Out of Africa  

Posted by Donna

I've been home for a couple of weeks but I'm still not feeling fully reintegrated into my life.  Perhaps that's because I haven't been working and haven't even been worrying much about finding a new job.  I've been on a few interviews but I'm feeling very cautious after my last experience, I want to make sure that it feels right emotionally to me before I accept any offer.

I also haven't been able to ride much, in fact I've only ridden Missy once since I returned from my trip due to constant storms.  In addition, the trainer who does my lessons during the week is taking a break from teaching for a while so I lost the only covered arena available to me. 

Trying to relate four weeks in Africa is a daunting task, even with literally thousands of photographs to refer to. You can't capture with a camera the scent of wildflowers across the savannah, the sound of Zulu schoolchildren singing or the softness of a cheetah's fur. I will do my best and include what I think will be interesting to others without being too self-indulgent.

Most of the month was spent at a camp that was originally a hunting lodge, called Inthebane (in-ta-bonn), which means "warthog" in Zulu.  This camp was part of a sprawling 14,000 acre private game reserve which also included a base camp where some 80 staff lived and a 5-star resort, I got to visit both. The reserve is approximately three hours northwest of Durban, in eastern South Africa.  There are no fences once inside the reserve so game was able to come into the camp at will, which they often did.  Herds of impala and wildebeest as well as a family of warthog with seven piglets were our daily companions. A set of 18 month-old lion triplets, two males and a female, were often in camp as well.  Sometimes we saw them and sometimes we could only hear them, but we got used to their presence while maintaining a healthy dose of respect.  It's amazing what can become normal in a very short period of time.

The first week was spent in an intensive workshop with a professional photographer from South Africa.  Although I did learn a lot, the volunteers felt like the course was geared towards the one member of the group who wanted to become a professional, even though we had been asked for and provided in advance our level of experience, our goals and the equipment we were bringing.  What was most frustrating was when it counted the most, when we were out in the bush sitting in front of a pride of lions trying to take the best photographs we could, we were completely ignored while he went about the business of trying to get his own shots. Needless to say we all provided a lot of feedback on the course evaluation form and had a lot of fun at his expense after he left.

Here's some shots from the first week, click to enlarge (see more at my photoblog).

My home away from home, a private chalet with a hot shower and air conditioning.

View from the main lodge.

Gorgeous giant grasshopper.

Sunrise on our first game drive.

Male impala.

Two of the triplets.

Their daddy, the alpha male of both prides on the reserve, sleeps while his daughter hunts.

This entry was posted on March 27, 2011 at Sunday, March 27, 2011 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


doesn't seem quite fair what happened with the photography class. the trip does sound amazing anyway, love your pictures. Lazy lion, that always kills me that the males do nothing all day and the females do the hunting.

March 28, 2011 at 8:48 AM

nice shots - i can almost smell Africa in them!
- The Equestrian Vagabond

March 29, 2011 at 9:11 PM

I'm so proud of you and your beautiful photographs. What an amazing journey! Look forward to hearing more about it. (As for that photog, pfft! His loss...) xoxox

April 1, 2011 at 11:55 AM

OH Donna just saw this I'm a few days late.
I'm so happy you had this life enriching experience. What beautiful shots! I'm off now to see your photoblog...!!!

South Africa just elevated a few notches on my bucket list!

April 4, 2011 at 6:10 PM

Welcome back! Your trip sounds amazing! The interaction you describe with the wild animals, sounds to me, like life the way it was meant to be lived - co-existing with members of the animal kingdom. Your chalet sounds quite comfortable and luxurious. I'm looking forward to hearing & seeing more of your adventure!

April 5, 2011 at 8:05 AM

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