Once again Mother Nature forced her hand when we were on the North Coast of Kwazulu-Natal recently.
Guy, Matt and I had decided to take a walk along the beach in the drizzle. Throughout the night there had been heavy rains. I mentioned to Guy and Matt that I was amazed that with all the rain, the lagoon had not burst its banks as it is prone to do at Prince’s Grant when the rains are heavy.
Within minutes of my comment I shouted: “Oh, my gosh! there she goes”. I raced back to the cottage to grab my camera and these photographs tell the story.
We stood in awe as we watched the force of water break through the beach and swirl into what had previously been a clean sea. Within seconds the ocean on both sides of the breakthrough was discoloured and filled with debris. We noticed birds starting to swirl over the water looking for dregs washed into the sea from the lagoon. A fish eagle swooped down from the tall trees where it is prone to nesting. It settled itself on a dead branch not far above the level of the water, on the lookout for barble or mullet being swept down to the sea.
As the waves crashed onto the beach, pods and seeds from the mangroves and other water plants were washed up with the debris along the beach.
I marvelled at the force of Mother Nature. If only man would support the environment and allow nature to take its natural course we could live in harmony with the perfection that God has created.
Guest Blogger Karen Lotter
With Cop17 in Durban and more than 20 000 delegates attending the conference, everybody is talking about climate change and about environmental issues.
Suddenly we are all experts in spite of the fact that most of us don’t Reduce, Reuse, or Recycle. Let’s face it – we are spoilt consumers! And South Africa is high up on the list of polluters, with our reliance on coal for energy and companies like Sasol and Eskom doing great environmental damage.
While members of the public cannot attend the Cop 17 sessions, there are many other events and activities.
A trip down to the Green Hub on the uMgeni Riven at the Blue Lagoon can be an outing for the whole family.
Of course there are the “Occupy Cop 17” groups, made up out of civil society representatives in Durban, who in conjunction with COP 17 deliberations, have vowed to host peaceful protests during the course of the Durban talks. They are set up at Block AK at the Greyville race-course.
The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has been identified as the site of this year’s COP17 alternative space, known as the ‘People’s Space’, where national and international civil society will come together around the global issue of climate change.
We often like to think that climate change and environmental issues are not our problem, but here are a few ways to make climate change issues part of your everyday life.
“My journey with & Beyond has been the odyssey of a lifetime. I have crossed great beautiful landscapes and stood on what seemed to me the edge of the world, as I knew it… and felt my heart soar into its ancient sky, somehow humbler than I have ever felt. Somehow part of eternity” - & Beyond Guest Book
Migration of Millions of Wildebeest in Serengeti
If you have been born in Africa the rhythm of the continent pumps within your blood – you have an African soul.
Guy and I are privileged to have just returned from a two week get away in East Africa. We experienced the never to be forgotten migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra moving north through the Serengeti on their annual migration to the Masai Mara where water is always available. When the animals sense the new rains coming in from the south, they finally turn and head back towards their breeding grounds where once again they drop their calves, in the never ending circle of life.
At the base of the Simiti Hills lies the & Beyond Tented Kirawira Campsite. It was from here that we were able to drive out and follow the huge herds in their quest for grazing and water. The Tanzanians who looked after us at the & Beyond camps, both in the Serengeti and at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge epitomised the warmth and hospitality of our African people.
Wildlife conservation and ecotourism are vital for Africa’s future and the prosperity of its people. If Africa’s threatened ecosystems and endangered species are to be protected then the support of communities living in and around the conservation areas are vital.
The &Beyond Foundation
The & Beyond Foundation has been highly successful in empowering and enriching such communities. As an independent not-for-profit organisation they are committed to preserving and expanding Africa’s wilderness areas for the benefit of wildlife and its people. It is for this reason that Archbishop Emeritus Desmond and Mrs Leah Tutu have become patrons of the & Beyond Foundation.
Please see the rest of our East Africa Gallery on flickr
The black clouds swirled up the valley and dark enveloped us as though it were night. And then the random tap, tap, tap on the tin roof of our house, ever increasing to where the sound obliterated all other sound.
The wind hurled the leaves from the trees as the branches violently danced to the whim of the storm. Our dogs crept into corners as I looked out of the window in awe at the magnitude of the hail storm. I was reminded once again of how insignificant man is when pitted against the might of the universe.
A white woman who owned a truck drove out into the storm to rescue black domestic workers who were walking or running down the road to try to get to a taxi rank and out of the storm. Again I was reminded of how we have extraordinary people living in an extraordinary country.
I am proud to say that I am South African.
The thorns of the tree, Ziziphus mucronata, are spaced along the length of every branch in pairs. One of the pair points robustly outward and forward while the other curves back and inwards in the opposite direction.
The Nguni African legend says the thorns tell us something about ourselves – that we must look ahead to the future…but we must never forget where we have come from.
Time out on the Beach
I took time out at the beach and on watching the reflection of the moon on the waves I couldn’t help but marvel at the wonder of the universe. Since the beginning of mankind more thought has gone into understanding God than any other subject under the sun.
One only needs to be with nature to know that God is the name for the force behind creation. How else do you explain the beautiful patterns on a butterfly, the colours in the rainbow, the scent of a flower and the reflection of the moon on the sea? Everything in nature has been so beautifully created and interwoven that every organism is a link in the chain that sustains the beauty of life on planet earth. How can we continue to offend God by destroying our natural world and ultimately destroying ourselves?
I recommend a book written by Ian McCallum called Ecological Intelligence – Rediscovering ourselves in nature.
The opening paragraph in the Introduction reads as follows:
“Toward a greater awareness of the privilege of what it means to be the human animal is what this book is about. To me, it is a wild and ethical imperative – an urgent reminder that we are inextricably linked to the land; that the history of every living creature is within us; that we are above all a mindful, poetic species and that we are the “keepers of our zoo”. If we cannot accept this then we will continue to be the creatures of our own undoing.”