Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Partially overcame cynophobia

I felt this is a nice topic to kick start my blogging again. I sowed seed for overcoming cynophobia about a year back. There have been improvements on my fear for dogs. With the help of a good friend who has dogs by name Seidy and Darshan I took my first step towards overcoming that phobia of mine. The situation compelled me to go to their house and the fear I had when they barked was terrible. My legs were shivering and heart was pounding. I chanted the name of God and asked Him to take this fear out of me and decided to experience the cuties. I do not know the name of the breed but they are sweet babies. I asked my friend to hold the dog with mouth closed in their hand and let it to smell my hand. After that they never bothered to even come near me. But every time before I enter their house they welcome only with such formidable barks. After a month or two I had an opportunity to meet the brother and sister of these cuties. Once again the shivering and pounding was at the maximum. Called God for help and ventured into the house of my friend's sister where the siblings of Seidy and

Darshan lived. Here is the photograph of me with them! Yet the fear for the bigger sized dogs has not gone out of me. I hope to overcome that as well soon!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Kruger National Park - African Safari

Our travel from Graskop to Kruger National Park continued after spending a night at Graskop. We left at 6.30 a.m. and proceeded towards Orpen gate in Kruger. There was so much excitement in me as African Safari is a life time experience for those who love nature. Kruger National Park is one such place where you will get memorable experience. After reaching Orpen gate at 8.15 a.m. we reported at the reception as we booked our accommodation and entry ticket over the internet.

 Just near the gate we spotted an elephant, the herd was little inside which we could not see. We were very happy to start the safari with Lord Ganesha’s blessings. After breakfast we entered the real wilderness. The Kruger national park has lot of entrances. Our plan was to enter through orpen gate and reach Skukuza gate before 4.30 p.m. as we had booked for sunset safari at 5 p.m.

We spotted lot of warthogs, Blue wild beasts, Kudu, Giraffes, common reed buck and Steenboks. A drive of another 45 minutes took us to the most gifted sight.
 A zebra family gave excellent pose to the camera. The parents crossed the road before we reached near them. Foal was on the other side of the mud road. On looking at our car the mother and father zebras with all anxiety called the foal to cross the road to reach them. They were shaking their head forward and backward calling the baby. It was a fantastic scene. Once the foal reached them they showed happiness and were licking the baby. They developed confidence in us as we eagerly took photographs and stood at a comfortable distance.

Then we were lucky to spot a white rhino near a water hole. The wild ostrich unlike the ones in farm was gorgeous. We also spotted lot of elephants and their dung all over Kruger national park. It is said elephants eat most of the time and rest only an hour or so in a day.
Another spectacular scene was lionesses trying to hunt baby elephants. The parent elephants were scaring the lionesses away. The parent elephants stood protecting the young ones and it was a very moving scene for everyone looking at it. We could not wait for long as the safari time was fast approaching.

In the above picture please look at the elephant raising the trunk scaring away the lioness. The last bigger picture indicates the position of one of the lionesses present there. I have circled it in black. The colour of the grass and the skin of lioness was almost same. Because it was moving towards the elephant at the time we crossed the place we were able to spot and take picture.

We reached Skukuza camp at 3.50 p.m. just in time for the safari confirmation reporting time at 4 p.m. We reached the guest house and downloaded our luggage and proceeded for the safari leaving my son with his grandparents. The safari started at 5 p.m.

 As we were just out of the gate there was a hunting going on. The place became crowded. I had a glimpse of a cheetah carrying a baby impala and running into bushes. The mom was looking at it and the scene was too pathetic. I had to convince myself stating this is what is called life cycle is. As we moved further in at a far off distance on a rock was sleeping lioness. It did not wake up for long time. Hence the safari moved further away to spot cape buffalos. Around 8 o’clock the guide stopped the vehicle. To all our surprise we saw a leopard just crossing the road and entering bushes. The fellow passengers in total surprise shouted only to make the leopard hide into the bushes. After that we only saw giraffes and elephants. The safari vehicle took a turn and started proceeding towards the camp. Few minutes later the safari vehicle which was going ahead of us was coming in the opposite direction. There was another bumper surprise.

A lion was coming towards our vehicle. We waited until it crossed our vehicle. If you think that would have been the most nervous moment in my life you are wrong. The lion was walking along with our vehicle for 10 minutes. Then it reached a spot. Scratched the mud on the road with legs and settled thereitself giving pose for photographs. We were sitting on the last row on the window side. We had good view and were bit nervous being close to the lion. Every one was very happy and satisfied .

As we proceeded towards the camp after a satisfying lion walk along experience the guide spotted a young elephant. It was single. As the guide stopped near the elephant it became aggressive and it started moving towards our vehicle. I lost my nerves and started shivering. The guide was unmoved by the approaching elephant. The vehicle was at an angle in which the approaching elephant was few yards away from the seat I was sitting. I sat down inside the vehicle to avoid looking the elephant. Finally the guide made the elephant submissive and it started moving away from us. I stood finally to bid good bye to that elephant. With that dramatic scene Sunset safari came to an end. We reached the guest house and had called it a day. The next day morning my parents-in-law went for sunrise safari and they have spotted few lions sleeping on the road and hyenas along with other animals.

After they came back we proceeded towards Crocodile bridge gate. Towards Lower Sabie from Skukuza another surprise was waiting for us. A leopard was chasing a monkey on a tree. We had a good sight of leopard climbing up and down and jumping from a tree. There were lots of resting areas with toilets inside the jungle. One such resting area with a small restaurant had information about the kind of animals spotted at all the camps.

We did not see any big group of cape buffalos. We could not capture leopard as it was moving fast from the eyesight . While making collage for this post I accidentally stumbled on zooming the place where we noticed the lion I spotted the lioness. This gives me the feeling that I should have taken the fast moving leopard too. If any of you happen to spot such ones please do click. You can later use tools to zoom and have a clear picture.

The journey towards Johannesburg started at 3.15 p.m. from crocodile bridge gate and ended at 8.15 p.m. When we were out of the gate where we thought we would not find animals to our surprise was an elephant. We came back with happiness as Ganesha blessed us first when we entered the park and at last wishing a safe journey.
Dinner : Lot of offers were pouring in from friends to have PIL for dinner. Though I was extremely sleepy and preferred sleeping to eating , a small fresh up at home refreshed me and kindled my appetite. We had delicious food at Shruthi & Venky's house

After a week we came to know that a leopard was shot at in Skukuza camp where we stayed. Yes! it has intruded into the camp chasing a monkey in the very same guest house camp ! As it is unsafe for people inside the camp the authorities have shot not with tranquilizer but with gun. Leopards are territorial. So even if it was dropped elsewhere it would revisit the camp. Also other leopards will not allow this one in their territory. Therefore they had no choice but to kill the animal. It was pathetic to hear the news. You can read about this story in

The next posts in this series is "Destination Cape Town!"

Friday, October 8, 2010

Visit to Graskop

We planned a trip to Graskop and Kruger along with Srinath's parents. We happened to travel through all the popular routes in South Africa, namely the panorama route, the garden route and the wine route. I would like to start with the panorama route to kick start the travel posts.

About the Panorama route:
This route is the most exquisite scenic route in South Africa with waterfalls and canyons. As the name suggests we got all 360 degree view of the mountain range. We had the opportunity to travel around this place during various seasons. This time of the year being spring we happened to see lot of flowers and shades of green in the trees and plants.

Our journey from Johannesburg started at 7 a.m., with a break fast break at 9.30 a.m. at Belfast. We passed through Dulstroom a beautiful town with lot of hills and valleys.

The yellow flowers in Orgistad Oasis complex on the way to panorama route caught our eyes.

Around 12 p.m.we could view blyde river canyons as we entered the panorama route
Blyde river canyon: Though Blyde is the third largest canyon in the world it bags first place in the largest green canyons category.
The first spot we stopped to view the blyde canyon was three rondavels. This place is the best spot to view the blyde canyon. The three rondavels stood majestically and the view was breathtaking.
Three rondavels: Rondavel is the African type of hut which usually is round or oval shaped. There are three independent rocks which has shapes of African huts hence the name.

The next stop was at Potholes, the place of origin of Blyde canyon. The place is just right for photographers. The beautiful swirls and the intensity with which water ran through could be seen from the bridges across the river.
Bourke’s Luck Potholes:

 The place is named after Bourke who predicted the abundant gold deposits in that area though he could not find for himself. The place is abundant in red sand stones. The merger of Treur River with Blyde River with swirls caused over eons made the sand and rock to grind huge, cylindrical potholes into the bedrock of the river.
From potholes we proceeded towards the Berlin falls.

 This is yet another place to photograph. We happened to stumble on a place en route to Berlin falls while searching for a picnic spot which was close to a timber saw mill. The spot was wonderful with cool breeze. We settled under a huge tree with picnic.
The next destination was wonder view, the highest view point in that area. No wonder the view point is called wonder view.

 It was wonderful that we had an unrestricted view of the rain forest from an easily accessible point.
After having seen rain forest view the next point of interest was God’s window.

This is the most popular place around the panoramic route with cliff plunging to 700 meters with views of low veld and kruger national park. We purchased two pedestals from the tribal vendors to mark an end to the one day trip en route to Kruger.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Seventh wedding anniversary

By God's blessings I and Srinath have stepped into eighth year of our togetherness. We recollected the places we lived during our wedding anniversaries these years. Life was like tide with ups and downs. Initial days of adjustments were little difficult for me. From day one, every day is a learning experience and understanding is still improving. At times I wonder how many intricate understanding parts are there between a husband and wife. Observing the positives, the inherent talent he has dealing with people, the right decision making attitude have always made me feel that no other person would have been a suitable person for me. Though expectations always do not meet I can take it as a difference between a man and woman, hence balance would be there in life. We are lucky to be blessed by Srinath’s parents this year for our anniversary.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Epitome of Valour

I happened to read an article about St. Joan of arc, whose bravery can be compared to Lakshmi bai, Rani of Jhansi, a young woman who fought English troops and won several battles for France 500 years ago.

It is unbelievable to know that she at the age of 16 listened to her inner voice and prepared herself to take the most dangerous step in life of becoming a soldier though was born as a daughter of a peasant. She had great victories, crowned Charles, a king and died as a martyr at the age of 19.She got freedom for Orleans and was captured by Germans and sold to English and underwent a prejudiced trial. She was considered to have obliged to evil commands and was burnt. She attained Saint hood later!. She is an epitome of female bravery, egoless soul, faith in God, values, and determination.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sarva dharma principles

All religions in the world believe that we should love everybody.

 If we believe in religion we should accept that everyone can believe in God in different ways and not judge or criticize anyone else’s beliefs. If someone criticizes you for believing in your religion you should say “I’m sorry you feel that way, but I believe that all religions are pathways to God” and walk away.

These values if incorporated in children's mind then there would definitely be peace in the future world!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Being an interesting person

My thirst for becoming an interesting person has increased tremendously in the past few years. The hints I would like to share on this topic are that we need to develop certain qualities within us which will make us and the people around us happy and attract crowd where ever we are. Being optimistic is the most important thing. Listening to others and appreciating the real good points when they speak would in turn make them listen to us. A very passionate interest in whatever we learn and sharing cutting edge information with others will make us a person whom others would like to acquaint with. To gain knowledge and interesting information we need to read a lot. Reading about people and psychology would make a big difference . Above all "Understanding is the function of heart, not of intellect" is the basic to this performing art!