Edge of Zulu Nyala

It’s the first day of class for St. Lawrence today, so I’m getting ready and looking towards the future and so forth, but it’s also a great time to look back on the past. It’s been more than a year since I visited South Africa, and when it’s -15ºF on the walk to work, thinking about the Zulu Nyala game reserve can bring back some pleasant memories. It’s the details that stick with me: the fences made from whole sticks of wood, rather than boards, and that particular red color of the soil.

Edge of Zulu Nyala

Scary Farm

For Halloween, what better scary and spooky sight than an abandoned farm? The creepier part comes in the origin of this particular farm: this is part of the abandoned set of “I Dreamed of Africa” in Zulu-Nyala near Hluhluwe, South Africa. So this is an abandoned, decaying facsimile of someone’s imagined African paradise. Eerie!

Scary Farm

Take a Break (Abandoned)

During our time in Zulu Nyala (in eastern South Africa), we visited the set where the film “I Dreamed of Africa” was shot. Since the movie was finished, the area has been used for some other purposes, but it’s largely intact (if abandoned) in the state it was when it was last used. The benches and chairs are welcoming, even amid the overgrown grass, but in places you find the strange artifacts of the set’s true purpose. One-way mirrors and weird hiding-places for cameras are all over the place.

Take a Break (Abandoned)

Piper in Africa

Portraits are less frequently my subject than landscapes, but I’d like to think that this image captures the best of both worlds. As we rolled across the savannah of Zulu Nyala in South Africa, I was able to capture both Piper’s windswept excitement and the broad expanse of green grasses and blue sky in her sunglasses. (And even a hint of our truck and our guide.)

Piper in Africa

The Aloe Hill

Trips through Zulu Nyala went out morning and evening, and as such we experienced some fantastic late-morning and early-evening scenes. (Particularly if, as on this afternoon, a massive rainstorm had just occurred.) This particular vista includes the mysterious aloe hill, where the other savannah foliage is mysteriously absent, with only the alien aloes remaining. An invasion? Could be.

The Aloe Hill

Hillside in Eden

The herds of impala in Zulu Nyala Reserve have almost no fear of the people who come to see them. During the wet start of the summer, that leads to scenes like this one: a verdant savannah hillside, dotted with impala and craggy trees and brushed by the breeze. I start to think that there could be no danger to ever disturb this peace—even if I could see the inevitable cheetah hiding in the grass.

Hillside in Eden

Road by the Fever Tree

African savannah isn’t the homogenous, steady monotony that it appears on the Discovery Channel. (Well, back when the discovery channel showed nature documentaries, anyway.) Dirt roads and hills criss-cross it, and fever trees like this one grow where more water is available. The yellow-green bark comes from photosynthetically active cells. The name comes from an interesting illustration of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy: when early European settlers went near water, they tended to contract malaria (thus the fever). They incorrectly attributed this to the trees, rather than the mosquitos breeding in the water.

Road by the Fever Tree