High Plains Kickers~

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Look at this big gal! I wasn’t expecting to meet her! If you think she looks surprised, you should have seen Jim’s face. My first thought was that I was looking at Dr. Seus’s Grinch. You have to admit, she looks just like a friendlier version of the grinch…. except she isn’t green. And look at those eyelashes!
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We have Holler Ostrich. Actually we don’t have any, but a fellow Hollerite has two. Personally, I don’t see the practicality of pet ostrich for us. I mean they can grow to nine feet, and weigh up to 320 pounds! And they can have attitudes. You can clearly see this guy’s attitude. Would you cross him? Apparently even lions don’t like to mess with ostrich and I can see why.
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I think a 9 foot tall, 300 pound, attitudinal bird, that can run 43 mph, makes perfect sense in Africa, but less sense at The Holler. They aren’t your average canary after all. They can kill lions, and are the fastest two-legged creatures on earth!
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Check out these female wild southern ostrich in Kruger. Aren’t they gorgeous? They are ballerina stepping, tutu wearing, high plains kickers! The Rockettes of South Africa! You go girls…..
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And look how content they are. We saw two groups of ostriches. Females you are looking at here, and another group of males.
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Contrary to common belief, ostrich do not hide their head in the sand when scared. Pliny the Elder just made that up around 73AD. But, as you can clearly see in this pic, they do hide their heads under their friend’s skirts. Some friends might consider this annoying, but this one seemed cool with it.
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Anyhoo, seeing these incredible birds wild and free in Kruger was unexpected and a big thrill! The red necked northern ostrich at The Holler are endangered in the wild, so our neighbor gets my support for raising and caring for them, even though I would prefer to see them wild, free, and protected, in their native habitat.
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Cheers to you from these spectacular, nine foot tall birds, with ‘tudes!

Vertices~

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Some black and white.

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Others, white and black.

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Intersecting lines,
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converging, merging.
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Symbols of diversity.
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Unity.
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Hope, for a conflicted world.
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Cheers to you from South Africa’s harmonious zebras~

Izilwane Zasendle~

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This Zulu phrase means wild animals. There are about 12,000 white, and 627 black rhinos in Kruger National Park. This one is looking at you for protection!
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Leopards in Kruger are rare and rarely seen.
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We were very lucky to see this one! The Kruger population is estimated at approximately 1000, although they are hard to count, because they are hard to find.
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1,700 lions are thought to live in Kruger.
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There are about 37,000 cape buffalo, and yes this one is sleeping. They do that a lot in water holes!
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There are only around 300 nyala. This is a male and two females. Quite a sighting of beautiful, shy, creatures! (Late addition: My blogging friend Quiall, see comments, found a baby nyala’s legs in this photo that I didn’t see. Count the legs and you’ll find the baby!)
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2000 warthogs,
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5000 waterbuck,
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over 127,000 impala,
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and more than 8,000 kudu call Kruger home. A trip to Kruger is an incredible experience and aids the park’s impressive wildlife conservation efforts.
Estimates, calculated between 2008 and 2009. Read more about Kruger’s animals and conservation efforts at: http://www.mediaclubsouthafrica.com/visitsa/1825-240610-kruger-park#ixzz3duwscq1H
Cheers to you from Kruger’s spectacular izilwane zasendle~

Hipposterus,

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hippopotamus.

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Roll and wallow,
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bellow and burp.
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Loaf all day,

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and eat all night.

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I wish I,

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were a hippotomi!
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Cheers to you from Kruger’s loudest critter~

Olifants~

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The Olifants River is a tributary of the “Great, grey, green, greasy Limpopo river.” *
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The river runs through the center of Kruger National Park, dividing the northern and southern regions.
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Olifants rest camp has arguably the best view in Kruger, lying hundreds of feet about the river and offering panoramic views of the African veld from the comfort of your rondavel porch. All of these photos were taken from our porch, with the exception of a few of the following ones, taken in the bush near the river.
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If you look you can see blurring near the elephants feet. This is when my camera started to break down after three harsh weeks in the bush.
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A huge variety of animals come to the river to drink, including of course the elephants that often walk single file to the water. In South Africa winter is the dry season, and the river provides scare water to a variety of animals. Olifants is the Afrikaans word for elephant, and many elephant herds spend the South African winter near the river.
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There is a long walk from the shelter of the veld to the river and animals make the trip in a very cautious manner, always on the lookout for predators. Zebras have a guard who scans the bush while the herd drinks. You can see the guard on duty on the far right.
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Giraffes are the most cautious of all. They scan the veld closely before drinking. They must essentially disable themselves to drink, buckling or splaying their legs in order for their heads to reach the water and this makes them vulnerable to attack.
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When they drink, they do so briefly, immediately resuming the scan, before they drink again. Giraffes only sleep for minutes at a time, remaining continuously vigilant.
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Great herds of Cape Buffalo come to the river to drink.
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Hundreds block the road enroute to the river and when you encounter a herd, you sit in your car, surrounded by a sea of huge buffalo and wait.
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It is unnerving, especially when you are the only one on the road. You can see this buffalo warning us not to proceed. We listened to him!
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I am home at The Holler now, but send you cheers, and a South African river sunset!
* Source:The Elephant’s Child, Rudyard Kilpling

Aquatic Equations~

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Mathematical silhouettes slither submerged,
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concealing cold calculus.

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Silent, strategizing,

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rate over distance, and time, always time.

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Crocodile minds synchronized,

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as they patiently wait to kill.

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Even huge elephants know,

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to give this tactician wide berth!

Cheers to you from the formidable and ecologically important, African Crocodiles~

Driving Etiquette Amongst Wild Elephants~

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It is important to know proper etiquette when self driving among ellies. First you need to know that elephants love to eat and run,
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and they love to cross roads.
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They especially love eating and running whilst crossing roads.
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But more than all these things combined, they love to block roads. What do you do when an elephant blocks the road?
You wait.
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The worst thing of course is to inadvertently block the path of an irritable, lone bull elephant in musk, in pursuit of his disinterested, and fast disappearing, beloved.
What do you do when this happens?
Pray you can get the heck out of his way.
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Elephants love to knock over trees, and they even love to try and knock over trees, they can’t knock over.
What do you do when this happens?
Watch, until the ellie gets really frustrated at the tree, and then get the heck out of his way.
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The biggest tip to keep in mind when driving among wild ellies?
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Do whatever the ellie wants you to do, cuz they really are so much bigger than you!
Cheers to you from South Africa’s intelligent, incredible, irreplaceable Pachyderms!