Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Zimbabwe Votes Today.

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Prayers for Zimbabwe today as its people go to the polls today to vote for the first time since the tumultuous elections of 2008.
President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, is running against Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

For some additional information on Zimbabwe elections.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Take My Breath Away: The Victoria Falls Sun Rise and Lunar Rainbow Edition

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Recently I visited Victoria Falls to watch the sun rise.

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Zimbabwe's Natural Wonder of the world did not disappoint.
It always leaves me in awe.

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The sun rose slowly behind the water, changing the mist from a deep, dark black,

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to a cloud of white mist

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that began to light up the sky in shades of pink, white, orange, and black.

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At 0600, there is no one in the park. It's amazing to have one of the world's most beautiful places to yourself.

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The mist from the Falls.

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The sun trying to emerge.

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Then BAM! It's like a blast of colors that are stunning from the sun rising on the Zambian side,
enveloped in mist when viewed from Zimbabwe.

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Amazing, just amazing.  No photo I've seen ever captures the wonder of the Falls.
See that? That's the sun.  That's right, a huge massive African sun and that's all you see through a wall of mist.

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One of the few places in the world where lunar rainbows exist: Victoria Falls at full moon.
Here's a photo of the 'super moon'...all I have is my memory of the lunar rainbow (no photos!):
one of the most stunning experiences of my life, to see double rainbows at night, illuminated by the moon,
falling gracefully over the falls while the water seemed to glow.

Here's an idea of what the lunar rainbow looks like:
Photo credit.

Go, go, go, if you ever have the chance.  Go at dawn; go at a full moon. Just go.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The birds of Hwange (an ode to JRS)

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While on safari in Hwange National Park, we saw many beautiful birds.

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And of course impalas. Many impalas.  Seriously, impalas are everywhere.
But yet, they are still so beautiful.

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Why, hello, zebra!

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I've never paid so much attention to birds on a safari before.

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Probably because I find them boring, I want to see an elephant...always!

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But isn't he a stunner? A yellow billed hornbill.
(I blame my companion for all these bird photos, apparently we learned he loves to watch birds.)

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What a beautiful animal.

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One shot of this guy wasn't enough. Zimbabwe never disappoints.

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Wildebeest coming to drink at the pan at The Hide.

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Why, hello, wildebeest!  It's amazing how awesome and ugly they are at the same time.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Walking with Elephants

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While visiting The Hide in Hwange National Park, we took a walking safari, meeting up with this guy.
He doesn't look big, but he was.  He was big and just beautiful.

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I've done quite a few things in Africa now, but when you're about 5 feet from a bull elephant,
and your guide says "Stay very still, he'll think we're part of the tree" and you realize you're about,
hmm, like a millionth the size of the elephant, well, your heart just plummets through your toes.

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And plummet my heart did...and it was was amazing, stunning, and terrifying at the same time.
Apparently showing visitors to Zimbabwe both the beauty and healthy fear of elephants is my new go-to tactic!

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Just when my heart returned to its proper place in my chest, this guy came toward us.

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He just continued to confirm why I absolutely love elephants, their beauty, their intelligence, and their
ability to remind you of what a tiny little place you occupy in this universe.

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Just to add a tiny bit of variety to the elephant stream, one of Hwange's beautiful Acacia trees.

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A red-billed horn bill.

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And some pretty birds that my visitor would admonish me for forgetting their name since
apparently everyone (but me!) enjoys bird watching on safaris!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Return to Hwange

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I recently had the opportunity to return to the beyond wonderful Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.
(How can you not love a place whose sunsets look like this?!)

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I returned to The Hide, a wonderful safari lodge, tucked away in the middle of Zimbabwe and was treated to this sunset the following night.
Oh, be still my heart, how I love sunsets.

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I was traveling with someone who was experiencing his first safari.  The moment of seeing something like these giraffes never grows old,
whether it's his first safari or mine, the number of which I've lost count.

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Our safaris were marked with these beautiful female kudus, so gracefully when they run.

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Hwange has these stunning zebras and it's easy to be lost in the memorizing nature of their stripes.

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Love this Zebra's head markings.

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What is it about giraffes drinking that is always so comical?! 

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An elephant's skull--this thing was huge and a little creepy.

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We had a full moon, visible even before the sun set!

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Which boded well since we were also visiting Victoria Falls and I hoped we'd be able to experience the rare lunar rainbow!!

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Remember this sign?  I laughed seeing it again--it brought back so many good memories
of my very first safari experience in the company of a wonderful friend.
(Oh! What luck I have to have such wonderful people with whom to experience this world!)

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