Thursday, August 29, 2013

Snapshots from the road: Land of a Thousand Hills

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Recently I traveled to the stunningly beautiful country of Rwanda.

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It was my first time and I was just in awe of its stunning beauty in the landscape.

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The capital, Kigali.

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It's nickname, land of a thousand hills, was an understatement and well deserved.
The landscape is a never ending up and down, of gorgeous drops and curving roads.
The mountain lover in me was so ecstatic.

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While driving, we passed at least three brides in the bridal march within an hour.  
It was such a joyous scene (although she looks kind of nervous in my shot!).

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On a sobering note, heading east, toward the border with Congo-Kinshasa, we passed the Nkamira Transit Camp.

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The camp--not too far from the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and its infamous city of Goma---
is a transit camp for refugees fleeing the violence in the DRC.

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A football match.  In 2012, the UN reported that the camp's population had surpassed 11,000 refugees.

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It was sobering to see so many lives impacted by the M23 rebels in the DRC.
It was a sobering thing to see the day after visiting several sites in Rwanda in which thousands lost their lives in the genocide.

For more information on the fighting in the Congo.

Monday, August 26, 2013

An Ode to the Elephants

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While on safari in Botswana's Chobe National Park, my love affair with elephants continued.

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How can you not love these animals?

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It's amazing how well such ginormous animals can hide.

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These beauties didn't care that we got to admire them.

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Eating away without a care for our presence.

Check them out:

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This is how close we get! That boat replaced our little spot.

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Why, hello, adorable baby elephant.  Je t'aime!

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After a lovely visit to Botswana, we returned to Zimbabwe.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Chobe Smorgasbord of Animals!

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Why, hello, giraffe!!

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I love the attitude in this giraffe's look.
These beautiful animals are all over Botswana's Chobe National Park.

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So stunningly beautiful!

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An African buffalo in Chobe.

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An African buffalo cub.  How can an animal be so cute and ugly at the same time?

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After rolling in the mud.

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Why, hello, you beautiful elephant, you!

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A pod of hippos sunning along the Chobe River.

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A hippo cooling in the grass.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Chobe's Animal Traffic

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While visiting Chobe National Park in Botswana, we came across these beautiful sables.

Watch their crossing (the safari version of traffic!):

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A different perspective, seen from the safari vehicle.

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We saw this --- a giraffe corpse, a few days old kill.

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Which meant this lion pride was near by.

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The sables were just too magnificent not to sneak another photo in!

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Then there were these.  Monitor lizards.  They are simultaneously so cool and gross.

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They were swimming on the Chobe River, heading toward elephants.

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They slither across the top of the water.

Check it out (so creepy and amazing):

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More animal traffic!
These giraffes didn't know what to do with our approach so they just froze and stared at us,
until the one on the right decided to high tail it out of there!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Snapshots from the River: The Chobe Crocodile!

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The mighty crocodile of the Chobe River.

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A crocodile suns itself in Botswana's Chobe National Park.

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I find crocodiles terrifying.  Can you blame me? I mean, look at those teeth!

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A river safari always reminds me to have a healthy fear of rivers in Africa!

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A water lily.

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A herd of elephants drinking at the Chobe River.  Oh, Botswana, you always are so lovely.

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The wonderful Chobe River.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hope is a thing with feathers

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This lilac breasted roller may possibly be one of my favorite photos taken in southern Africa.
I'm a little shocked about it. I don't really like photographing birds, even bird watching bores me.
But there's something about this photo that I just love.

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Also while in Chobe National Park in lovely Botswana on safari, we came across this stunning sable.

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Hello, bird!

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This stork was hanging out on the banks of the Chobe River.

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A bird in flight. . . maybe if I paid more attention, I'd remember birds' names. Maybe.

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He made me think of a soldier standing at attention!

 Inspiration for the post's title:

Hope is a Thing with Feathers
Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

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