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An implausibility of gnus (wildebeest)

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A pride of lions
A fight of goshawks
A confusion of guinea fowl
A kettle of hawks
A sedge of herons
A bloat of hippopotamuses
A cackle of hyenas
A herd of impalas
A deceit of lapwings
A leap of leopards
A brace of mallards
A scourge of mosquitoes
A romp of otters
A parliament of owls
A colony of termites
A troop of baboons
A wake of buzzards
A coalition of cheetahs
A gulp of cormorants
A band of coyotes
A bask of crocodiles
A murder of crows
A pack of dogs
A raft of ducks
A convocation of eagles
A memory of elephants
A cast of falcons
A stand of flamingoes
A tower of giraffes
An implausibility of gnus (wildebeest)
A herd of ostriches
A covey of partridges
A pod of pelicans
A nest of pheasants
A singular of wart hogs
A warren of rabbits
A crash of rhinos
A herd of springbok
A murmuration of starlings
A mustering of storks
A flight of swallows
A streak of tigers
A venue of vultures
A dazzle of zebras

and…WE SAW THEM ALL!

… on our recent safari trip to Tanzania and South Africa.

Rysard Kapuscinski, the Polish writer, in his travel book The Shadow of the Sun, wrote “The continent is too large to describe. It is a veritable ocean, a separate planet, a varied, immensely rich cosmos. Only with the greatest simplification, for the sake of convenience, can we say ‘Africa’. In reality, except as a geographical appellation, Africa does not exist.”

And so the continent keeps beckoning to us – six trips in all covering nine countries (see my profile page at http://www.pbase.com/lcurran/profile for a map of the countries we have visited). This year we decided to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, and sign up for two safaris thus saving us the sometimes arduous and long flying time between Vancouver and the African continent  and also blowing our budget for the next couple of years! Somehow, however, with the travel bug deeply embedded in us, I don’t think that will be a long-lasting problem….

Tanzania (formerly Tanganyika before its independence from Britain and subsequent unification with Zanzibar) was our first venture. (Our companion venture, South Africa – Tigers and Leopards – is described in the next blog.) We wanted to see the great migration of wildebeests and zebras as they traveled north for a season before turning around and heading south again. And we saw lots of them although not as many as we had anticipated. Because of the rains the grass was simply too delicious for the wildebeest to want to move north as there was plenty to eat where they were. They were about a month late in their migration pattern (thus lending further credence to the issue of climate change) so we were only able to catch ‘patches’ of them coming through – but huge patches they were! At several sightings there would be two to three thousand animals at a time trekking along, sometimes simply following each other, at other times thundering along in a gallop. And, inevitably, the laggards behind tempting the predators which would be close by.

XIMG_4581There were many more animals, of course – the usual lions, giraffes, elephants, ostriches, birds of all kinds (eagles, hawks, secretary birds, egrets, herons, and on and on. See the bird list on my website – http://www.pbase.com/lcurran/birds_new). Good heavens, I sound so blasé about it – far from it. It is only in viewing these animals in their habitat that one experiences the sense of wonder and awe coupled with the sense of being privileged to be in their presence.

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Not only are the animals a wonder to see, but also the country itself – Ngorogoro Crater housing almost 100,000 animals, the Serengeti Plain (where I’m sure we’ve been marked for life by the number of Tse-Tse fly bites we got!) – nature in all its glory including chunks of our skin. I wonder how long the marks will stay with us. But at least they’ll serve as ‘reminders’ of our trip!

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Ngorogoro Crater

XDSCF0746The Serengeti Plain

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Time Out!

As usual, more images will be posted on my website soon.

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