It was the poet John Donne who first told us that no man is an island, implying that we cannot live entirely without contact with other people i.e. we do not thrive in isolation. Simon & Garfunkel sing the refrain, I am a rock / I am an island, claiming to be self-sufficient – for the time being anyway. To isolate ourselves is neither possible nor a good idea claims the philosopher, Karl Popper (1902-1994). According to him, we are social creatures to the inmost of our being.

True: so are many other animals in their own way, which is possibly why we enjoy scenes such as the ones below as they reflect the empathy we have for others and connect with our desire to be regarded as being ‘special’ to someone.

Elephants in Addo Elephant National Park


Zebra in Addo Elephant National Park


Yellow-billed Storks in Kruger National Park


Giraffe in Kruger National Park


Springbuck in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park



Zebras at Domkrag Dam

My wish for you all is a year filled with interesting and joyful times; that you will have time to observe the uniqueness of nature; make time to enjoy the company of friends and family; and that you will enjoy the fulfilment of a life well lived. Thank you for having joined me on my discoveries around my garden and elsewhere. Happy New Year!


Can any of you cast your minds back to Doris Day singing Please don’t eat the daisies? The opening lines of the song came to mind when I saw this Zebra enjoying the newly green growth after a very dry winter:

Please, please don’t eat the daisies,

Don’t eat the daisies, please, please.

Please, please don’t eat the daisies,

Don’t eat the daisies, please, please.



Too late!


The urban lifestyle is so far removed from the natural order of things: eat and be eaten. While some may have fruit and vegetables growing in their gardens or on their balconies, the majority of urbanites rely on supermarkets, butchers, bakeries and the like for their daily food. Meat comes wrapped in styrofoam and plastic, bread is pre-sliced in plastic bags, vegetables are ready picked and washed on the shelves – perhaps even pre-chopped / sliced / mixed all ready for roasting or stir-frying …

That is not the case in nature, where the eat and be eaten order applies.

This is what remains of a Mountain Tortoise:

A Zebra munches the dry winter grass:

What is left of a Kudu:

The grisly end of a Cape Buffalo that had been a meal for many:

This is a Warthog grazing – note the way it rests on its front knees:

They also rest on their knees when drinking:

An elephant tucks into a nutritious meal: