Thursday, March 11, 2010
Michael the monkey decided to enter for a Michael Jackson dancing contest. He has been practicing for days and days. So we let him go, packed a few bananas, gave him 50 cents and wished him good luck. I think he has a good chance, as you see , he has the moves, can only improve with age. I do hope he wears some clothes though, he could embarrass us. It leaves his enclosure empty now, but I think Linda has ordered a Gorilla.
A new year, getting on with work!!!!!!!!!!! It is also cheetah breeding time. Here I am with Brettie and Gondor, two of our breeding males up Lovers lane. They are still new at this and were more noise than action. Gondor did introduce himself to "Mona L'eyesa" and got quite a hiding. Luckily he took well, as part of the ritual but you could see he was glad when I called him out.
Linda's mom and her husband came down just after Christmas. Linda managed to pack 3 months of visiting places into 10 days. Angela and Stig needed a holiday when they got home. Angela got to to see her favourite cheetah, Freya, again and it made her so happy. And Freya was happy to see her, I don;t think she had so much attention for so long. Linda, as usual, took about 5 million photographs.
Well, so much for the snow!!! We had a quiet christmas with my daughter, sitting outside at night when it had cooled down to about 25 degrees. I dont drink but did try to open the champagne. Tough job, even the silver foil shot off and knocked the poor kid in the background off his feet. It was fun when i eventually had the top off.
Monday, November 9, 2009
One of the exciting things we did when we were in Botswana was to spend the night in "THE HIDE"!!! It is a hide way out in the middle of nowhere. If you really wanted to you could get yourself really worked up. Especially with the Elephants using the downstairs toilets and the Hyenas fighting over who gets the last cheese sandwich. It was very dark until the moon came up, then you could see everything in a wierd monochrome. No door on the upstairs bedroom so luckily it was warm.
During our stay in the Cape Linda and I did a lot of travelling. If you look further back you will see my ex car!! It was a Ford Focus TDCi. Magic, i could do my high speed driving when I thought no one was looking. Unfortunately the Cape has lots of cameras!!!! I came back to pretoria and there were about 30 fines waiting for me. I knew I had time to pay them so ignored them for a while. You have to be careful though. next thing I knew there were wanted posters up for me!
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Linda and I did a short trip to Botswana recently. The camp we were going to was near enough to drive to, 5 hours. In the Tuli Block, reknowned for its elephants. Everyone knows I love elephants, you have to cook them right though, but I am very wary of them. This place we went to, The Tuli Safari Lodge, has elephants right outside your tent. A canvas tent for goodness sake! An elephant could break wind and blow it away!! But these elephants are cool, no worry man. If you look closely at the picture you will see the elephant just beyond Linda.
October is a very special month. At last the summer rains came. Those who say there is no change in the weather pattern must be living in caves. Our storms are fiercer, wilder and heavier than ever. Thunder to shake the house, Lighting to wet your pants!! October is also a time when hail can catch you by surprise. Tonight I was standing outside watching the rain when the wind turned cold and the hail began. I still have my little motor car, it's all I have, and didn't want it damaged. Luckily I have a fairly big verandah and reverse parked on that. I think I would have got a gold star from a driving instructor.
After 18 months in the wilderness, and other places, I am back in my old job!! After being retrenched last year and moving around seeing different places and looking for work it has come back full circle. I am back at The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre, previously known as The De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust. There have been BIG changes. Mainly the "one who may not be named" has GONE!!! Now things will get back to normal. I am vindicated that I was the one retrenched but got my job back. The"one who may not be named" has pushed Ann around quite badly but she has survived and forward we go. The "OWMNBN" took the vehicles as they belonged to the Trust, our computers etc etc. next day we got a donation from daVinci and lenovo of computers!! After that KIA and Hyundai came along with trucks. So sadly I will not be able to drive my old Ford or the older, stalwart Stallion, but a comfy KIA.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
One of our first trips, for fun, was to Pilansberg National Park. This park is 1 hour from Pretoria and has the big five. The only problem we had was my car is small and elephants are BIG. I am always wary about ellies. This one wasn't too happy about us taking pictures of him!!!!!
At last the insurance paid out and I got myself a new (second hand) car. It was a bit of a drop from my 2 litre TDCi to a 1400i, but it has all the features and the most important: AIRBAGS.
After my accident I now insist on airbags, or least Linda does!! Not quite the same speed as my Ford but I did overtake a motorbike, the guy was pushing it. Now my dicing days are confined to dicing with donkey carts. Even when there are 2 donkeys I still manage. But my travelling days still haven't stopped. I have done over 7000kms in the last month. Don't know where I have been or gone but the kilometres add up.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
The majority of these photos were taken by my partner, Linda Rosenlof. She uses a NIKON D3000 and takes some amazing wildlife photos. Look at yessy.com for her photo gallery. I use a little Fuji
Finepix, which is great for what I need. I have been a video user for many years and have brought a new meaning to the word "footage". I keep forgetting to switch the video off so have lots of footage of my feet in many places all over the world. USA, Australia, Sweden, Africa!!! So if you see a pair of feet like the ones above, they are probably me, so no to worry, I forgot to switch off again.
Which is unusual as my brain seems to be switched off most of the time. I keep losing things, my brain was first. I lost my wallet 3 times in the last 6 months, Found it myself twice and the third time was in Disneyworld, where I left it on a ride. It was handed in, with nothing taken. Maybe Disney brings out the best in people, Thanks to the person who handed it over, my life was in there. Credit card, ID, It would have been easier to be born again than re apply for everything in there.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
I always seem to get into trouble with one animal or the other. Here a giant grizzly grabbed me and Linda tried to help. I Managed to fight him off with my leatherman but more trouble was lurking behind me. Look at the very ferocious whateveritis waiting to pounce. Even the sign behind me screamed Danger
Thursday, June 4, 2009
In Africa many people comment on the magnificent sunsets we have. Which is true, every night the sunsets are brilliant and different. One of the reasons the sunsets are so good on the Highveld at the moment is the amount of veld fires. Fires sometimes deliberately set alight, some by mistake and others through negligence such as throwing cigarette butts into grass. We have so many fires that it is changing the face of South Africa. A fire once every 4 years is probably good, it clears debris and allows new growth. Some systems, such as the Fynbos in the Cape, need fire to continue but fires every year destroy young trees. Soon there will only be grasslands. Watch what you are doing, whether it is burning garbage or throwing cigarettes away.
After our stay in Namibia at CCF we took the Kalahari Highway from Okahandja to Pretoria (South Africa) 2000kms. It was an amazing drive leaving the impressive Waterberg Plateau, driving through the central Kalahari of Botswana. This road links Walvis Bay in Namibia to Maputo in Mozambique. About 4000kms west coast to east coast. Not a road to be driving at night, so we stopped off in Ghanzi, on the edge of the Kalahari desert. 2 days later we were back in Pretoria. This is what happens at night on the Trans Kalahari. This cow was much more use to the natural wildlife than mine was!!!!! It had obviously been killed by a passing truck. There are whole herds of livestock wandering the roads. This includes a lot of wildlife and a large Kudu can do as much damage to your vehicle as a cow can.
Before we had the accident with my car Linda and I did a fair bit of travelling in Southern Africa. In 2 months we did Pretoria (South Africa) to Cape town (South Africa). 1500 kilometres. Cape Town to Okahandja (Namibia) 2000km to help out at CCF (The Cheetah Conservation Fund) for a month. The CCF is founded by Dr Laurie Marker, an amazing woman who's life is dedicated to saving cheetahs. Cheetahs are disappearing quickly and Namibia has the largest cheetah population in the world. But there are always problems somewhere, this is where CCF comes in. helping injured cheetahs, relocating them when healed. Educating farmers and local people on the habits and ways of cheetahs. During our stay there we also celebrated Namibia's Independence day.
As you see from the one picture I am with one of my favourite people. Donald Duck. I was in Disneyworld and din't see him, except in the parade. I went to Disneyland a few years later and din't see him, except in the parade. So I went to public relations and complained. I think the woman thought I was out of Looney Tunes and tried to explain that Donald was not as popular as Mickey. And I told her how true, where the mouse gets a truck on the Parade big D has to walk at the back. Not good after 50 years of service. Luckily for the lady he did pitch up at the square, followed by about 30 kids. Didn't take me long to get rid of the kids, sorry children, I hope you are getting better. I got my photo with Donald and my friends have it on video. I was in disneyworld just a month ago and i see they have taken my complaints to heart. I met Donald easily. He had a truck of his own. Good one Donald. And I saw the lady at public relations peeping through a crack in the door at me. It's okay lady, I'm happy
The same night were returning home we passed another accident a few kilometres down the road. The police and ambulaces were there so we did not stop. At out accident people stopped and called the police for us. Our car was standing in the middle of the road with lights and hazards on. The dead cow was about 50 metres behind us, also in the middle of the road. From a distance we could hear a speeding car with lights flashing and sirens wailing. We tried to slow him down but he sped past at about 150kph and ran straight into the cow, up and over onto another car standing at the side! I don't know if they had Fords or airbags but they were surely in a worse predicament then we were. And the poor guy sitting alongside the road, having nothing to do with anything gets his car crashed. All he was doing was waiting on everyone going so he could cut up the cow and go home with it! It's tough in Africa
Africa still has many unfenced roads so they put signs up saying, "unfenced road. Beware of cattle"
Okay I can read that but can the cows?? They should have a sign up on their side saying, "unfenced road. Beware of cars". I discovered that cars and cows don't get on together. Coming home at night on an unfenced, but signed road I met a BIG cow! I was doing about 100kph, the cow was standing in the middle of the road. Why not, he didn't have a sign on his side. Thank goodness for my Ford Focus. This car was my pride and joy and with a lesser car I probably would not be here. The front crumpled and airbags went off. My partner Linda and I walked out without a scratch. Thank you Mr Ford. Thank you Mr Airbag.