Permanent Tent at Pom Pom, Botswana

Pampered at Pom Pom

  Teetering as we swung around in the wind our light plane bumped onto the dirt runway at Pom Pom Camp.   After climbing into the open air safari 4wd we made a quick dash down the side of the runway, then parked as the little 4 seater plane taxied and prepared to take off. A necessity…

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Gunns Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Gunns Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana

  Sitting in the early morning splendour of Gunns Camp in Botswana’s Okavango Delta it is easy to feel an overwhelming gratitude in the joy of life and nature. Unfortunately, the refreshed feeling that comes from a restful nights’ sleep just wasn’t there!    All the sounds of the delta seem amplified in the darkness…

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Dry undergrowth crackles underfoot as we saunter in silence, single file through the dense bush of Swaziland's Hlane National Park. A faint crashing in the bush has alerted Africa, our very appropriately named guide, immediately he signals us to freeze. Motionless we stand listening to the initially distant noise as it increases in intensity – it’s clearly headed in our direction. A shadowy gray figure reveals just enough shape to confirm a small herd of elephants is feeding less than 100 metres ahead. Maneuvering for a better view of this picture perfect scene, which is no longer obscured by bush, a massive gray elephant sporting starkly contrasting white tusks stands feeding on the lush surrounds. Her huge ears flap as she rips chunks of grass and leaves with her trunk, inching further toward us with every mouthful. Poor eyesight renders them still seemingly unaware of our presence – Africa who by the way is armed only with a stick signals our retreat of 10 or so metres out of the too close for comfort zone. We watch, shooting photographs and marveling at our situation - we standing without protection just 30 metres from a herd of wild elephants! It is at that moment the matriarch looks up and pushes forward in the bush, raising her trunk she bellows as if to say "I see you, you're in my space..." Africa swiftly gets the message and hurriedly alerts us to evacuate immediately as we dash to the safety. Dry mouthed and hearts pounding we swiftly slip through the two flimsy strings of rusty barbed wire, apparently electrified it is all that protects us from the charge of this angry 6 ton giant of the animal kingdom. She stops and moves on with her companions. Brimming with adrenaline, animated whispering gives way to relieved chatter about our big 5 encounter - topping this will be tough as we creep back through the fence and venture off in search of the next experience. The Royal Hlane National Park has become a haven for Swaziland's wild animals as poachers attempt to hunt down and profit from these natural assets. The hundreds of seized poacher’s traps that sit piled atop each other at the Park entry, serve as a chilling reminder of this brutal and devastating practice. Unfortunately, continued farming and development further encroaches on the lands where wildlife once freely roamed. The Park’s lodge and campground are located in well looked after grounds with the main buildings set on the shore of a huge waterhole. Dripping with natural authenticity it generates a feeling of raw remoteness that is in sync with the environment. It’s definitely worth the visit for a day or two, and the walking safari is a must-do for anyone who has spent most of their time vehicle based game drives.

Elephant Encounter in Swaziland

  Dry undergrowth crackles underfoot as we saunter in silence, single file through the dense bush of Swaziland’s Hlane National Park.   A faint crashing has alerted Africa, our very appropriately named guide, who immediately signals us to freeze.   Motionless we stand listening to what was a distant noise increasing in intensity – it’s clearly headed in…

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Giraffe, Kruger National Park

Cruising around Kruger

    That first glimpse of zebra through the trees fires up the anticipation, while mere minutes later at the park entrance a warthog and 2 babies are cavorting behind the building. This is Kruger National Park, a land which on first impression seems intent on showing off her abundance. As we drive slowly toward…

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Cute Lion Cubs

Africa = WOW

  Just back from a few weeks in Africa and gee, was it amazing.   It’s 20 years since my last visit and I can’t for the life of me work out why I haven’t been back before now.   There’s a lot more to come – thousands of photos and I’m feeling quite inspired…

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Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

The wild man of the forest is one of Borneo’s true highlights. Having an up close and personal experience with one of these beautiful beasts is easy if you head to Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, approximately 30 kilometres outside of Kuching. Established in 1975, the centre has records of 26 orangutans as its residents with…

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Kinabatangan River at Night

The option to take a night safari down the Kinabatangan River from our jungle camp was too good an offer to turn up. Feeling a little uneasy as we pushed off from our moorings into the vast darkness I was somewhat happy when the spotlights were being used to check the waters in front of…

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Proboscis Monkey

These creatures really look stranger than fiction.   Although endangered with only 1000 or so said to exist in the wild they were certainly not difficult to see along the Garama River near Kota Kinabalu or on the banks of the Kinabatangan River near Sukau.     If like the orangutan you want to get a…

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Turtle Island

  Being a little disorganized prior to arriving in Borneo is quite natural for me so I guess I should not have been surprised when I contacted the Turtle Island agent in Sandakan (Crystal Quest) and was told that the island was fully booked for the coming 10 days.   Given the option of just…

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Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary

  These gorgeous animals have such character and personality it becomes easy to see very human expressions in their behaviour.      Sepilok was established in 1964 to assist in the rehabilitation of orangutans who had been orphaned or captured.   The aim of the program is to teach them how to live and survive in…

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Great Ocean Road

  The Great Ocean Road is one of Victoria’s premier attractions and it certainly doesn’t disappoint.   Kilometre after kilometre of highway hugs the rugged coastline, dips off into pristine rainforest or traverses lush farmlands.   The result is a constant stream of awe-inspiring vistas.   The ultimate way though to get the most out of…

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