NATURAL BEAUTY: African Photo Essay By: Frank D. Pond

Those who know me, know that my “happiest place on earth” is neither in Anaheim nor Orlando.  Rather it lies across the Atlantic Ocean from Orlando and is the continent of Africa, especially the nations of Southern Africa.  I had the recent pleasure of returning to South Africa and Namibia and these photos come out of that journey.  This was my fourth trip to South Africa and the focus was finding the African Wild Dog.  Despite 7 prior safari trips, African Wild Dog was the predator and animal that just could not be found.  To fix that, a friend and I began our trip flying from Jo’burg out northwestward towards the Botswana border stopping just inside South Africa in the wonderful game part of Madikwe.  We picked a lodge that bore the local name for Wild Dog which is “Makanyane” and they delivered–within the first 24 hours.  We had two great Wild Dog sightings one of which included a stand-off with three Bull Elephants.  And the rest of the wildlife was prolific including a rarely observed on safari lion kill (of a Wildebest).

From Madikwe, we ventured back to Namibia to meet up with our great friends and true wildlife heroes, Jutta Maue Kay and John Kay.  In addition to helping young people study and be well, this couple truly puts their time and money where their mouths are with the philanthropic Maue Kay Foundation.  They had not been to Namibia but are African continent regulars.  But, Namibia is different because it is desolate (smallest population by geography in the world) and other-worldly in its desert-scapes, commitment to wildlife preservation despite bone dry terrain and huge red sand dunes that defy belief.  It is one beautiful place.

The pictures from Namibia are from the Namib-Naukluft Desert in the south, Soussesvlei (the red sand dunes and famed Dead Vlei around which J Lo trod in her dreams in the classic “The Cell”–which, I have to admit is what drew me to this location in the first place back in 2004), the Ongava Wildlife Concession in the North West/Central portion of Namibia, Etosha National Game Preserve next to Ongava and in the farthest reaches of North West Namibia, literally on the Angola border (across a river and, yes, we did but don’t tell) in what may be the closest vista to Mars we have on earth.

Enjoy the photos, ask me any questions, and start planning your Southern Africa trip (wine goes well with Safari!).  Travel safe and Travel often!

One Response to “NATURAL BEAUTY: African Photo Essay By: Frank D. Pond”

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  1. You’ ve got some wonderful photos Frank. You were so lucky with the painted wolves, but you chose the right place. John and I have yet to have an encounter with them so we’ll just have to keep going back until we do.
    Your narrative is spot on. We had a great time in this most unusual country. Otherworldly at times.

    Keep on traveling. JK is already in the planning stage for one in Oct. 2014. Brace yourself ;-)