Sunday, December 14, 2008

hippo histrionics

As mentioned earlier, this is the piece of filming I was doing when we were under threat from a hippo in the Serengeti!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

happy birthday

Happy Birthday mate. Miss you.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

tarangire panorama

kili route

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

phurther photos...

kili climb day one in the rainforest

neil and terry kili day one

kili breakfast day two

kili day two - porters' trail

kili day three - terry in the trees

kili day three landscape

kili day three landscape

the breakfast wall

neil resting kili day four

kili trail day four

hippo pool lake manyara

acacia thorns - detail

the beloved baobab

dik-dik tarangire national park

stonetown harbour zanzibar

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

safari collage

olduvai gorge panorama

more olduvai gorge info here

more zanzibar...

stonetown waterfront

Chlorocebus pygerythrus - prettier than its name
(vervet monkey)

six o'clock dhow

stonetown crumbling away

crumbling abstract

yellow prisoners

upwards abstract

tabletop abstract

corrugated abstract


OK - I admit it. I don't like Singapore.

The suburbs look like a giant lego town and the city is basically one massive shopping mall.

I have been there about 4 times now but to be honest never for longer than one day.

It's just that it's! It feels like Disneyland rather than a city. I feel no soul there, it's as if the plastic wrap has just been taken off.

I spent 11 hours there on my way home. I wandered around the Orchard Rd area watching the general public overloaded with shopping bags for several hours, tormented shopkeepers by window shopping but not going inside. Then finally went to the movies to kill a couple of hours. ("Blindness" - don't rush, it makes you wish you were)

It doesn't help the place that it is usually the last stopover before getting home, which doesn't really help enamour the city to one.

However, their train system makes Sydney's look like Kazakh State Rail.

Monday, October 27, 2008

kili summit glacier

panorama of a glacier at the summit of kilimanjaro
*click to enlarge

Thursday, October 23, 2008

random zanzibar

Some random pics from around Zanzibar:

small sails




dhows at sunset

i wondered why there were no cows


world game

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


diving has been a blast.

I've taken to it like a to..err

Anyway, I have now completed 12 dives, 6 in the north at Nungwi - the very northern most tip of Zanzibar (BTW the post heading is a diving joke)and the other 6 off the coast of Stonetown, the capital city of this small but historically important island.

I left Neil to fly home at Kilimanjaro airport and flew direct to Zanzibar, heading straight to Nungwi. As soon as I arrived and had lunch, the dive centre started me on the dive theory. More study?

back to school

The following morning I was in the water practicing my fin pivots, BCD underwater removal, signing, etc etc. By the end of the 3rd full day I had passed the course.

getting in the BCD can be tricky

ready to go

out the front of my bungalow

safari time

tanzanian landscape

A six day safari in hindsight was a little too long.

I won't bore you with loads of chat about Zebras, Giraffes and Lions, or post a plethora of pictures of same. You all know what African animals are like and as most of us have been exposed to the wonders of David Attenborough, my own collection of photos is embarrassingly amateurish.

zebra crossing (groan...)

But in a nutshell, Neil and I began at a place called Lake Manyara which gave us our first glimpse of Hippos, Gazelle, Monkeys and also Elephants up close. It was here that we had a baby elephant getting a little stroppy and practicing being aggressive with us. It would advance towards our landrover stamping its feet and shaking its head and then turn scaredy cat and run into the bushes. Shortly after it would emerge and do the same thing. Very endearing.

From Manyara we took a long drive via Olduvai Gorge where they found the earliest hominid footprints,

olduvai gorge

out into the Serengeti. It was here we saw our first leopard.

It was also here that I was chased by a hippo.

We had gone out around 6am for an early morning game drive. We found ourselves at the hippo pool, which also happens to be one of the few places you are allowed out of your vehicle. The pool is a couple of metres down a muddy slope - far too steep for the unwieldy beasts to scale. But to one side there is a cluster of thick bushes, and when we stopped the landrover a large hippo suddenly emerged from the bushes to within a few metres of us and bellowed at us before disappearing back into the undergrowth.

After a short while it seemed like the animal had wandered back down to the pool.

So we left the car and I wandered over to the muddy bank overlooking the pool. I decided to use the 'film' option on my camera for the first time as the hippos were moving about and yawning a lot.

I began filming when suddenly I heard our guide yell "Hippo....RUN!!"

I spun around, took a step, slipped in the mud, hit the ground, sprang up, lost a shoe - hesitated between saving my shoe or saving my life for several minutes, then finally made it back to the car.

By this time, said hippo had given up on us as a bad joke and gone back to bathing. My camera was still running, and when I played it back to our guide he was weeping with laughter. I will try and post the video when I get home.

hippo pool

After Serengeti we went to Ngorongoro crater, where we rounded up our 'Big Five' (Lion, Leopard, Water Buffalo, Elephant and Rhino) by spotting (from a distance) the Black Rhinoceros.

From Ngorongoro we then headed to a Bushman's camp. These bushmen are different from the Masai, and live a far more basic and nomadic life. They sleep on animal skins and do not build shelters except in the 'wet', and appear to keep no possessions except minimal clothing, weapons and (I'm guessing) a few pots for water and cooking.

We joined a small group of men for an early morning hunt. Not the most ideal adventure for a vegetarian. Fortunately, big game is scarce this time of year so their hunt consisted of a solitary bird for the time we were with them. (Not so fortunate for said bird).


But it was fascinating to watch one of the men making an arrow when we first arrived.

Finally, our last game drive was at a place called Tarangire. This was another park that gave us more of the same.

dusty and tired

One of the things that I was particularly struck by were the baobabs. These magnificent trees were sometimes enormous in scale, and were currently without their foliage. Their stark silhouettes against the darkening African skies is an image I will long remember.

beautiful baobab