Thursday, September 22, 2011

Some pictures

Greetings from Skukuza Camp in the Kruger National Park. I posted some pics from my Flickr account here over on facebook, but if you're not on facebook then click on that 'here' back then for a look.

I'm finding facebook easy to use, particularly the mobile uploads of pictures, but it's also quite limiting, which is why I promise I'll keep coming back to the blog. I thought I might use the space here to give a bit of background to some of the pictures.

The wild dogs were a trio we came across on an early drive from Pretoriuskop to Skukuza about a week ago. It's always a thrill to see the dogs as they're usually active - sniffing each other and anything manky they can find in the bush; running and jumping and playing as they limber up for a kill; and they're completely at ease around cars and often quite curious. Mrs Blog and I thought these guys were looking for the rest of their pack as they were making this weird high pitched noise, almost like mooing. We'd heard dogs whining and yelping before, but never this sound.

The waterbuck (big shaggy grey antelope with curved horns) pics were taken at Transport Dam, scene of the famous 'Battle At Kruger' video on Youtube. If by chance you haven't seen it, it's well worth a look. Transport Dam was also where I took the pic of the Blacksmith Plover (at least I think that's what it is) dive bombing the African Fish Eagle.

The Grey Heron (that's the grey bird) taking off; the tiny brightly coloured Malachite Kingfisher with the red beak; and the Crake (little brown bird with yellow beak) watching the baby croc slide into the water, were all taken at the fantastic Lake Panic Bird Hide near Skukuza. This is one of my favourite bird spotting spots in Africa. There's always something going on there.

The hippos and the pics of Broomas, our trusty white 1997 300Tdi Land Rover Defender were all taken on the Madlabantu 4x4 adventure trail, near Pretoriuskop Camp in the south of Kruger. The 4x4 adventure trails are actually not really 4x4 trails or all that adventurous, but they are great fun. There are a few of these trails in Kruger - basically secondary bush roads and fire trails formerly only accessible to national parks vehicles. The good thing about them, though, is that they give tourists (like us) access to remote areas, away from the rest of the traffic in Kruger (principally because you have to pay R460 - about AUD$65 for the day to use the trail). It's worth the money as you can explore on your own, get out of your vehicle when you want to, and generally feel like Lord Jim of Africa, master of your own domain. The hippos were in a pool we had to ford through (I say 'ford' like it was a big deal, but the water at the crossing point was maybe 25 cm deep). The hippos were very close, though.

Mrs Blog took the rhino shots and I particularly like the one with the giraffe in the background.

Finally, the leopard shots were a couple of old ones still on the camera from my last Readers' Safari to South Africa back in July. I took these on a game drive out of the absolutely sublime Kirkman's Kamp in the Sabi Sand private game reserve on the edge of Kruger. We had a ball on that trip and plans are afoot for more trips, possibly in 2012, and almost certainly in 2013. Feel free to drop me a line via my website or on facebook if you're interested in joining me in Africa on a tour some time.

Oh, yes, and last of last the helicopter is a South African National Parks aircraft. Mrs B and I watched it circling a rhino just near the Diospane Road on the way to Skukuza one morning last week. In the back, with his dart gun (you won't really be able to make him out in this pic) is Kruger Park veterinarian Dr Peter Buss. Peter's a great guy who helped me a good deal with some of my research for my latest book, 'AFRICAN DAWN'.

Must get back to work now. Oh, and if you're not my friend on facebook yet please feel free to befriend me here.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

AFRICAN DAWN, coming soon the UK and South Africa

Yes, I know it's been a long time since I blogged, but I've been busy writing a 1oth novel, OK? (The ninth is being edited and is due out next year).

First up, I just like to see a very big and very humble thank you to every in Australia and New Zealand who bought a copy of my latest book AFRICAN DAWN. It's because of you that I am where I am in the Nielsen Bookscan Top 10 list (above). As my publisher in the UK at Quercus Books said to me in a very nice email today, "if you can't trumpet number one, then what's left to shout about?"

I'm not sure where I sit in the overall fiction Top 10 (the list above is Australian fiction), but I do know that a couple of weeks ago I was number 2 overall behind some fellow named Patterson, or something like that.

I'm also very pleased to announce that AFRICAN DAWN will be released in the UK and South Africa very soon - in October, in fact. Here's the cover for the UK/RSA edition...

I'm currently tapping away on my laptop in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. I've been dabbling a bit on facebook so if you haven't befriended me there, please feel free to do so.

I also have good intentions of blogging more. Mrs Blog and I are off to Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe soon and I should have much to write about from this trip, although it's usually quite hard for me to connect to the internet in all three of those countries. Stay tuned...