush home (I stood behind a gauze door and then rushed to get a shot gun slipping and gashing my chin open on the way). This trip more Cape cobras, puff adders and goodness knows what else in the Kgalagadi...some even at the picnic spot and in a tree near our accommodation. So call me a sissy, but I am very happy to turn my face in denial (window up of course) and frozen in place and love being back in my green 'safe' garden at home.
Because of the beautiful rains (more than double the normal rainfall) the red dunes are covered in grass which is tall and seeding. This makes game viewing a challenge. But the open spaces and never ending vistas are as breathtaking as ever.
We managed to see lion and had a very close encounter with these majestic creatures who are so disdainful as they walked past the vehicle without a blink of their amber eyes. We saw a twitch of the left ear of a leopard under a tree on top of a ridge and two cheetah lying flat under a tree. The plains game were as rewarding as always- gemsbok, springbok, wildebeest and red hartebeest were numerous, glossy and sleek.
A trip to the Kgalagadi is never restful, but always thrilling. With the temperature no hotter than 36 degrees, we had a grand time.
The trip home was was more dramatic as we stripped two tyres on the road between Uppington and Oliphantshoek but were helped by four charming men who couldn't have been kinder or more helpful. Fortunately we travel with two spare tyres so all ended well on that count. As we were standing on the verge a flurry of Ferraris and Porches flashed passed us and the air almost pushed us against our vehicle with the speed they were traveling. It was most hair raising as I am sure they did not notice us at all, especially as they were racing 3 astride at some points. But we survived and were most relieved to get into our solid and reliable Subaru to travel at the regulatory speed back home.
I didn't have the much wanted time to be creative but I did manage to write every day and completed my first outreach blanket of the year. I'm hoping to make at least 3 and number 2 is on the needles so things are looking good on that front.
Today I sat quietly looking at our surprisingly green garden and marvel that we are still only on the edges of autumn.
It's good to be home with Helen popping in with tea and a shower AND a bath 'on tap' if needed.
My creative gear is back where it needs to be and all is good with the world.
As always thank you for another splendid trip David.