South Africa!

I had the great fortune of working in South Africa in September and October of 2001. I found the country to be very beautiful and dynamic. Here a just a few of the pictures and memories I made while there.

I made 2 trips of 2 weeks each to South Africa. These pictures are from the first trip there, highlighted by trips to 2 game parks near Johannesburg and a trip to Sterkfontein Cave, located in the "Cradle of Humanity".

The safari crew leaving the safety of the Krugersdorp Game Reserve compound. The driver's name is Jaques, behind him is Tselane, behind her, Joseph, or as Tselane referred to him, "The Professor." Andy's arm is to the left. The building in the background is a cabin that can be rented for a vacation. The roof is thatched.

Everyone but Andy has spotted the lions!

The lions!

As you can see, we bored him (fortunately!)

This is how close we came to this group of 1 male and 2 females. In an open vehicle, this can be rather intimidating.

Our trusty ride. The seats weren't well padded.

This was at Rhino and Lion Nature Preserve. Lions, and cubs, sleep alot!

During the self-guided drive, this is the Lion compound. Now you can see why being so close in an open vehicle was so dangerous.

The pride, all gathered in the shade.

Preparing to head home later the same day.

These pictures are from my second trip. The highlight of this one was a daylong trip to Pilanesburg National Park and Sun City.

I just had to take a picture of this. The urinals in nearly every bathroom I "visited" were filled with ice.

The view from my hotel room on this 2nd stay. You can see a thunderstorm is on the way. We also had a hailstorm during this stay.

A rare view of yours truly. This was taken at the entrance to "The Palace" at Sun City. The camera actually continued to work beyond this!

The dome of the entry foyer at "The Palace". It's supposedly very similar to the dome of "Atlantis" in the Bahamas.

A view of one of Sun City's golf courses from the tower of the Palace. I really like the architexture of the building as seen by the Jaguars standing guard over the palace.

A view of the rest of Sun City from the tower. Beyond the hills is the world's richest known deposits of platinum and other precious metals. Sun City and the Pilanesburg National Park are located in an ancient volcanic mountain that exploded some billion years ago. The purple colors in the trees in the foreground are Jacaranda trees.

This is an actual size, bronze casting of an elephant who used to live in the Pilanesburg National Park. I wish I could remember his name. What is significant about this elephant is the size of his tusks, the largest known tusks on an elephant. As you can see, both he and the tusks were enormous. Pictured here are my fellow employees, Ian and Kim, both from the UK.

This is Timba, our guide on the 3 hour game drive we went on at Pilanesburg National Park. Not as well known as Kruger National Park, Pilanesburg is newer and still making its reputation as a top game observing destination.

This rifle constituted our protection during the drive. The 4x4 truck we rode on seated about 25 and had canvas sides and top.

A view of some wildlife in the park.

A Waterbok.


More wildlife. Actually, I've forgotten what these are.

Zebra! The pattern of stripes on a zebra is like a human's fingerprint; no 2 are ever alike.

Wildebeast (I think!)

The park was enormous and seemed to contain many different terrains.

My terrible lion pictures. It was nearly dark when we came across them and it added a great deal of difficulty to taking pictures. There are 2 lionesses here. The bright spots are flash reflections off the lioness' eyes.

This is the best of my pictures. They came to within about 10 yards of our 4x4's.

Stretching out. The lioness looked awesomely powerful when she did this.

Another view, she was looking away unfortunately.

She finally looked my way, but I was moving.

After dark, the park seemed to come alive. This is the only picture that came out of a a moment like that found on "Wild Kingdom". The rhino that is highlighted by the spotlight is a female who has a suckling baby behind her, feeding. The rhino to the left is a male who would creep close to the female, nearly to her nose, before she would snort and grunt and charge him, causing him to back off. This went on for as long as we sat and watched, maybe 10 minutes. The guide explained to us that the male wanted to mate with the female and would very like kill the her baby, if given the chance, if the baby were not his (he told us it wasn't.) Because the baby wasn't his, the female was protecting it from him. The park does not interfere in nature's business, cruel as it may seem. It started raining heavily during this stop.

Down the road on the left you can see an elephant eating from a tree. It was raining hard here. The line in the picture is the 4x4's radio antenna.

When he realizes we are watching him, he decides he doesn't like being watched and moves off across the road, giving us a great view as he did. This is a young male.

As he walked off, he turned and paused for a few moments, almost as if to study us, or communicate something. The combination of darkness, rain, quiet and a moment like this gave us all time to reflect on our place on this planet.

My ride home, a 747-400. I was happy to be going home but sad that I was leaving. I also wasn't looking forward to the next 22 hours I was to spend on this aircraft to get home. I sat on the upper deck on the row behind the emergency exit.

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