Walking with lions was a great experience. I was high after it was over. The lions are accustomed to being with humans. Their trainer keeps them focused on a chunk of meat on the end of a long pointed stick while they are waiting to be touched. The speed at which the lions can grab that tidbit of food is astonishing. These are truly wondrous creatures. What also struck me was how much affection these two lions had for each other. They were not fully grown. The male massed 150 kg and is expected to reach 260 kg. Later that day I drove back to Capetown, and began my long trip back to the USA the next afternoon.
It’s getting close to the end of the photos from my South Africa trip. This group of photos was shot near the middle of the trip and includes a variety of subjects. The exotic birds were photographed at Birds of Eden, a bird sanctuary that is a cage so big the birds don’t realize they are in a cage. It covers several acres and the net is about 100 feet overhead. A funny sign graced the men’s room at Monkeyland nearby. Bloukrans bridge is the largest in South Africa and known for its bungee jumping. The foot bridges by the sea are at the mouth of the Storms River. A bridge through the forest was captured at Monkeyland. The black and white landscape and oyster sign are from Knysna. If anyone knows the correct names for the birds, please leave me a comment and I will change the captions.
On the game reserve where I was staying we went out for three hour game drives in a four wheel drive truck which had seats mounted in the bed. There was a cover overhead to block the sun but the truck was open on the sides. In theory, anything could have jumped in though the animals stay back because they see the truck as a monolithic large creature that is too big to attack.
The Rhino’s horn has been cut to prevent poachers from killing it for its horn. It is believed consumption of Rhino horns will result in their extinction soon.
Monkeyland is a primate sanctuary near Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. The animals are sourced from zoos and unwanted pets. None are captured for the park and the primates roam free. The species have been chosen to get along with each other. They are fed at multiple feeding stations to avoid territoriality and conflict. A fence keeps predators out of the roughly 25 acre park. It’s a great life.
These photos were captured at about 6:30 AM local time in the golden light of morning at a game reserve near Mossel Bay, South Africa. Range was about 10 meters and there were no barriers between me and the lions. After seeing Lions up close in their natural environment I have come to believe they are the most beautiful of all wild animals.
Kalk Bay Harbor is a pretty spot that captures a lot of what makes Cape Town special. The hills come down to the water to meet a concrete jetty populated with locals who are fishing. There are lots of restaurants including the Brass Bell where the seafood is excellent.
About halfway across the Southern tip of the African continent lies Tsitsikamma Park. Storms River is a major landmark in the area. It is crossed by a suspension foot bridge. This is the only national park that I have ever entered where the gatekeepers made me sign a liability release as if I was engaging into some very hazardous activity. Perhaps waking across a swinging bridge with a bunch of retired Germans is dangerous. Also in the park is the Bloukrans Bridge which is the largest bridge in South Africa and the highest commercial bungee jump in the world. Despite it’s reasonable price, I passed on the jump. Besides, they don’t let anyone take cameras or mobile phones out to the platform. They are happy to sell you a CD shot by their photographer. The panoramic photo of the gorge is made up of six 36MP shots with a net 100MP in the stitched image.
The pano is 1600 pixels wide. Click on it to see it large.
Hermanus is a lovely seaside community where many well off South Africans and foreigners have second homes. The rocky coast reminded me of Maine in the USA.
The South African wine country is only about an hour’s drive beyond Cape Town’s borders. These photo’s are from tastings at four wineries. At Murati the port tasting was accompanied with chocolate. Casper was our knowledgable guide for the day. All of these were taken with a Nikon D800 and 28mm f/1.8 G.
These photos are from a shark diving trip which launched from the Gansbaai area. Shark Diving Unlimited ran the trip professionally. On the boat there is a steel cage so the sharks can be viewed at water level or slightly below by divers. The water was cold and the sea was rough, so I did not last very long in the cage. These are Great White sharks which are nearly extinct.
Table mountain towers 1000 meters over central Cape Town. It has a nice flat top suitable for informal hiking that is more like a stroll. Some scale its rocky walls. I hope they know what they are doing. These images from South africa are all brand new, shot in January, 2013. I am making it up as I go along.
Near Cape Town, South Africa is Simon’s Town which is where Boulders Beach is located. In addition to swimming the area there is a protected habitat for penguins. This is not a zoo. The birds are free to swim away in the sea. There is a swimmer hidden in the Boulders, try to find her.
What is the difference between a baboon and a wind surfer? Wind surfers are less likely to try and break into your car. This is where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. Funny, but I could not find a line in the water. I photographed the baboons from too close for safety. They were running around wild in the street.