Longshadow serenade

Long shadow


You’re never alone. Not in the winter season. There’s always a shadow around.
Sunrise is two hours later and sunset is two hours earlier. It doesn’t sound like much but it’s four hours less sunshine a day or four hours more no-sunshine. Whichever way you prefer.

Far more obvious to me though is the path of the sun through the sky, and you can call me a liar, but I’m not far off when I say that it sets in the north and not in the west.
It rises dead-on in the east, shines into my kitchen, skips the centre of the zenith above entirely, and heads straight for the north. In that process the shadows get no break, being stretched to the limit from dawn to dusk, and then they work overtime deep into the night because the lights are switched on early.

For me, there is something incredibly magical about winter here in South Africa. I mean hey, you can run around barefoot, in shorts and t-shirt most of the time and get a tan and hardly work up a sweat. You can make a lunch time braai and relax because the next thunderstorm is still three months away. And no, a braai is not a barbeque! That is some American grill-thingy using gas, burgers, and sausages. We use wood from our gardens to make a fire and then braai on the coals and the carnivores here eat real meat like beef and not that refined supermarket mash of dubious origin.

It’s the best time of year to see the animals in the bush because the grass has stopped growing and the foliage thins out and everyone enjoys the sunshine.
It’s the safari season.

Far away

Far away

Dormant 4×4 vehicles of all shapes, sizes and descriptions rumble into action, get all packed up and disappear for weeks into the African yonder, somewhere far out. In distant places we sit around campfires sipping Shiraz and Famous Grouse while listening to lions roar, hyenas laugh, elephant trumpet, hippo’s snort, leopards bark and baboon’s wa-hu.
Shiraz and Famous Grouse

Shiraz and Famous Grouse

Idol of any cat

Idol of any cat

We heard him roar all night and finally tracked him down early in the morning. He had killed a baby elephant at night.

The ancient dust of Africa is like an aphrodisiac to the soul and winter is the druggiest time. The mornings might touch freezing and early afternoons can reach +30C (+86F). Such are the extremes that await and bewitch the courageous adventurer.

Another log on the smoldering coals, an old kettle boiling the coffee and puffing away, woodsmoke, and coffee smell, you’ve come to the right address.

Old kettle, fresh coffee

Old kettle, fresh coffee

Unbelievably so the Lion’s Tail or Wild Dagga as it is also called here, Dagga being the local name for Marijuana, is a huge attraction for the most magnificent, colorful Sunbirds.





Obviously, the flowers are intoxicating because the Sunbirds will visit every day and don’t mind that I sit a mere two meters away and watch and wonder if there is more than just a sugar attraction. But the Wild Dagga has very little if any THC and therefore is legal in most countries.
Leonotis leonurus

Sunbird’s heaven, Leonotis leonurus

Winter in these parts of Africa is just summer in another way. It is a Longshadow serenade. Even some of the roses bloom and bees buzz around. While some deciduous trees leaf and the grass might go brown in patches from the morning frost, the sky is a bright, light blue and the clear nights bring infinity onto my doorstep. Did I hear paradise? At least until the next cold front.

South Africa what a beautiful home!

Amethyst-sunbird http://www.wildlife-pictures-online.com
Greater Double-collared Sunbird http://www.theflacks.co.za

rainy season starting

Sooo much water everywhere…not far from Lake Tanganyika
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Close to the source of the Kalungwishi river, feeder to the spectacular Lumangwe and Kabweluma Falls

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Well it’s drying time again I have to air you…this time in Kasanka

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There is something captivating about the rainy season. Something so unbelievable when one has travelled during the dry and dusty winter. It is undoubtedly the most beautiful time of year when nature is so alive with variety and beauty that you are stumped to silence.

You also get wet. Oh boy do you get wet. And muddy. And your vehicle will never be the same again. And everything you ever owned is damp. And there are leaks and drips were never leaks and drips have ever been before. There are so many shades of green you’d think green couldn’t be any greener. Clouds don’t just cover the sky they cover your whole universe and they are so majestic you feel so honoured by their presence even if they bring more rain. And roads are rivulets and and when the sun peeps out you think a miracle has happened.

Forget about the hardship. Forget about wearing shoes. Run around in swimming trunks and windbreaker and hat. Have ten towels close by because each is more wet than the other no matter which one you take. So what! Have you ever experienced something like that? Africa in the rainy season blows various circuits in your brain. It’s something we don’t usually do but we should. The beauty about those latitudes is that it doesn’t get that cold with the rain, still, find your driest wet jacket with hoody for extra comfort. Oh yes, don’t even think of anything less than Mud Terrain tires, diff locks on both axles and a serious winch and umbrellas, biscuits and hot coffee.