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About Chakra

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    Leicester, UK
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    Little Five

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  1. Thanks very much for alerting us to this unique place. Most of us make a quick trip to Salar de Uyuni from Chile and say that we have been to Bolivia. I couldn't agree more with your statement about Chinese economic influence and the disastrous effect on local wildlife. A very commendable conservation effort indeed in this tough situation.
  2. Thanks for the report. Monumental effort and excellent sightings. Not many foreign tourists brave the heat of April. Hope you'll return to Incredible India soon.
  3. Thanks very much for continuing the tale after the difficult time you had encountered recently. I'm really fascinated to learn about the differences in techniques between two experts. I had always thought Diane Fossey's technique to be the standard one. In the first video I hear someone saying "stop" several times @ 0:41 mark. Just curious, was that addressed to you or or to someone else who did something upsetting the silverback ? Hearing about their expression of gratitude to the tourists is really touching.
  4. Please, don't take too many breaks. I want to read it in one go. "Heart of Darkness" was my class reader in Grade 12 and I had to critically analyse various characters. It was a painful task to start with, but gradually I fell in love with book. Since then it's one of my dreams to travel to follow Conrad's footsteps. I have been seriously thinking about going to Odzala, but that looks too easy. Instead I fell in love with Virunga !! My heart goes out to those brave rangers and every time I learn about another death in the line of duty I feel terribly sad. Travelling to Virunga is the best way to support their fight. And lastly to the excellent books already mentioned here, may I add Michael Crickton's Congo as well ? Clearly not in the same league but a good read to kill a few hours in the airport. Just wondering, why not Nyiragongo ? Cheers
  5. Excellent report @TonyQ. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Abundant birds, otters , lovely scenery, even the weather was not too bad, apart from odd soaking. What else can you ask for ? Very timely for us. Xelas and I will be travelling ( not together) to some of the places you had visited and would consider ourselves lucky to see what you have seen. I was really keen to see the Corncrakes at RSPB Balraland but sadly can't fit it in this time. I'm sure Xelas will see a few there as he'd spend several days in Uist. I have to say I am also not too keen on these boat trips where they throw fish to eagles, but after reading your comments I think I'll change my views and perhaps book one. I know puffins are gone but hopefully the Minke whales and dolphins will make up for that. And who knows may be even a basking shark !! Thanks for sharing your experience.
  6. Alex: I challenge you to conquer the Van Zyl's pass before I do. Let's see who is Da Man !!! Northern Namibia is crying out for us ! Hope your 4th Trip is looking north.
  7. I heard about this when driving home. He was a legitimate target I believe. Well, what can I say. Small mercy as apparently he died quickly after being shot with bullets rater than dying a painful protracted death like his father, shot by an arrow.
  8. Of course, I take back my words.
  9. That Tree is indeed one of the most photogenic trees I've ever seen. So your luck with "loop road" did not work this time ! Met the resident Honey Badger of Halali ? Okaukuezo is like a zoo, Halali is way better.
  10. I have asked "The Master" @Galanaabout feathery friends in Hebrides , as I was wondering whether it'd be worth lugging the big one in last week of August. To quote him verbatim : " There will be birds around. From Eagles to Wrens. Late summer migrants and maybe early Autumn ones plus all the lazy ones who have not bothered one way or another. I will admit to some disappointment with Lewis scenically and birdywise. It was fine but access was a problem. Loch Stiopabhat had a productive hide. The RSPB reserve near Arnol had no hide.Nice walk up to the Harris Eagle hide produced no eagles only a Coastguard helicopter making a racket. The SE Owls are great and quite relaxed as they sit by the roadside. If you draw up and approach slowly they will often sit tight. They don't even blink when trucks roar by but somebody braking noisily will set them off." Currently RSPB Bempton cliff has reasonably good puffin show.
  11. Lovely pics. Heading towards Scottish Highlands and outer Hebrides next month. Puffins would be gone but hope to see some of your other captures.
  12. OK , it's God's fault. He got carried away with vibrance, saturation , clarity, tint, hue..... everything in his editing palette. In my humble opinion Namibian sunsets are as colourful as aurora borealis, only if those colours could dance.
  13. Thanks Galana , don't worry, I hope to back before 2019 with some more humorous posts. And I'm not yet done with this trip. On the way back to the airport I had a full day and decided to take a long detour to see some more handicrafts and ruins. The first stop was the weaving of Patola saree, eye-wateringly expensive but eye-poppingly intricate design. The whole five yards of the saree is made from two or three dyed threads, hand-weaved and tying knots at pre-calculated distances. Can take up to six months to make. This is supposed to bring luck and prosperity to a house. My mother-in-law had a couple of these, which were handed down to her daughter and she was not going to get any more from me !! Just a couple of pics of Patola being made Next I was off to the ancient capital of Gujarat : the town of Patan to see one of the best preserved Stepwells called Rani ni Bhav. People who have visited Rajastahn must have seen these step wells which go down and down to preserve water. The beauty of the Patan step-well was its intricate and almost intact architecture. There were seven levels. The concept of the Mother Goddess riding a lion was present in far East for a long time. Here is Mother Durga, one of the main deities of Hinduism, riding a lion and killing the demon who took the form a black buffalo. And then a quick detour to the Sun temple of Modhera. This was partly destroyed by Muslim sultans after their conquest of India. One of the main reasons being the erotic art of the temple. Some of it has been restored and still looks very impressive. The reservoir in front of the temple Surya : The Sun God, defaced and amputated. Erotic art : very little left Then it was back to airport. But on the way our driver Gambhir Singh took the car off the highway and started getting into country lanes. I thought may be he was finding a shortcut but all of a sudden he stopped and said with a big grin, " Dekh lijiye Saab, Kiteny More chahiyae ?" meaning "have a look Sir, how many peacocks do you want? " He was aware of my interest in birds and took trouble of finding the village where peacocks roamed everywhere. Incredible India : one of the most beautiful birds in the world were scavenging the garbage dump. Some of them had developed quite long tails and were clearly trying to impress the ladies. I pressed the shutter to my heart's content and some of them came out quite well !! Gambhir Singh's tip was increased by 20 % !!! Two birds in one stone The preening The lady was not that impressed One beautiful creature photographing another beautiful creature Common Hoopoe as well. Came to meet me, the reincarnation of Solomon the Wise. But sadly the Hoopoe could not find the Queen of Sheba for me. And a line of herons all waiting patiently On the way back I saw all the cranes flying back to roost. I believe sometimes these lines can stretch up to miles. Sorry, poor shots, from moving car. That's it. The adventure was complete with a hearty meal from a roadside stall : freshly fried "Bhajia" with salt, onion and green chilies. Yum, yum , yum !!! Gujarat was truly an unexpectedly pleasant and eye-opening trip. I went with little expectations but returned with tons of pleasant memories. "Phir milenge" : See you again.
  14. Hmm, no need to stay at much more expensive Grootberg lodge at all. Fabulous experience.

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