Category Archives: Africa
Today last year was one of the most amazing days of my life. We drove into the Okavango Delta in Botswana, sort of ‘lost” our way and nearly ended up stranded in water and mud, out in the wild. Luckily Gerrit, our driver knew what he was doing, and we were lucky!
We pitched camp, made a fire and ate quietly. Off to bed early to the sounds of the animals: hippos, hyenas, cats….nothing beats this!
The next day we left the Delta and headed back to South Africa, where we stayed at the Heia Safari Lodge outside of Joburg. Highly recommend the place – the zebras drink from the pool and giraffes and various types of “antelopes” run wild. A wonderful cross over back into the “real” world.
Sometimes what I like to do with textures is not totally modify the look and feel of the image, but to use textures just to give depth. I think this one worked out well!
From Flypaper Textures, top to bottom:
Orient Express @ OL 83%
Burnished Clay @ Multiply 62% and Reveal All Layer Mask
White Shagren @ Soft Light 100% and Reveal All Layer Mask
I know what a lucky girl I am (really). So in this spirit when I was going thru my photos from today last year, I had the pleasant memory that I was at a very special place: Elephant Sands Camp in Botswana. It was the second day of our big African tour last year and we spent a few nights at this really cool and low-key camp, where the elephants are wild and in the evenings walk thru the camp grounds to drink out of the swimming pool. I was astounded by how huge they are being so up close. At one point we had gone back to the 4×4 to brush our teeth when the elephants arrived to drink. They were walking thru the camp and we had to walk calmly from one tree to another, staying still as they strolled by us close enough to touch! They meander amongst the camping vehicles, with super light feet even managing to avoid tent lines. Amazing.
We had ended the day with ultra-light flights above the area, a really neat and sort of scary sensation, but the closest I’ve felt to flying.
The next morning we packed up the truck and tents, heading for the Zambezi River and the Great Victoria Falls!
If you ever need some addresses or tips on the area, I’d be happy to share my address book!
Back in 2006 we sent a container down from France with 90% of our belongings which were going to furnish the home and boutique hotel we built in La Somone (south of Dakar), where we planned to live at least 8 months of the year.
I remember packing everything up into boxes (it was not the first time), thinking how excited I was to start this new stage of our lives. However when all those boxes I had so carefully put together joined the French antiques in the container parked in front of our house, I got all choked up and teary-eyed. I took photos of the container driving away to meet the ship which three weeks later would arrive in Dakar harbor. It felt to me perhaps like sending a child off to school for the first time (but different obviously!); there was my “life” being carted away towards uncertainty.
Since that time, we sold the property up north and bought a plot on the beach in the Casamance. We are still in the process of construction, but all of our belongings have been shipped down here and now makes our little house into our “home”. Unfortunately we do not want to live here year-round, so slowly we are bringing back to France what we can carry: last time it was the antique kilims and our photo albums. This time it is personal collections of little “objets” which I find dear (antique fishing lure collection, wood hat forms, crystal wine glasses from my grandparents). I can only pack up to 30 kilos (66 lbs) and so have to make choices of what can go this time, and what stays behind….
On a lighter note, I thought I’d share with you a few images of the interiors. It’s a mix of French, Spanish and Portuguese furniture, accessorized with the “objets” collected from all over the world.
PS – This post is dedicated to my good friend Cassondra : a fellow maker of “homes”.
The Guest House is which we live, while the “main” house is being finished. Our view over the gardens at sunset.
Another French table with our stereo (can’t believe it still works!), little paintings, kilims. A scene from outside the other day when I was going thru all the boxes we had in storage. Found four dead rats. Yum!
The beaches here are fantastic, albeit they are not the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, the long stretches of white sand, hardly any garbage (amazing!) and little construction keep the Casamance rather authentic.
Currently we are enjoying daytime temperatures of 28 degrees C, and the water is around 23 degrees, a touch cool, due to the “Alize” winds which have been blowing the past afternoons.
The days are crystal clear blue, and at night the stars jump out at you, almost as if you can touch them. I have to get me telescope out one of these nights!
I’m still alive in the Casamance, it’s just that the electrics are not! We’ve had a blackout since Tuesday 11am, and now as I write this 6 pm the next day, we’re just back on-line. Ah, the joys of living in Africa!
I’m also without an internet connection at the house, which makes it rather difficult and frustrating to communicate. Last time we were here two years ago our neighbor shared his Wifi connection with us, but of course now his router is broken. So I’m obliged to walk the equivalent of about 3 NY city blocks to the nearby Hotel Amigo and use their Wifi connection – that is when we have electrics! Aaargh!
Despite the number of years we’ve lived and travelled across parts of the African continent, I continue to be surprised by some of the scenes I see, how people have modified elements from the “European” worlds to better fit their own.
Here are a few recent Senegalese “scenes”: Doudou collecting coal (he enjoyed having his photo taken), the egg truck in Cap (I wonder how many eggs survive the bumpy roads!), and finally a quick snapshot of “Amigo”, the little deer which runs freely around the grounds of the hotel (I took this with my phone while balancing my laptop on my lap, so apologies that it’s not a great work of art. But she is terribly cute, non?!
In a week from now I’ll be at Charles de Gaulle airport, waiting for an early morning flight to the Casamance. What awaits is a beautiful beach, hopefully warm water, fresh fish off the “pirogues”, and lots of time to…..
Isn’t this guy magnificent ?! We stayed at Elephant Sands in Botswana on Day Two of our trip. What a cool place: the camp is totally open to the free roaming elephants. This chap was ready for a drink from the pool, so I sat down in a tiny corner close up to get this portrait. It’s hard to describe the feeling when you are so close and you realize these creatures are wild and can turn on you in a moment. I suppose awe is appropriate.
Later at night after our BBQ dinner, they came back to drink some more; we were spellbound viewing this group lit up by moonlight. Drinking from the pool by threes, then wandering around the tents. We fell asleep to the sound of them meandering by…
Loved this royal lion (or whatever sort of creature he is) from the Chateau in Amboise, with his wild eyes, flared nostrils and tongue sticking out at you in defiance. I’ll have to remember this look if I ever go trick-or-treating again.
We spent Thursday in Amboise, visiting the chateau and relaxed before consuming a sumptuous meal. The menu was a “degustation” (tasting), so there were lots of little courses. Very interesting fusion cuisine, which we don’t often eat.
Yesterday and today are less glamorous as we are confined to Charles de Gaulle airport. But, we have a one-way tickets to Johannesburg and the fun begins!
I’ll do my best to post from the road, and will surely let you know all about the trip, where we end up and what sort of adventures we have!
A year ago, instead of sitting amongst the vines of Burgundy, I was under the rays of a Senegalese sun….and this cute little creature showed up with The Boys!
She was a young puppy, very vivacious and a sweetheart. She stayed. She was happy and so were we. Her name is Mischief.