28 December 2016

Mutual affection - ground squirrels

When going into the drier parks such as the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park of the Mountain Zebra National Park, one of my first quests is to find the ground squirrels. They are definitely my favourite rodent and I can spend hours photographing them and watching their antics.

Grooming time in the Kgalagadi.

One of the advantages of a big bushy tail in a hot climate, is that it doubles up as a sun shade.

24 December 2016

Expect the unexpected

When heading toward the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park it is always with a high level of expectation, from the that I will be entering one of the wildest parks in South Africa and will have many interesting and exciting sightings.

On our last trip, instead of stopping at Upington, which was the plan, we pushed through and spent the night at the Kgalagadi Lodge. It is about five kilometres from the Twee Rivieren entrance, so it meant we could get an early start to the day, and be in the Park when it was still cool.

As the main gate only opens at 7:00 am we spent the first few hours of the day relaxing and walking about at the Kgalagadi Lodge, enjoying the local bird life and then this arrived............

One expects to see the unusual when coming to the Kgalagadi.....you expect to see lions and jackals around the camps, or snakes and scorpions...........but to be confronted by something this ugly, is something else.

Who would expect to come across an Emu in this part of the world.

After the initial feelings of surprise and realising that it was not predatory, we spent some time in its company, until it wandered off.

Where it came from I do not know, but it was last seen striding down the road in the direction of Twee Rivieren.

When visiting the Kgalagadi..........expect the unexpected.

23 December 2016

Getting launched and Merry Christmas

The past month has passed with a flurry of activity and we are now in the final run up to Christmas.

If those of you who live in the Southern hemisphere keep a watch out for Santa tomorrow night, you may see him travelling through the sky with his new helpers....and they won't be reindeer. A new tradition started when Santa's reindeer came down in the South African bush with a big BUMPbecause there are now so many more children in the world to visit that they were too tired to pull his sleigh.

All was not lost, because the new helpers saved the day.

When launching a new book, it is always with a degree of trepidation, but Santa's New Helpers has so far exceeded expectations and is selling up a storm. It has provided the impetus for the following books in the series to be published.

Aside from the launch Sue and I had a whistle-stop tour around the country, promoting the book and dropping copies off at our various suppliers, old and new.

Being the people we are, Sue and I could not confine our trip to selling alone. Since we were going to be in the Northern Cape anyway, why not make a small detour (about 1,500 kms) to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park? The trip has provided some wonderful source material for the drawings for the next book, which we hope to launch about mid 2017.

We would like to thank all our stockists for their support in getting the book out into the market and to wish you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A WONDERFUL NEW YEAR.

21 November 2016

Santa's New Helpers - Book Launch

There's lots of excitement in the Hoppe household tonight, because tomorrow will be the fulfillment of a dream of many years, when my first childrens' book arrives.

Santa's New Helpers is the first in the series Tales from the Waterhole. It is a fun story about how Santa, with help from a very unexpected source, was able to continue delivering the toys when his reindeer dropped from the sky, in the South African bush, too exhausted to carry on.

The book is full of the most delightful drawings done by Theresa Hardman, local artist and architect.

You are welcome to join us at the official launch is on Wednesday, 23 November 2016. See details below.

07 November 2016

Santa's New Helpers - Coming Soon

Santa's New Helpers will be giving Christmas a decidedly African feel this year. It will be on the shelves of selected book shops and padstalle, by the end of November.

It's a fun book, with wonderful drawings and will be available in three of our official eleven languages.

Alternatively keep an eye on the El Gecko Publishing website, where you can order on line.