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Monday, November 26, 2012

Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa

In connection with some training in South Africa, we were able to visit Pilanesburg National Park.  We thought we had already seen enough African animals to satisfy, but this experience was incredible!
Right at the beginning of our first trip a leopard was spotted!  Bruce got a shot with our new camera just before it wandered too far away!  Shortly after that we realized our new camera's battery had not been sufficiently charged so we had to make do with our regular Kodak with nothing in the way of a telephoto lens. 

No telephoto lens needed for this elephant who crossed the road right in front of the jeep.  I thought he was smiling, Bruce said he was probably thinking about picking up his paycheck on the other side.

Zebra's were everywhere in large herds.

I can't remember the name of the animal on top of the rock.  You can just make out the rectangular shape on top. 

If you look closely, you can see the Servil between the bushes.  Our guide said it was very unusual to see one as they blend so well with the surroundings.  It was a little easier to see in real life as it was moving.

Beautiful sunset over the savannah....kind of reminded me of home.

We kept spotting things even after dark.  This chameleon was just a light spot in the tree....he was one of our guides favorite things to see and show.
Morning again!  Balloon riding over the park.

After all the big and exciting animals, my favorites are still the guinea hens!

Lots of blue wildebeest around.

Why did the warthog cross the road?  Were there really paychecks on the other side?

Tortoise in the road had to be rescued...guess they like the warmth of the pavement.

Our first good sighting of a Rhino family.

Loved the giraffe!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Munda Wanga

This is the beginning of a tour of Munda Wanga Botanical gardens.  One of the best kept secrets in Zambia.  There weren't many people there on this Thursday afternoon, the park was quiet and peaceful with one beautiful view after another.
Munda Wanga has botanical gardens as well as an animal park.   We just had a few hours to give a tour to Alice MacKay who was visiting from London.  We had all seen animals recently so we went to the botanical garden section.  It was wonderful!  The bird fountain is a Water Eagle.  The national bird of Zambia.

It was one of the first rainy days of the beginning of the rainy season, just a drizzle off and on.   Alice and I shared an umbrella.  Alice was part of a medical team who came from London to do back surgeries here as a humanitarian effort.  They were able to help many people who otherwise would have to live with deformities.    Alice was the only member of the Church on the team.  When the Doctor's went to do the tourist thing, Alice opted to visit the mission and spent one day doing missionary work with the sisters and one day with us.  We really enjoyed getting to know her.

A beautiful pool in the gardens.

These hedges made up a little maze.  I guess like an English garden.  Notice the hose.  They have had to water lately since we are just ending the dry season and it has also been hot this month.

This was the succulent section of the garden.
The grayish green leaves on the bushes next to the path were very soft.  They reminded me of Rabbit's Ear plants at home.

Inviting paths and bridges everywhere!

Bridge over a stream filled with water lilies....gorgeous!

Elder Louthan in front of a stand of bamboo.  Everything looks pretty green even at the end of the dry season.

I don't know the names of these trees.  I will have to get a book for identification.  There are so many flowering trees all over town  and I would love to know their beautiful!

Bird nests in the palm tree.  See the little yellow bird at the bottom of one of the nests.  He is hanging upside down.  They go into their nests from the bottom.....amazing!

Alice showing how big this tree is.....the roots went way out and the limbs on top were massive.  We just saw a small section of the park...we will definitely go back!