The Wild Ones

22 Sep

Africa is abundant, in its land, its beauty and its wildlife. We visited a reserve about an hour from Cape Town to see some of Africa’s Big 5; hippopotamus, rhinoceros, lion, leopard and elephant.

The Cape Big 5 Safari Reserve is a natural sanctuary for African wildlife. Our morning was spent in an open landrover driving the reserve  to see what we could see. Here are some of the highlights.

Herd of gazelles

Gazelles running

Eland

Eland, soft eyes, twisted horns

Eland is largest antelope in South Africa.

Herd of wildebeest

Wildebeest

A gregarious tortoise

You probably noticed the rhinoceros in our photos have no horns. This is because they were poached. One night poachers came, tranquilized the rhinos, took a panga and chopped off the horns deeply into the sinus cavities and left them for dead. Due to constant care at the reserve they are alive today.

Rhino horns are sold for high sums to Asian buyers as there is a false belief that the horns have healing properties.  The illegal trade is so lucrative it is difficult to stop the poachers. The numbers of rhino horns poached and the resulting dead rhinos have been increasing dramatically in the last two years. Botswana has instituted a death penalty for poachers and the crime there has all but stopped. South Africa is considering the same remedy.

Deon is a ranger at the reserve. His thoughtful sharing of his hard-earned knowledge of the animals, their history and their behavior was much appreciated. He clearly understands and respects the wild nature of  animals. The reserve is lucky to have people like Deon looking out for these beautiful creatures.

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5 Responses to “The Wild Ones”

  1. Ursula Freer September 23, 2012 at 3:37 am #

    I especially like the single wildebeest with two heads!
    Thanks so much for sharing this.

  2. Maryl September 22, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    How amazing to see the animals up close and personal and Dana’s photos are fantastic. Can’t leave Africa without having witnessed such beautiful beasts. I can’t believe that you have now been to 2 different countries and will shortly be heading to Australia. It must be bittersweet to get to know a place so well and have to leave but at the same time exciting to anticipate your next adventure. I may not have commented on every posting but have thoroughly enjoyed seeing and reading them all and feel like I can enjoy all your experiences vicariously.

    • Jill September 23, 2012 at 1:37 am #

      And we’re so glad you’re with us on this trip.

  3. Nancy Lehrhaupt September 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    Wow, what an amazing experience. I think this part of your trip has been amazing. Did you really get that close to the animals or did you have a powerful telephoto lens?

    • Jill September 22, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

      We were about 15 to 20 feet from the lions.And yes we now have a telephoto lens. The lions had recently eaten so they were all lazing about making it easy to take a picture. They really are just big cats…so beautiful.

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