Vervets: Playtime

There’s nothing quite like the uninhibited energy of young vervets at play.   We were fortunate to have an opportunity this afteroon to observe this troop at quite close quarters. While the older members were foraging and grooming, the younger were energetically swinging through the branches.  Happy to know through Dries at www.dewetswild.com that these are a sub species of vervet known as Malbrouck’s.

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Fish River Canyon: where time is written in the rocks

The landscape, immediately after crossing the Orange River at the Noodoewer border post, takes on a desolate appearance.

The route through to Grünau, in the Karas Region goes over gravel plains and then as we head to Hobas – the viewpoint for the Fish River Canyon.  Clumps of milkbush and granite outcrops form a backdrop to this arid Eden.  As we travel we wonder which animal will be our first viewing of local wildlife?  Take a guess?!

Yes!! Baboons!  How remarkable that they have adapted and can find enough to sustain life in this tough environment.  They are far leaner than the coastal cousins and their fur much finer.  I worried about their feet pads burning on the scalding stones, but they appeared to walk quite comfortably but nimbly over the rocky terrain. Their diet would include mainly insects – scorpions, beetles and tuberous plants.

How to describe the spectacular Fish River Canyon? It draws the viewer’s eye into a terrain of riverting and rugged convolutions, twisting and turning.  The information boards tell of ancient geological history, but i’m also fired by the local mythology and the story of Koutein Kooru, a giant snake frantically scrambling to get away from San hunters.

Impressively the oldest rocks here existed long before today’s continents were formed by the break up of the super continent Gondwana.  The basement rocks are believed to be 2,000 million years old!  At some point tectonic plate movement caused a huge block of the Earth’s crust to subside along deep-reaching faults and formed a deep trench.  The geology was further shaped through the eons by dramatic forces – erosion, volcanic and climate action.  The river has melded its way over millions of years and cut through the Namaqualand Metamorphic Complex exposing horizontal layers of quartzite, gneiss and sedimentary layers.

Road Trip: Namibia

As we gaze out across the Namib desert the vista before us is startlingly immense.  The horizon pleats and folds through desert sands to the distant purple escarpment.  The magnitude of it all is engulfing and at once we feel reduced down to an inconsequential spec in this vast sea of sand.

The expansive horizons of the Namib draw the viewer into it’s realm of colours.

Our road trip starts in the south, crossing the Orange River then venturing off the beaten track we travel northwards to reach Kunene River bordering Angola.

For a photographer it is a dream location – the colours, light and form unfold in superlatives.    The stark, arid landscapes which so captivate have a compelling rhythm where wind sculpts sinuous sand dunes and water carves meandering pathways.  As we travel northwards the land transforms to savannah, green mopani and woodlands.

It’s a strange and wondrous land: mesmerising and surreal at times.   My field of interest – the interconnection between land, people and it’s wildlife is revealing in it’s complexities here.

I’ll be posting when WiFi is available, why not come along and read about our adventures ……

All plump and curvy

Sleek they are not, but so charming in their demeanour.  Meet the Rock Hyrax, (commonly known as a dassie) related to the elephant and dugong –  the connection to their rounded physique.   A lively little colony of about 15 members live at the bottom of our garden, though their numbers fluctuate while caracal finds them a delicious delicacy.   When the female dassies lie sprawled in abandon on the sunwarmed boulders i can’t help but admire their aura of plumply feminine ‘curvaceousness’.

That’s my take on Ben’s theme for this week.  For other photographer’s pics on the subject, hit the link  “Rounded”