How can one reduce the wonders of South Africa to a mere ten? I thought I would choose five, then it stretched to eight and then I knew I would have to stop at ten – even then I have had to be ruthless. So here they are in alphabetical order to save me from ranking them.
Aloes: These beautiful flowers stand out in the veld during the otherwise dry winter months and attract myriads of insects and birds at a time when food is not as plentiful as in other seasons. There are over 500 species of them – enough to warrant whole books to themselves.
Black-backed Jackal: I am well aware that small stock farmers curse these beautiful, wily creatures at times, but having watched them closely in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the Kruger National Park and in the Addo Elephant National Park I regard them as one of the ‘must see’ animals on any visit.
Dirt roads: Venture onto a dirt road in this country and you know you are headed for an adventure. Kilometres of them criss-cross the land away from the main highways.
Elephants: We are so fortunate to live within easy visiting distance of the Addo Elephant National Park for we never tire of seeing these wondrous animals either on their own or in family groups. One can spend hours observing them at a water hole – meeting, greeting, drinking, mock charging, wallowing in the mud, blowing bubbles … they are endlessly fascinating.
Erythrinas: The scarlet blossoms of these trees, also known as coral trees, are also a feature of late winter and attract a wide variety of birds and insects. The red ‘lucky beans’ that fall to the ground are also beautiful.
Grass: It may sound odd to some, but I love the tawny coloured grass growing tall in the veld.
Giraffe: Not only are giraffe very photogenic, they are elegant and peaceful as they move between trees or bend down to drink.
Thorns: The long spines of the thorns of the Acacia trees have always fascinated me.
Windmills: Sadly these hardy icons of rural South Africa are becoming rarer with the more widespread use of solar-powered pumps. The clanking sound of the windmill as it turns in the wind is unforgettable.
Zebra: I cannot leave the zebra off my list – always sleek, beautiful, photogenic and very watchable creatures they are.
I wonder what your favourite things are.