Photo101 : Day 3 – Water

Even though my star sign is Capricorn, the mountain goat, I enjoy being near water and listening to rippling streams on a lazy summer’s day, or waves crashing on the shore on a stormy day.

These are some of my favourite water photos.   The first one is a very photographed place of natural beauty here in Ireland, the Lakes of Killarney, which is a must see for visitors to this country.

A  view of the Lakes of Killarney

A view of the Lakes of Killarney

And on the other side of the world, in Zimbabwe, no visit would be complete without a visit to Victoria Falls, and the mighty Zambezi River.   This gorge  is called the Devil’s Cataract, and the falls here only have a drop of 60 meters, as opposed to the main falls which are over 100m deep.    Even so, I wouldn’t like to go over the cliff into the ‘boiling pot’ below.

The Devil's Cataract

The Devil’s Cataract

Weekly Photo Challenge : Twist

The Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe was built in 1904 and is the oldest hotel in Victoria Falls.   It is an old colonial hotel, and has a long and colourful history of the many people that have passed through its doors. Going up the winding staircase, you come across these hunting trophies, showing the twisted horns of the different types of wild animals brought back by hunting parties, in a time when hunting, fishing and shooting were normal pastimes for the rich and famous visitors to the wilds of Africa!

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Misty in Africa

This week Ailsa from ‘Where’s my Backpack’ asks us to show some misty photographs, and my favourite place in Africa is Victoria Falls, where there is always mist as the Zambezi River rushes over the Falls into the deep gorges below.   The mist from the Falls can be seen from miles around, especially when it’s rainy season upstream, and there is a huge volume of water hurtling downstream.

http://wheresmybackpack.com/2014/04/04/travel-theme-misty/

The Mighty Zambezi at Victoria Falls

The Mighty Zambezi at Victoria Falls.

Cee’s Which Way Challenge : Week 5

This week, Cee’s challenge is to show pathways, bridges,  roads, walkways, railway tracks, and of course, signs.   Let’s see what we can come up with!

These old railway sleepers are now put to good use to help climbers get to the top of Torc Mountain, near Killarney.   As you can see, the solid wooden sleepers are covered with wire so that they are not slippery in wet or icy conditions.

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The long and winding road.

The long and winding road.

When you start to climb a hill, it can sometimes be daunting to look up at where you have to go!

A fairly long way to go!

A fairly long way to go!

These stone steps lead to a little thatched lodge in Camp Amalinda, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Steps to a secret hideaway.

Steps to a secret hideaway.

And here is the railway bridge between Zimbabwe and Zambia, at Victoria Falls– this bridge will be familiar to anyone who has bungee-jumped while on holiday at Victoria Falls.    For the brave readers among us, it’s a 111 metre drop into the Zambezi river below.

Victoria Falls railway bridge

Victoria Falls railway bridge

And specially for Cee, here is a sign you might like!

Do's and dont's when walking with lions

Do’s and dont’s when walking with lions

For more posts in this challenge, check out

http://www.ceephotography.com/2013/08/07/cees-which-way-challenge-week-5/

Travel Theme : The Four Elements

Thanks to Ailsa at Where’s my backpack, for the latest weekly challenge.   Here is my take on The Four Elements:

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Norwegian Wood

My Earth photo was taken in Norway at the beginning of  winter 2009, when I visited for my grand-daughter’s first birthday. There was a little snow, but by Norwegian standards, it was hardly worth mentioning!

The second Element is Air, and I have 2 photographs for this.  They were taken on a windy day in Howth harbour, looking out at Ireland’s Eye, it was cold and looks like the heavens are about to open in the second photo, even though in the first one (taken a few minutes earlier) the day looks almost pleasant!

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The storm is brewing - time to go inside for a cuppa!

The storm is brewing – time to go inside for a cuppa!

For my Water element, I am moving to another country again, and showing you 2 photos of the Zambezi river thundering over the gorge at Victoria Falls, this is one of my favourite places to visit.

The Devil's Cataract at Victoria Falls

The Devil’s Cataract at Victoria Falls

Water and spray at Victoria Falls

Water and spray at Victoria Falls

And for my final element-Fire – my first photo is that Fiery Ball in the sky, which warms us all from millions of light years away, and gives us energy, makes us happy, and makes us sad when we can’t see it.

The Fire of Life

The Fire of Life

and finally, my own cosy winter fire that keeps me warm when the sun has gone away on a winter break.

Come sit by the fire.

Come sit by the fire.

http://wheresmybackpack.com/2013/05/17/travel-theme-four-elements/

Weekly Photo Challenge : Change

For this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge:Change I would like to show you some photos of an African sunset, and anyone who has lived or visited Africa, knows that the sunsets there are spectacular.    These photos were taken on the Zambezi River just before the sun sank (which it does very quickly) and the sunny, hot day changed to a tropical dusk,and then a starry night.

2013-03-21 18.21.23 2013-03-21 18.21.32

Sunset on the Zambezi River

Sunset on the Zambezi River

The Mighty Zambezi at Victoria Falls

The Zambezi river starts its journey to the sea in northern Zambia, then flows through Angola, and re-enters Zambia before flowing over the Victoria Falls, through Zimbabwe and Mozambique to the Indian Ocean. It is the 4th longest river in Africa, at about 2 800 kms,  It forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, and is at its strongest from March to May/ June, especially if the rain gods have looked favourably on the plains of Africa.

Victoria Falls and the Batoka Gorge have been formed by the force of the water rushing downstream, and the gorge at the start of the falls is over 100 metres deep, and the spray from the falls can be seen at least 1 kilometre away.   It is a truly spectacular sight, and attracts many visitors each day.

Downstream from the Falls is the Batoka Gorge, where there is plenty opportunity to indulge in extreme sports, like white water rafting, bungee jumping, kayaking, zip wire and much more..or you can just admire the view from the very luxurious Victoria Falls Hotel

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The spray from the Falls is called ‘The Smoke that Thunders’ or ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’

 

The smoke that thunders

The smoke that thunders

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It’s true – once seen, never forgotten, so put it on your list of places to see, you won’t be disappointed.

I love the Beauty/Ugliness and Practicality of Baobabs!

One of the trees we came across on our travels in Zimbabwe, is the Baobab tree (Adansonia digitata), also known as the cream of tarter tree, which is a very unusual looking tree.  These trees are normally found at altitudes below 600m, in hot dry regions.   Once the tree loses its leaves, about the beginning of winter, the baobab looks like an upside down tree, with its roots in the air.

Some legends say that God planted the tree upside down – it was first planted in the Congo Basin, where it complained of the wet, so God removed it to another area, where it complained of the cold.   Annoyed by the tree’s discontent, God took it up and threw it into the hot dry regions of Africa, where it landed upside down and has stayed like that ever since.

In March this year, the baobabs still had leaves, so though not as ugly, they still look very impressive with their knobbly bark and wide girth, sometimes looking like an old goblin.   It is not surprising that there are so many myths and legends surrounding these trees, as they are unlike most other trees, and have been around for such a long time, with stories being passed on from one generation to the next.

The wood is very fibrous, and the trees store a great deal of water, which also means that these trees can live for thousands of years.  They have great ‘stamina’ and if the bark is stripped it simply grows again. The bark is used to make fibre mats and baskets, and the bark so removed does not cause any permanent damage to the tree.

Baobab with leaves

Baobab with leaves

 

Baobab trees can often be found with hollow trunks, and an opening at the side, sometimes the size of a door, and local people use the inside of the tree to store grain from wild animals, or even as shelter in a storm, and bats love to live inside, (which doesn’t make for a very pleasant visit, with the stench of ammonia!)  The trees store so much water in the bark that they can help the villagers get water in the dry season, the leaves are rich in vitamin C, and a good substitute for spinach, and can also make good feed for animals, and the fruit and seeds are a good substitute for cream of tartar.

Baobab fruit

Baobab fruit

 

If you visit Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe (one of the 7 natural wonders of the world). then you should definitely visit the famous Big Tree, a few kilometres from the Falls.  This tree is about 2000 years old, and its diameter is more than 7 metres.   Over the years, many visitors have carved their initials in the tree, (we noticed one dated 1923), and for this reason, and to protect the tree, a  fence is now in place – you can look but don’t touch…or carve!

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We also came across some wonderful specimens in the Mana Pools National Park – the one above looks like a slightly ‘younger’ tree, maybe 1000 years old!

Finally,  the fruit of the baobab,  when cracked open, it contains little pods of cream of tartar, the tree is sometimes known as the ‘dead rat tree’, because of the appearance of the fruit….yuk!!

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