Leopard tortoise #437

Daily painting #437 pen, ink and watercolor postcard for the postcard art group

What an amazing day! We were so spoilt! By 9.30am we had spotted the African Big 5...elephant, rhino, leopard, buffalo and lion! They were good sightings within meters of our vehicle! 
The herd of elephant were a huge herd and the matriarch was not so happy we had stumbled upon them. She kept a wary eye on us until her whole herd had moved off and my husband kept the vehicle in reverse and at a safe distance in case she decided to charge! Little babies only a few days old were tucked under their mummies tummies. In all my visits to the bush I don't think I have ever seen such young baby elephant and I thank the matriarch for being so protective. I have such huge respect for these amazing animals and their sense of family is something many could learn from! 
We tracked 3 huge rhino from the bushes down to the river in the mid day heat. In all we had 6 rhino sightings in different places which is good news considering we were told only 2 days ago a new born rhino had to be airlifted by game rangers from her mother who was found dead with her horn missing, such news infuriates me beyond measure! I wish I could share all the beautiful photos I took with you...I wish I share not only the beauty of the bush but the smells and the sounds and the incredible sense of peace one feels when you are sitting quietly just taking it all in...if only I could share it all!
But today I share a little leopard turtle which will be posted off to the postcard art group. The little leopard turtle is part of what we in South Africa call the Little Five game. The little five were so called by conservationists for visitors to also acknowledge the smaller - less noticed - but still enigmatic animals of the bush veld in South Africa, rather than always focussing on the Big Five. Each 'little' species is a contradiction in sheer size to the big five animals, but the first part of its English name relates to one of the famous bigger five animals. The little five game are Elephant Shrew (small insect eating mammal with a long nose), Buffalo Weaver (a bird probably the easiest to find), Leopard Tortoise (an endangered species), Lionant or Ant lion (a large species of ant) and the Rhino beetle (so called because of the horn like structure on its head). We were lucky enough to spot Buffalo Weavers and a Leopard turtle on the side of the road yesterday...but the others would be impossible to find from the safety of a vehicle, one would have to be on foot with a game ranger.

We returned to make a fire and cook supper outdoors (for those of you familiar with my blog you will know what joy this gave my husband!) and to enjoy the last of what Africa had to treat us with...a beautiful sunset over the bush! For all the trouble, violence and bad publicity South Africa often receives...tonight I feel privileged! I feel a huge sense of gratitude that my family and I are able to experience this and tonight I wouldn't choose to be anywhere else in the world! My heart is in Africa!

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  1. Hi Heidi - just want to say I love your blogs, they are fascinating. I'm from England but have lived in Ireland for almost 8 years, which has some nice wildlife but no where on the same scale as Africa, it sounds beautiful. Keep them coming. Kind Regards Nicola ��

    1. Thank you so much Nicola....I so appreciate your message! It's lovely to know that you are connecting with someone out there when you share your story so I am so delighted you enjoy the blog....thank you! I lived in England for 2 years before I was married and I have a special place in my heart for the UK. I only got to visit Ireland once but it right up there with one of the most beautiful countries! I would love to visit again with my family! Lovely to connect with you and hope you keep visiting .....thank you!


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