Sundowner on the Dune

On our last night in camp, we were treated to a “Sundowner on the Dune”!!

We were told to dress warmly and be ready at 4:30. Johan and Koos joined us on a slow drive thru the beautiful country. We stopped for a few photos….

….especially of this very large bird called a “Kori Bustard”…..

After driving for about 30 minutes, stopping to view more animals….

…and gorgeous scenery…..

….we arrived at the dune, to find that Belis had set up an amazing spread for us……

….complete with nibbles and drinks…..

….and a warming fire pit…..

We enjoyed sitting around the fire and talking to our two new friends…..

….while around us, the skies turned marvelous colors!!

And the dunes show a bright red…..

There was plenty of time for photos in the glorious sunset…..

….a SWEET reminder of our time here in the Kalahari!!

So, with one final sunset shot…..

Okay….maybe two…..

…it was time for us to head home again.

This trip has been an amazing adventure and we have so many people to thank for making it wonderful. From the servers who made endless cups of tea for me, to the women who washed my stinky clothes, to the lodge owners who made us feel a part of their family…Michael and I say

And….thank you readers for joining me along the way.

Now it is back to quilting…..YEAH!!!!

Visiting The KING…

…..of beasts that is!!

On our last day, in camp, the trackers had gone out, looking for various animals, and had radioed in to say that they had found a male lion.

Johan immediately threw us in the truck and sped toward the area.

As we neared the area, he suggested that we climb out of the cab and get on the back of the truck…


With a lion around…

Can’t they jump??

So, with us settled in the back, we continued our journey.

At one point, we could see the trackers, so knew that the lion must be close…..

Unfortunately, we didn’t realize just how close he was!!

All of a sudden they started yelling and pointing. Michael and I were looking everywhere trying to find the cat. Then there he was…. about 20 yards away from the truck!!

I immediately started snapping photos……

… he slowly mosied his way thru the tall grass…..

Apparently, he had been thru a long night and was ready for a nap.

He looked at us lazily for about 10 minutes…..

and then flopped on his side…..

As Johan started the truck, he circled the lion and Lawrence (as Michael and I named him) turned his head and followed us…..

The best photos were probably at the end when we were driving away. Apparently, Lawrence decided that he would give us a few more poses before we left…..

There is a quote from Robert Ruark (author of “The Old Man and The Boy”) that is the perfect description of what we saw…..

He looked very burly and handsome against a backdrop of green bush, the yellowing grass just matching his hide. he looked at us and yawned as we drove slowly toward him, with all the bored disdain that a prime lion can muster.

Robert Ruark

This is my absolute favorite of all of the shots……

I especially love that it looks like he has “curled” his mane for the sitting!!

This was one of the most surreal things I have ever done, and I love all the photos!! They are a wonderful reminder of an amazing event!!

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Photo Safari

After the excitement of the morning of moving rhinos (see Monday’s post), I decided that I could use something a little less exciting. So, while Michael was meeting with some of the scientists, I got to go on a photographic safari!!

I was met out front by Attie……

and ensconced in this nine-person vehicle……

Attie asked me how long I wanted to be out, and I immediately said that I would stay out as long as he was willing!!

He was the perfect driver for this expedition! When we approached an animal or a herd of animals, he would turn the vehicle off (so that I wouldn’t have any shake in the camera), and quietly tell me what animal I was photographing!!

I had thankfully attached the telephoto lens to the camera body, and was in heaven, as I took up-close-and-personal photos of the animals.

Kudu female….

Young Sable male…..

VERY skittish Hardibeests…..

As we drove, I kept seeing whispy nests in the trees…..

Attie told me that they were built by birds called “Social Weavers” and that eventually the tree would look like this!!

He told me that the openings face down to deter snakes from climbing into the nest.

When I had another chance, I photographed looking up into one of the nests…..

The next two photos are probably my favorites. These two OLD buffalo were enjoying their evening meal and totally unconcerned about me!!

Young Impala


These guys were incredibly plentiful…..

…but extremely hard to photograph. In most cases, this was the best that I could do…..

It was interesting to see them hopping like a kangaroo….with their back legs under them. I asked Michael about this and he said that it is called “pronking”. A bit more digging came up with this…. In Afrikaans and Dutch, to “pronk” is to show off, though the reason that springboks pronk is not known definitively. They could be excited, agitated, exercising, spreading their individual scents, or showing off their fitness either for predators or rivals within the herd.

So, who knows why they do it but it was fun to watch!!

After one hour and 45 minutes, it was starting to get cool in the truck and the light was almost gone so photography was out of the question. I said to Attiey that he could start home now and he informed me that he already had!

You could have fooled me! I had NO idea where we were!!!

Our last animal encounter was just before we got back into camp. I saw two rhinos, assuming that they were the more docile White Rhinos. I was WRONG!! They were the always agitated Black Rhinos!!!

Attie started to slow down for me to photograph…..

…when the larger Rhino quickly twirled in our direction. Attie wasted NO time in getting us the heck out of there!!!

The sun lowered into the sky…..

….and then I was back at the lodge with a camera full of photos and eyes opened wide to the wonders of this world!!

While I enjoy all aspects of the wonderful art of quilting, I equally enjoy presenting inspirations and stories from around the world. To make sure that you don’t miss a single one, be sure to subscribe to this blog!!

White Rhinos gotta move!!

Yesterday’s post told you about the tagging of four Black Rhinos, which was all accomplished in one morning. In the afternoon it was time to move a White Rhino to a different enclosure.

This particular rhino needed to be moved because he had become aggressive, severely injuring, two younger bulls. He was essentially being put into time-out!!

As I ate lunch I kept wondering exactly HOW they moved a rhino once it had been anesthetized. Did they scoop it up in a front-end loader?

The answer came as Charlotte informed us that a different form of anesthesia was used to put the rhino into a sleep state….

…. much like the anesthesia that is used when we have colonoscopies.

But that still didn’t answer my question!

She prepared the dart….

….and they started out to find the rhino and dart it…..

The plan was to dart it on the ground rather than from the air, but the first dart went astray so they reverted to the helicopter. Michael went up to watch the darting from the air. It was a bit tense in the truck…..

…until we heard the pilot say “The dart is in”.


The first rhino was darted, but this time they didn’t wait for him to fall down. Instead, all of the workers rushed in to try to keep him on his feet

Unfortunately, this rhino became agitated… Very agitated!!

I actually videoed this process from behind a bush, peeking out when it was safe and moving back behind my bush when I felt that it wasn’t. Because of my movements, it isn’t a great video.

However, Dylan (one of the apprentices) filmed part of it and HIS video is much better!!…..

Here the Rhino was basically asleep on his feet and was eventually pulled down onto his side to help settle him down.

So would YOU grab a Rhino by the tail????

Since the rhino was already on his side, they went ahead and did the genetic testing and marking that had been done on the black rhino. They also sawed off the tip of his horn. It will grow back but, since he had gored two other males, they wanted to deter that behavior going forward…..

Charlotte assured us that the rhino was basically out, but that he could be moved at this point. So, all of the helpers, including Michael, gathered on one side and rolled him over onto his chest…..

NOT an easy task!!

Charlotte used a cattle prod to gently encourage him to his feet. Then all of the helpers got on either side of him…..

…and they “walked” him into the trailer!!

…. and of course, that is Michael holding onto the ear and the horn on the left.

He was secured in the trailer…..

And yes, this trailer does make his butt look big!!!

The rhino was driven to the new pasture, ready to be released.

At this point, Charlotte climbed on top of the trailer and leaned in twice…

Once to inject the antidote, and secondly, to remove his eye cover,

She again used the cattle prod to gently encourage him to back out of the trailer. You can see from yesterday’s video that this solution would not have worked with a black rhino, but it is perfect for the calmer white rhino.

Unfortunately, the position of the bush precluded us from seeing the rhino as he woke up, but when we drove off, he was shaking his head and wondering exactly what had happened!!

The next morning, two other bulls were moved in a similar manner. These were bulls that have been injured and were in the “hospital pasture”.

The first of these was a HUGE bull (much bigger than yesterday’s) and the first thing that he did was get himself stuck in a bush. There was much pulling and “encouraging” him to back out into the open….

As before, he was loaded up and taken to the new pasture.

This time the trailer was placed so that we could easily see him backing out…..

…and getting ready to explore his new environs….

That task completed, it was back to the helicopter….

…to find the last Rhino to be moved.

This one was a little guy…..

…and they didn’t have any trouble guiding him into the trailer…..

After the final rhino was loaded up, it was time for the helicopter to return to camp, and I was thrilled when the pilot, Koos asked if I wanted to ride along.

How fast can you say “YES PLEASE!”

It was a short ride, but we did spot a herd of buffalo….

….and checked up on a black rhino with her new calf….

This little guy is only about 10 days old. It would’ve been fun to get a closer view but Kwos reminded me that we did NOT want to land anywhere near the mama rhino.

I arrived at the lodge a LONG time before everybody else and enjoyed sending texts calling them slow-pokes!!

What an experience!!!

While I enjoy all aspects of the wonderful art of quilting, I equally enjoy presenting inspirations and stories from around the world. To make sure that you don’t miss a single one, be sure to subscribe to this blog!!

Rhino Rodeo!!…..

After an overnight in Johannesburg, we again boarded a small plane and flew to Uppington, a small town at the bottom of the Kalahari desert!!….

The property that we were visiting was gorgeous….

…and even more so at nighttime….

Our room had amazing views…..

….especially early in the morning…..

The landscaping was done with succulents…..

….and the interior decorations were amazing…..

I spent a lot of time looking at this light fixture!!

But we are not here for the ambiance….we are here for RHINOS!!!

Let’s have a Rhino tutorial!!!

There are two types of Rhinos…..Black and White. Now, I thought that the White rhinos were actually a different color but I was WRONG…..VERY wrong!!!

The primary difference between these two species is the size and shape of their mouths!!. Black Rhinos have a pointed mouth while the White Rhino has a flat mouth…..

Black on the left and White on the right.

The reason that they are called WHITE rhinos is that the natives were actually saying “wide” but it was mistranslated as white!!

Are you enjoying the biology lesson???

So, here’s the thing about rhinos…

They are endangered! Primarily because of their importance in Asian medicine.

The owner of this property has a passion for protecting these animals and the property has a nice herd of both types of rhinos The idea is that they will share these rhinos with other Parks and individuals who want to save them.

Part of this process is doing genetic testing on the rhinos before they are moved to another area. The reason for this is that they want to send pairs of animals that are not genetically related.

So, we are here for the tagging and genetic testing of four rhino cows

It was a supremely interesting process, and I videoed one of the events so that you could see it in real-time.

Here we go…

If you are viewing this blog post on your email, you will need to click into the actual blog post to see it. For some reason, it won’t embed directly.

I hope that you enjoyed that!!

One funny exchange…. at one point, we were quite a distance from where they were about to dart the next rhino and Jacques needed to drive FAST to get there. I was in the back of the truck and he asked Michael if I would want to get into the truck. Michael said that he could ask me but probably I would prefer to stay outside. He was right!!

I hung on for dear life and yelled Yee-Haw a few times but loved every second of the VERY fast journey!!