Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hyaena People of Nigeria

Photographer Pieter Hugo writes:
"A few weeks later I was on a plane to Lagos. Abiola met me at the airport and together we took a bus to Benin City where the ‘hyena men’ had agreed to meet us. However, when we got there they had already departed for Abuja. In Abuja we found them living on the periphery of the city in a shantytown - a group of men, a little girl, three hyenas, four monkeys and a few rock pythons. It turned out that they were a group of itinerant minstrels, performers who used the animals to entertain crowds and sell traditional medicines. The animal handlers were all related to each other and were practicing a tradition passed down from generation to generation"

Photo Credits: Pieter Hugo
According to the Hyaena Specialist Group in their article The Truth About Hyaenas: debunking hyaena myths:

"Although a few people in Africa and Asia find very young hyaenas in nature and raise them as pets, these animals generally appear to be extremely unhappy as “domestic companions” as adults, and must often be kept muzzled at all times so that they do not harm people or property.

A muzzle prevents the hyaena from being able to groom itself properly. As spotted hyaenas need several years of practice to become proficient hunters, and as they are deprived of this practice when reared as pets, it is effectively a death sentence for a captive-reared hyaena to be released into the wild.

In addition, pet hyaenas cannot be released for fear that they might transfer new pathogens from captive environments into the wild. Upon reaching adulthood, many "pet" hyaenas must therefore be euthanized."


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Caracal - Caracal caracal

Image Credit: Unknown
From Big Cats Online:

'The Caracal in appearance resembles the Lynx in having characteristic dark tufts on its large, pointed ears and is indeed often referred to as the African Lynx or Desert Lynx, however the caracal is not closely related to the true lynx species.

Extending the visual comparison, the body of the caracal is slimmer and less stocky, its legs are thinner and its tail longer than the Lynx. It can grow up to 3 feet in body length and sport a tail about a third of its body size.

The name Caracal is derived from the Turkish word "karakulakâ", meaning "black ear".

In hunting, the caracal is mainly nocturnal, but will also use the twilight hours to search out its prey. The caracal is also well known for using its agility and superior jumping ability to catch birds just after take-off.'

Image Credit: Unknown
These beautiful cats are rarely seen in the wild, I've never encountered one. My daughter is proud of the fact that she's seen them five times whilst she was working as a tour guide in the Etosha Pans in northern Namibia. I must admit, I'm pretty impressed with her ability to spot well camouflaged animals in the bush, even when she's driving ...

Here's a link to a post I did on some photo's she took of Caracal Orphans


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Succulents on the Desert Coastline

OneStonedCrow Pics
Succulents On The Namibian Coastline

After the good rains in 2006, the usually drab coastal area near Luderitz was transformed by the appearance of these succulents. Unfortunately I arrived about a week too late to catch them at their best. They look like they're made out of plastic hey?

More in my photo album


Monday, December 28, 2009

Dinosaurs and Paleontology

Luis V. Rey's Dinosaurs and Paleontology

An outstanding website of dinosaur art here - follow the links for more images and loads of information.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Louis MacNeice - Prayer Before Birth

Prayer Before Birth
I am not yet born; O hear me.
Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the
club-footed ghoul come near me.

I am not yet born, console me.
I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me,
with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me,
on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me.

I am not yet born; provide me
With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk
to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light
in the back of my mind to guide me.

I am not yet born; forgive me
For the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words
when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me,
my treason engendered by traitors beyond me,
my life when they murder by means of my
hands, my death when they live me.

I am not yet born; rehearse me
In the parts I must play and the cues I must take when
old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains
frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white
waves call me to folly and the desert calls
me to doom and the beggar refuses
my gift and my children curse me.

I am not yet born; O hear me,
Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God
come near me.

I am not yet born; O fill me
With strength against those who would freeze my
humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton,
would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with
one face, a thing, and against all those
who would dissipate my entirety, would
blow me like thistledown hither and
thither or hither and thither
like water held in the
hands would spill me.

Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me.
Otherwise kill me

Louis MacNeice


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Drive My Car

At last week's Desert Dash we were waiting for the riders to arrive at a checkpoint - Suddenly this dude appeared from nowhere, 'driving' his home-made wire car ...

I barely had time to snap a shot as he passed me and disappeared off down the road. I looked around and it seemed that nobody else had even noticed him. I've seen kids pushing these kind of cars around but never a grown man - here's a closer view of his vehicle:

The whole scene seemed so surreal - here we were in the middle of nowhere, not a farmhouse or village in sight - a group of well equipped high-tech four-wheel drive vehicles - and this guy casually strolling in the heat ... I wonder what was on his mind, where did he come from and where was he heading?

When I look at the pic, that old Beatles song runs through my head:

"Baby, you can drive my car, yes I'm gonna be a star,
Baby, you can drive my car, and maybe I'll love you.
Beep beep mm, beep beep yeh!"


Friday, December 25, 2009

Pentangle - Light Flight

Light Flight
Let's get away, you say, find a better place,
Miles and miles away from the city's race,
Look around for someone lying in the sunshine
Marking time, hear the sighs, close your eyes...

My favorite track from one of my favorite albums. There are a few live versions on YouTube but I chose this one because the sound quality is better.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Abraham Shangala Ngume - Kenyan Artist

Drunk and Happy

War and Peace


Together as One

Abraham Shangala Ngume


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Space Pictures of the Year

An incredible set of Space images from - these are my favorites:

The Cartwheel galaxy as seen by the Galaxy Evolution Explorer's Far Ultraviolet detector, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory - Picture: AP / NASA

The Crab Nebula, one of the most studied objects in the sky. X-ray data from Chandra provide significant clues to the workings of this mighty cosmic "generator," which is producing energy at the rate of 100,000 suns - Picture: AP / NASA

The emission nebula NGC 6164, which was created by a rare, hot, luminous O-type star, some 40 times as massive as the Sun. Seen at the centre of the cosmic cloud, the star is a mere three to four million years old - Picture: NASA

The large galaxy with well defined spiral structure is NGC 5194. Its arms and dust lanes sweep in front of its companion galaxy, NGC 5195. The pair are about 31 million light-years distant - Picture: NASA

Go check out the full set ... how insignificant we seem in the face of this Majesty ...


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Namibia Desert Dash 2009 - Pictures, Images, Photos.


I've uploaded a whole gang of pictures of the Namibia Desert Dash 2009 ...

... Go take a look - you might be in one of them, or somebody you know might be ...

The images have been resized to save space in my picasa account - I'll keep them up for a few months - here are a few:

OneStonedCrow Pics

From Republikein:

'What started out as a challenge between a few friends in 2005, has evolved into one of the premium mountain bike endurance challenges in the world.

The entries for the longest single stage mountain bike race in the world has increased steadily since the inaugural event.

With off-road cycling growing steadily every year, it is clear that the popularity of this event is following suit. Countries such as Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Australia and the United States of America will be represented.'

For more Pictures, Images, Photos - Namibia Desert Dash 2009


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Desert Dash - Namibia 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race

Info from The Desert Dash Homepage:

"You can win it, but you can't beat it. You can catch it, but you can't tame it. The FNB Desert Dash is more than an endurance mountain bike race, it's a wild beast that lures you, challenges you and allows only a few to stay on its back. It's a 340km, 24 hour fight between human and nature, body and mind."

"Navigating the sharp twists and turns of the descent, at one stage dropping 700m in only 10km, will be made even more difficult by the cold and darkness of a moonless night. The next day brings challenges of its own. Temperatures can soar up to 50 degrees Celsius while you cross the arid, rocky monotony of the Namib Desert."

I'll be off-line for a few days because I'm part of the support team for two friends who're taking up the challenge ... I hope I'll survive, I feel exhausted just thinking about it ...

Photo Credits: Unknown

Edit: Link to pics I took at the 2009 Desert Dash


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Awesome Sites To See In Namibia

Visit the Matterhorn of Namibia

See the Oldest Known Meteorite on Planet Earth

Climb the Largest Sand Dunes in the World

View the 2,000 Year Old Welwitschia Mirabilis Plants

What more must I do to convince you folks to visit Nam hey? ... offer free beer 'n chikken? ... or what?

Photo Credits: Unknown

More at: 15 Awesome Sites To See In Namibia