Eek!!

Well, some interesting happenings around here. Went out to the parking lot the other morning and found snake tracks there. To say I’m not too thrilled is an understatement. Especially since I think it’s taken up residence in a pile of reeds that the guys put right at the bottom of the stairs to the computer room.

Other interesting tracks in the parking lot too, one that I think might be a lizard, as it’s a lot of little footprints with a tail drag mark down the centre – and some fairly large paw prints. Pictures below if the computer allows.

One of the great things is the bird baths, which seem to be used more by the nyala to drink from than the birds. One is about two feet from the stairs here, and the nyala are getting used to me coming out and turning on the tap to fill it, and will let me come right to the top of the stairs before they run. One has learned to turn her head and drink right from the stream of water from the tap if I leave that running. Gotta get some video of that.

Went out lion monitoring Friday morning. One lion in each group will be collared so that they can be kept track of, as folks have to work in the reed beds where they like to nap, and also walk in from the gate to get to work sometimes. The GPS “heard” a lion in the reed beds that was on the move, so the reed cutters couldn’t work that day.

At Kozi, where I went on Wed., the local folks had taken down the electric fence put up by the Parks workers, and then a hippo got into a living area and killed an elderly woman. Then they tried to blame the Parks Service!!

Here in the park where I am, three young male lions had been travelling together, and two have disappeared. Rumour has it that they were seen in the back of a truck, dead, and on their way out of the area. It’s sad, as they are so regal and imposing. Pictures and video don’t do any of the animals justice when it comes to their presence that you feel so strongly when they are right in front of you.

One picture I missed when I first got to Durban, was of an old woman in the bus station. She was wearing a head scarf of various shades of mauve and white, and argyle knee socks with the diamonds in purple and mauve. I just didn’t have the nerve to ask if I could photograph her. I sure regret it now.

I’m alone at the camp now – all the other volunteers have left, so it’s just Oscar and I – and he’s gone for supper with Brent, one of the parks workers that is around a lot. It’s very quiet and peaceful – and every creak and thump makes me nervous <G>

It was deadly hot yesterday and didn’t get below 70F all night, so maybe my body will start adjusting to the heat now. Hope so, as it looks to be getting hotter by the day.

The “thumbnail option seems to have disappeared from the picture upload function, so will have to wait until that’s back again before I load more pics – sorry. I’ve got some good shots too! (It’s back now – don’t know what the hitch was)

I must look like lunch . . .

Fresh from the (mud) bath

Snake tracks

Lizard, maybe?

Ni-i-i-ice kitty . . .

Women pounding maize

Dung beetles - you should see them fly - like little helicoptors!

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1 Comment »

  1. MT said

    Hi, grannym!

    Great lion pic! Did you take it on zoom or were you really that close?
    ** Really that close!! Amazing! But I was safe in the bakkie, thank you. Don’t WANT to be lunch! **
    Really envy you the lion tracking. Love the dung beetles as well. Has your tracker-man told you about ant-lions yet? Sometimes the smallest critters are just as fascinating as the big ones. Could those lizard tracks have been made by a leguvaan (sp.?)? It is a huge lizard thing that likes water but comes out and roams around looking for food. I don’t think they are dangerous to humans, but rather scary if reptiles are not your thing.
    ** These tracks were fairly small. Bigger than what would be made by a little gecko or ‘house’ lizard, but still, probably I’d guess by something which had a body maybe 6″ long (no I haven’t mastered metric very well yet – does that show my age?).
    I love lizards and don’t mind any other kinds of reptiles, as long as they don’t jump out and bite me, and as long as they’re not poisonous. I’m not used to poisonous things, being born and bred Cdn. THAT scares me. **

    (What is your accommodation – hut? rondavel? dorm? safari tent? Are you sleeping under nets?)
    ** A little cabin, just big enough for two single beds with a chair between. There’s a pic on one of my first entries – if you go to the bottom of the page and press and again and so on until you get to the first page, you will see it. Really ‘cute’, very practical, and just fine. No nets, screen door and windows and lots of bug repellant. They’re thinking about nets, but since they spray the park, I don’t think it will happen. **

    Checked out your Durban guesthouse. It’s in a neighbourhood I know well. Lived there while going to U of N long time ago. Mitchell Park is great for a stroll – nice gardens – check out the tortoises – and birds in cages. Also remember a really nice tearoom in middle of park – good fish (kingklip) and chips! Sorry you haven’t had good food experiences where you are. You will in Durban – popular restaurants on Florida Road just around corner from your accommodation. Love the Indian food there as well. There is a dessert that the Afrikaans ladies make called melktart which is a milk tart – found in any good pastry shop – rather like a custard pie – that is absolutely to die for, in my opinion.
    ** Melktart sounds yummy. I absolutely love the Portuguese version I get in Toronto. I’m really looking forward to Florida Road – MyThai has their parking entrance right on it, so great location. I have so many things I want to see and do in Durban, I think that even with 4 days there, I won’t make them all. Mainly, though, the iscathmiya contest at midnight Saturday at the Men’s Hostel near the docks. I think they’ve been holding that for about a hundred years. As that area’s not recommended for tourists, I got in touch with a prof at the Uni, and he will find me some students to chaperone me for the evening.
    Then there’s the bird park, the art gallery, museums, craft markets, botanical gdn – and I have to see that huge shopping centre that has the water park inside. I can’t fathom how something so N American got built here. Of course, I can’t really understand them being built in N America either, but that’s another story.
    And fish!!! I’m dying for some fish. The lodge pantry seems to only stock braai type meats – lots of venison and exotic sausage and so on, along with the standard chicken and pork. It would be fine if I was here for a couple weeks, but two months without fish is going to test me for sure **
    But be safe in the city and follow the advice given you by the locals, no matter how much you want to go off on your own – more to be wary of there than in the bush.
    ** Yep. Not looking for excitement. **

    Enjoy your Sunday in the bundu! Cheers! MT
    ** “bundu””?? Whazzat? And thanks for all your comments and advice. So nice to have. **

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