Tag Archives: Animals

The Wildlife Capital of the World: Into the Safari Van and onto the Savannah (Part II)

Welcome into Vintage Africa’s zebra-striped safari van, our home for this afternoon’s adventure. No, don’t sit down! You’ll not see anything for the tall grass. Stand up, hold on to the leather-covered bar in front of your seat and look out through the raised roof. We might spot some animals and birds we’ve not seen in the wild before.

See what I’m talking about! Our first encounter is right after driving through the gates into Nairobi National Park. A Baboon family, mom, dad and a baby. Mom and dad are busy examining the grass, looking for something to eat. And the baby is trying to learn this useful skill.

baboon family ud48After a while his curiosity wins. He comes and sits in the middle of the road. Examines us in deep thought.

baboon baby 3 ud48

He looks confused. Not quite sure what to think about us. But then he smiles shyly and has it all figured out. Humans, right?

baboon baby ud48And so we begin our game drive on the curvy, bumpy, red soil trails. They lead us through many kinds of habitats, from forests to savannahs, uphill and downhill. We are lucky as the trails are mostly dry now after last week’s heavy rains.

trail through savannah ud48Soon we spot our first birds in the sky, the African Sacred Ibis. In ancient Egypt, the Sacred Ibis was worshipped as the god Thoth and was supposed to preserve the country from plagues and serpents. The birds were often mummified and buried with pharaohs. They are now extinct in Egypt, but we are lucky to observe their large nesting colony on an island nearby.

sacred ibis in flight ud47

sacred ibis colony ud47See, there are hundreds of birds. Some are building their nests, others just mingling and talking.

sacred ibis ud47And look out to the left! Our next bird is a big one. This male Ostrich walks slowly, but if need be he can sprint up to 45 miles/70 km per hour. The Ostrich’s eyes are large, but they still have a tendency to run into obstacles. Might it be because their brain is really tiny, about the size of the teaspoon?

ostrich UD47And there – three zebras with their striped butts turned our way. They stand up while sleeping so these guys may be taking a nap in the afternoon heat. At least two of them, while the third is standing guard.

three zebras ud48The Hartebeest have also gotten the memo and pose in the same manner. One is curious enough to look at us. Hello there!

hartebeest ud48We continue our journey and soon spot giraffes on both sides of our trail. They are such gracious creatures. And their eyelashes are just gorgeous, don’t you think?

giraffe 1 ud48

giraffe 16x9 ud48The one on the right seems to be sleeping. Amazingly, this world’s tallest animal only needs 10 minutes to two hours of sleep per day. We don’t want to disturb her, so we continue our bumpy journey.

Keeping an eye on the trees, we spot a bird with a spectacular bill. Our guide tells us it’s the African Grey Hornbill, a female. These birds build their nests in tree cavities and “lock the door” with a cement built of mud and fruit pulp while the female is incubating, just leaving a small “key hole” through which the male feeds her.

African grey hornbill 2 ud47When the nest gets too small for the female and the hatchlings, she breaks out and the door is “locked” again. Both parents feed the babies through the “key hole” until they are ready to fledge. Neat.

african grey hornbill ud47Next we spot a Mousebird flying across our trail.  Her long tail looks quite spectacular in flight. She settles down in a tree at quite a distance. Zoom out and you can see her.

mousebird 2 ud47Oh, look there, in the shade on a large tree branch!  A big bird.  Our knowledgeable guide tells us it’s a “dark morph” of a Tawny Eagle only found in Africa and Asia.

Dark morph tawny Eagle B ud47Just up the next hill we can see something shimmering in the sunshine.  A bird with jewel-like colors, a Superb Starling, jumps around in the grass.

superb starling ud47Oh, he gets scared of our rumbling approach and flies up onto a bush at a safe distance from the trail. He’s easy on the eye, isn’t he?

superb starling 3  ud47From the woods we come onto the open savannah. And there’s a Warthog! He’s looking straight at us for a second, decides he doesn’t like what he sees, and runs away into the high grass with his tail up in the air. Just like in the Lion King. Lol.

warthog ud48The antelopes are much braver. These Impalas are pretty close to the trail. The female examines us thoroughly, while the male decides it’s time to cross the trail to be with his lady. She might need some protection after all.

Impala female ud48

impala ud48And that’s when we arrive at our “rest stop”. The restrooms are here, in case you need to use them. I’m staying behind at the van. There are some animal skulls collected from the park on display around a little hut.

animal sculls ud48While we’re taking a break from all the shaking on the uneven trails, I finally spot an animal that doesn’t run away, at least not very fast, an African Spurred Tortoise.

african spurred tortoise ud48And a White-browed Sparrow Weaver approaches our van. She examines me from top to toe and judges me correctly. A harmless old lady.

White-browed Sparrow-Weaver ud47From here we will continue back onto the savannah. Please return to our safari van – in a couple of days. We don’t want to leave you here at the rest stop for too long.

Cheers from the savannah ~

acacia and bushes on the savannah ud48

Why I Became Nostalgic Today (or Guest Post XIV)

Oh – such a beautiful baby! Sniff, sniff…a grandchild…I know, we have one too. Mom is reading blogs again. She’ll be busy in the kitchen for a while…so the laptop is all mine!  As my kind followers may remember, my eye sight is not what it used to be but don’t be fooled, I’m still enjoying myself! I’m not an old goat, although I can fool mom to carry me back home sometimes when we’ve walked a bit far. It’s so nice when I can sit on her shoulder, much better view from up there! Like this morning when we saw all the white birds in the ditch behind the car port.

Today I got a bit nostalgic. I was looking through my photo collection. You know, me as a youngster, me hunting squirrels, riding in the car…and then there were pictures of all my friends.  You now, Amelia girl, King Tashi and cousin Beppe.

Amelia is a Chihuahua. She is very beautiful and lives in north Florida. We get along well…at least when she is not eating all my food, licking my dad behind his ear or diving into my mom’s bed under the covers. Yes, she is wonderful, most of the time, and I miss her. I hope she’ll visit soon again. It always makes my mom and dad so happy because she usually brings the grandchild too.

Tashi is also a good friend of mine. He is a Tibetan Terrier and lives up north, in the capital. He’s very handsome and everybody calls him King! He loves winter and snow and I guess he’s lucky that they have so many blizzards there. I used to live up there too, that’s before I was rescued by mom and dad, and I hated the snow! Couldn’t find any grass to pee on.

Tashi told me that it’s too hot for him right now, like a sauna, he said. He hopes the fall will come soon…he loves the rains too! And of course he has so many attires – for all types of weather! I told him that here in Florida we all go nekkid all the time, he was horrified and I got myself a good laugh…he’s so proper. We are very different, but have so much to learn from  each other.

My cousin Beppe in Sweden is much more similar to me, but bigger! He’s a miniature Poodle.  Miniature! He is huge compared to me and a youngster. He’s about five, I think, hardly out of his diapers. But he loves to travel! He just came back from a trip to Finland. He told me he could run free at grandpa’s place! He also told me that he loved the cruise ship. They had no problems with power, he could watch TV and his toilet worked all the way!

Beppe told me he was carefully monitoring the journey from his state-room window. I’ve only met him on Skype and we’re Facebook buddies, but we like each other and chat a lot. I can’t wait until he shows the fall fashions for poodles again…he’s a model too, you know.

Then I found pictures of myself as a young man….it’s  a pity that dieting is so hard nowadays! I don’t have much hope of getting back to the feather-weight series. Well, one has to enjoy life…oh mom, you’re back already!

Look I’ve just finished your weekend readings…you can go back to the kitchen and cook me something good. I was just thinking about food…haff a tasty weekend y’all!

Five Meetings


Appealing topics

conference is in progress

hear the great speakers.


Family Reunion

All accounted for

aunts, uncles, kids, elderly

nothing beats kinsfolk.



Butt to butt we stand

united against the world

our course is winning.


Afternoon High Tea

Quickly catching up

a little gossip won’t hurt

must know the latest.


Meeting by Chance

Hi handsome stranger!

Having a meal or a drink?

Maybe we should date?

A Review of Watering Holes

Watering holes are gathering places where the thirst is quenched. They are of many different kinds, frequented by many sorts of patrons. It might be useful for your weekend plans to review some of them (for additional information hover you mouse over the authentic illustrations).

Sometimes these places are truly beautiful, with soothing lightning and all-round peaceful surroundings. You may observe extended families having a nice pit stop. Parents, grandparents, kids, aunties, uncles and cousins are peacefully enjoying refreshments before continuing on their journey.

Sometimes watering holes cater for solo visitors too. These guys are usually in a hurry and just stop for a short drink after the day’s work. At times they may appear nervous, like they’d be expecting an unpleasant patron to enter at any time. So they never linger at their tables for long, it’s usually in and out as fast as possible.

They don’t seem to be aware of the fact that watering holes are usually being monitored to avoid unnecessary trouble. In the more old-fashioned places there are live monitors instead of cameras. The  latter are only brought in by visitors. These monitors usually blend smoothly into the backgrounds and therefore are seldom spotted by the patrons, even the frequent ones.

It may also be that some watering holes appear to be fancy and of high-class, offering perfect surroundings for peaceful refreshments. But the looks may be deceiving. These watering holes are frequented by dangerous patrons, armed to the teeth. And they are almost impossible to spot. An unsuspecting visitor may just drop in to have a drink in the evening, never to be seen again. Needless to say, these watering wholes should be avoided whenever possible.

Other times the visitors at a watering hole may enjoy the dance floor at length, only to discover that someone else is now sitting at their table. Enjoying themselves and watching the show with eagle eyes.

Some evenings a watering hole can be truly popular. Maybe there’s a happy hour at five p.m.? The visitors have to elbow themselves upfront. It’s completely fully booked, standing room only. Unless patrons select to sit on someone else. That’s usually allowed in these situations.

And unfortunately there are always watering holes where some patrons overdo it. They don’t only have a drink, but they literally get mud in their eyes.

But luckily there are still a few watering holes that offer a truly safe and tranquil ambience for everyone’s enjoyment. They mirror life at its best. And they provide serene and peaceful environs with plenty of refreshments.

Hopefully this review was helpful to you in selecting the type of watering hole you may want to visit. Have a great weekend!