Posted by: atowhee | February 18, 2023


We once ate breakfast on a hilltop overlooking the local watering hole in East Africa. Below us scattered trees spread across a dry, grassy plain. The warthog came, waded into the pool, drank, grunted twice and ambled off. Impala breezed in, each smoothly siphoned water up a slender and delicate throat, head shakes, a little snort of contentment followed by the light-footed lithe levitation of impala in motion. Gravitas and gravity seem out of place in the impala world. As each one vibrates within the vibrant herd, the rest of the world is transfixed, immobile, awed, Baboon tribe arrives. As one mother bends down to drink her clinging child stands upright on her back, reaches for the sky and squeals. The tribe is as organized as water molecules in a bubbling spring. Finally, every thirst is quenched and the tribe starts to move away–oldsters hobbling, youngster gamboling about in circles. Wait, the gray-bearded male whom sat back, now goes to the water, deliberately surveys the scene, drinks and follows after his tribe. You realize then that he is sentinel. If asked he could describe for you every boulder, every tree, every other animal within a half mile. No cheetah, no worry. A small flock of oxpeckers–quick slurp before the flight back to the nearest cape buffalo. Then the zebras. Small bands from a large herd. Each alive, a black and white surface that transmits, emits, senses, seems to measure and assess constantly, instantly, intensely. I have never seen so much subtle life, alert attention, potent potential for power and speed–all encapsulated within that Venetian blind exterior. Three or four zebra at a time so any scent or sjght of lion would incite instant acceleration, Each zebra would speed off in a different direction, leaving any potential pursuers befuddled, bemused, behind.

Still more photo album beauty from then lens of Albert Ryckman who shares this virtual visit generously:

The birds above are, top to bottom: Tawny Eagle, Lilac Breasted Roller, Marabou Stork, Secretary Bird dashing ahead. Your seven year old grandchild can name all the above mammals, among the most video portrayed creatures outside of Hollywood. I must add the leopard pose is classic–they are nocturnal so when we see them in daylight they always seem to be draped over some tree limb, immobile with indifference and lethargy.



  1. Harry, your descriptive language added to Albert’s excellent photos of African wildlife.

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