Tuesday, January 18, 2011

See You After A While ...

Hello Friends, tomorrow I return to the north again - I'll be off-line for about six weeks - in the mean time, a couple of random pics which I haven't been able to fit in elsewhere:

This appears to be the wheelhouse of an old fishing trawler at Mariner's Wharf, Hout Bay, South Africa - I think it's meant as a joke.

A sign at the Namibian Immigration Control at the Noordoewer border post with South Africa - I guess it's supposed to warn long-distance Truckers about the danger of AIDS - many women earn a living as prostitutes catering to the drivers in towns along main roads in Namibia - I know of one fatal accident which occurred when the truck driver was engaged in hanky-panky instead of keeping his eyes on the road.

A Namibian scene burned onto Kudu leather by H Vrey - his work is well known in Namibia - I was a bit upset with him once, many years ago - he also makes leather crafts and, when he measured me for a hat he told me I had the biggest head he'd ever seen ... :)

A toy lion (or is it a monkey?) clinging to the side of a car - there was one attached to each side of the vehicle.

An aircraft leaves a vapor trail over the desert at sunrise - not a common sight and, whenever I see one, I wonder about the people aboard and their lives ...

I'm hoping for a good rainy season when up North and looking forward to seeing Stoffel again and how much Spirit has grown - he'll still be too young for the snip though.

These last two months, having a broadband internet connection, I've been engaged in the Wikileaks saga - I've been lapping up every piece of information I could get hold of and, in a way, I'm a bit sad that I won't be able to follow the drama closely anymore - I believe that these events are of great historic importance.

Still, I take comfort from this interesting BBC Article about information overload and our need to take an 'information fast' occasionally.

I wish you health and good cheer:

Image Credit: Unknown


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Butterflies And A Moth

A few butterflies in my garden in the north:

... and a Moth from the south at the Orange river. This specimen is as big as my palm.

Related Posts:
Some Bugs In My World
More Things That Bug Me


Monday, January 10, 2011

Random Signs Around Namibia

Don't Drink and Drive - a message graphically supported by a dead car - Namibia has a scary road accident record, many of them alcohol-related.

A mobile phone ad intending to convey the message that coverage is possible in even the remotest areas of Namibia - in this case among the pastoral Ovahimba people.

It used to disturb me that people who barely had money for food could afford to walk around with cellphones glued to their ears, until I realized how important communication is in the extended-family lifestyle of most Namibians - cellphones have become a vital support lifeline within this culture.

Sign at the entrance to Erindi Game Reserve in northern Nam - a private enterprise catering to upmarket guests - sadly, I doubt that they'd let me pitch my tent there ... :)

The way to the Sands Casino in Windhoek - gambling was legalized in Namibia some years ago and a few casinos have opened up around the country - I don't gamble and have never been inside a casino but, they seem to be prospering without me.

A billboard advertising a brand of Maize Meal - the staple diet for a large proportion of the populace.

A seal of the National Monuments Commission of Namibia - found on all recognized National Monuments.

Zig Zags - another brand of maize meal.

Lapa Car Wash - I love the Warthog.

Ok, this isn't in Namibia, it's Norvik's Treffpunkt at the Mariners' Wharf in Hout Bay, South Africa - I'm not sure how to translate the sign so I'll just say it's the most 'Southerly Sausage Shop in the World' - popular with German tourists I guess.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Helmeringhausen - The Horse Has Left Town

Sometimes, on my way between north and south Namibia, I take a shortcut along a 230km gravel road. The road is rough in places and, about half-way, I often stop at a small settlement called Helmeringhausen:

This is it - Helmeringhausen ... a 500m stretch of recently-tarred road in the middle of nowhere, with a couple of buildings on either side - I estimate that there are probably not more than 40 permanent residents living here.

Not many photo-ops here so I took a pic of the window at the gas station (we call them 'petrol stations') - I love that sign 'Never mind the Dog, Beware of the Owner' ... I'm not sure why they're so concerned about security; it would be very difficult for any would-be robber to make a getaway - where would he run to?

There's a small open-air museum with some farming implements and other odds 'n ends - this appears to be an old drill-rig used for searching for water in this arid land.

I'm assuming, from a small memorial on the site, that Helmeringhausen was established by the farming community many years ago, probably as a central meeting place and a source of basic supplies.

At the end of the road, a Metal Man directs the thirsty traveler to the hotel and Coffee shop - not that anyone could miss it. Dig those sandals - and one of my favorite trees behind the figurine.

The Coffee Shop, an oasis in the wilderness. It seems that quite a few tourists and tour buses pass through here on their way to more famous attractions like Sossusvlei and Duwiseb Castle.

A colorful straw-bale family greets visitors to the Hotel.

A lone dead car and tree keep each other company in the sun. Any idea what make of car this was?

Another pic of my favorite tree at sunset - I love the symmetry of the crossing branches.

Well, I guess it just goes to show that there's always something to photograph, even in the middle of nowhere. Too bad about the horse though - but, I can't say I blame him for leaving ...

You can see where Helmeringhausen is by clicking on the 'location' link below this post.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Footless And Fancy-Free

A few pics of snakes I've encountered recently:

Stretch Moonman catches a Western Stripe-bellied Sand Snake at the Namutoni Camp in Etosha - quite a feat as this is probably the fastest snake in southern Africa. It's mildly venomous but not dangerous to man.

I was taking pics when he released the creature - it came speeding between my legs before I could focus a shot.

This incident occurred about a hour before our Elephant Adventure.

Back at the Snake park where Stretch is the curator, he took me into the cage containing a Western-barred Spitting Cobra which he coaxed into spreading it's hood and spitting.

Naja nigricollis also injects a potent venom for which there is no anti-venom.

Nadine, a Brown House Snake - Lamprophis capensis - named after one of my two daughters who worked at the Lodge for awhile.

Harmless to humans, the House Snake feeds mainly on rodents, birds and lizards, which it kills by constriction.

A Puff Adder - Bitis arietans - this is the only snake I loathe with a passion, mainly because, unlike other snakes who usually move off when they detect the approach of humans, the Puffy is lazy and just stays lying where it is, often well camouflaged in long grass or under dead leaves - a trap waiting to be stepped on.

It strikes easily and has a potent tissue-destroying venom which can cause terrible disfiguring injuries or death if untreated.

Stretch took a hit from a Puff Adder about four years ago and I took these pics about three days after the incident. I must admit I expected the worst, I thought that he was going to lose his thumb. These are the 'nice' pics - they get worse as the venom spread.

Having witnessed the excruciating pain he went through I have great respect for Stretch - I believe it was only his attitude and mental strength which saved him from losing his thumb and, indeed, his whole hand.

I fear that under similar circumstances I might have cracked.

A Cape Cobra, (not sure of ID), eating eggs after chasing one of my hens off her nest - the bird was lucky because often the Cobra strikes at night, killing the hen when she refuses to move off the nest in the dark.

The snake was lucky too - a few years ago I would have reached for my shotgun, not my camera.

I was alerted to it when the birds started making an unholy racket outside.

See the egg in it's throat? - he got away with two.

Spirit was frolicking around my feet as I was taking pics, unaware of the danger.

Afraid that he'd accidentally pounce on the snake I grabbed him and chucked him into the house - when I returned the snake had disappeared into a thick Privet hedge.

What with snakes, mongooses and bush-cats, it's amazing that I have any chickens left at all.

Related Posts:
Cape Coral Snake - Aspidelaps lubricus lubricus
Horned Adder - Bitis caudalis