The majestic impala

The humble impala is one of the most common animals one might encounter on a safari game drive. While first-time visitors may be reasonable impressed by the impalas’ soft eyes and the males’ horns, those who have been on safari more often generally just pass them by. Impalas are ubiquitous, they are everywhere – and like everything that is considered ‘normal’, they lose some of their allure.

I often pass the impalas by too. But I’m happy that on this occasion I didn’t. Because this is a majestic impala, with impressive horns, completely at ease while eating his grass. He looks at us but knows that here, today, he is the king of this grassy field.

Photo taken in Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa

On our way

Romance in the bush: a male and a female rhino walking down the road. We must have followed them in our car for over half an hour while they walked, stopped, grazed a bit, walked on. Beautiful animals.

Photo taken in Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa

Celebrating the King

Today in the Netherlands it is Kingsday. Dutch people all over the world celebrate King Willem-Alexander’s 50th birthday.

The lion is called the ‘king of the jungle’. A bit of a strange label, since lions live on the African savanna and not in the jungle. But I can imagine what makes the lion king-like: his mane circles his head like a crown, and his pose is absolutely majestic.

That’s not to say that a lion is never afraid or threatened. Just before this photograph was taken, two lions – locally known as Ginger (the albino) and Garlic – were resting in a very relaxed manner. Then two elephants approached.

The approach

The lions were immediately alert, and moved away when the elephants came closer. Like any earthly king, the lion is not almighty…

Blessed be!

May the roads rise to meet you. 
May the wind be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
The rain fall soft upon your fields 
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand. 

Photo taken in Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa

Slowly by slowly

The chameleon is one of my favorite animals, and the rare occasions that I find a chameleon in the garden are very special. This one was very small, only about five centimeters – it’s probably a baby. Unfortunately, many people are scared of chameleons, and harm them. And I have to say, they are mysterious animals. Chameleons can change their color to match their surroundings. Today I learnt that in Afrikaans, the chameleon is known as ‘verkleurmannetjie’ – little man that changes colors. Chameleons are very shy. Their color makes them hard to spot, and besides that, chameleons make an effort not to make any sudden movements. They move slowly, haltingly – a bit like my internet connection at the moment…