Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Summer was only just starting, so things were green and lush.  The advantage of this is that you see a lot of wild flowers and the most exquisite birds (I sketched quite a lot of birds), and the vistas are splendid – there is nothing, truly nothing, quite as wonderful as sitting with a glass of wine on a terrace over looking a lake, and watching the animals come to drink as the sun goes down.  The vegetation stretches off for miles, green and vibrant, and over there, way beyond the tree-line, the silvery mountains line the horizon.

The disadvantage to this is that it is much harder to see the animals.  They spend the day lolling about in the shade of big trees, surrounded by high grasses and scrub, and you can only see them if they decide to stand up – as was the case with two leopards which we watched for ages.  One of the few lions we saw happened to be sleeping on the wall of a dam, otherwise we’d never have seen him.  Giraffes are so funny, for their heads pop up over the tops of trees, and they can look really quite incongruous, starting soulfully down.  They are really very difficult to draw because their whole shape is so bizarre that you feel you are getting it all wrong as you move your pencil over the paper.

The other advantage to going during the heat of the summer, particularly at the end of the summer, is that the animals converge around the water holes and rivers, where they can drink and where they can cool off.  We have frequently seen giraffe,impala, zebra, lion, elephant all together at the one water hole – the impala well away from the lions of course.  In scenes like this it is fascinating to read the communication between elephants, the matriarch telling the others to go in to the water, to splash water, to dust themselves, and on one occasion the matriarch even shooing away some lions.  I could watch elephants forever.

Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist.  She is widely travelled and writes regularly for magazines and blog sites.  Her sketches are on her web site .  Her books are available from Amazon and on Kindle, or can be ordered from several leading book stores.

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Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist.  Her books are available as e-books on this site:-            “A Call from France”          “French Sand”         ”The Man with Green Fingers”        “Saying Nothing”

They are also available on Amazon & Kindle, or can be ordered as paperbacks from most leading book stores and libraries.

Posted on 03/12/2012 by Catherine
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