Kalahari desert could double in size by 2100

Oxford Professor, David Thomas, is doing a study that claims that Global Warming might unleash “Sand Seas” in Africa; specifically Southern Africa.

The gist is that more drought and more wind will stop vegetation settling the dunes down and so the desert will expand.

Read more at this National Geographic post.

I still can’t wait for my Kalahari photo expidition in 6 weeks though. Expanding desert or no!

Heunis opvolg: die 1ste Heunis in Suid-Afrika

Ek het ontdek dat die eerste Heunis in Suid Afrika was Hermanus Heunis. Hermanus Heunis was gebore op die 19de 1798 in Leiden, Nederland. Hy’t Suid-Afrika toe geimmigreer in 1798 (toe hy 30 jaar oud was).

Dit beteken dat ons lot nou al 207 jaar lank in Suid-Afrika is.

Hermanus het sommer in sy eerste jaar in SA met Maria Catherina Gerber getrou. Hulle het toe die volgende jaar hulle eerste kind gehad.

Hermanus is 15 jaar later oorlede. Hy het al 15 jaar van sy lewe in SA in Swellendam gebly.

Ek het ‘n search gedoen vir Heunisse in Leiden, maar ek het niks gekry nie. Ek wonder wat het met die res van die Heunisse geword?

“No punches pulled” perspective on the Afrikaner and English

I have just discovered this fascinating blog post titled Why the Afrikaners hate the British.

Admittedly it was written by someone who calls himself a born again Redneck, but the post is very well researched. There are some disturbing photos as well.

He also covers some Apartheid facts which wont be popular in the UK at all, but they are true.

Even if you disagree with him, this post is definitely worth a read.

Nothing beats Beethoven (for me anyway)

I have been suffering of music fatigue lately. You know; when everything on your iPod sounds old. Then last night I stuck Beethoven’s Triple Concerto by Herbert von Karajan and I just realised again what an absolute genius this man was. Nowadays we use the word genius way too much, but I don’t think anyone can deny that LvB was about as genius as they come. Remember that he was totally deaf when he wrote his outstanding 9th Symphony. The 9th is more commonly known as the Ode to Joy or Klanke sonder Melodie if you grew up in Christian Afrikaans South Africa.

My classical music knowledge is not more than knowing what I like. But to me no-one gets me worked up (not chocked up) like Beethoven. His music has so much volume and solidity. I can’t see how you cannot get caught up. I do like many of Mozart’s stuff as well – Elvira Madigan specifically – but to me the dramaticism of Beethoven cannot be beaten.

Kenyan conservation on the brink

In Dec 2001, we were in Kenya on our honeymoon. We were in Amboseli, Samburu & the Masai Mara. It was absolutely fantastic and I would probably say it was one of the highlights of my life. Especially the Mara. It is so awe-inspiring that one can get emotional. But, regrettably, even then I could definitely see some ominous signs that Kenya wasn’t looking after what must surely be their most valuable heritage.

The soil erosion in the Mara was shocking. There are tracks that are as wide as dual carriageways and they are still expanding. And nothing grows in/on these tracks. It is a mess. These widened tracks are formed initially in the rainy season when it is muddy and drivers don’t want to drive through the mud. Instead they drive around the mud and broaden the track in the process. All that is needed is some very basic maintenance on the roads. But there was no maintenance anywhere in the park.

New roads were also being created at an alarming rate. This happened when the drivers (usually on request from their ignorant passengers) went off the roads to get closer to animals. This then created new roads and before you knew it people were using these “new” roads as if they’d been there forever. This could be fixed with just very basic supervision. In Kruger, one of the best managed parks in the world, if you disobey the rules, you can get thrown out.

Now some more extremely worrying news about Kenya has surfaced. The first issue is that the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) has had a lot of its powers removed. Instead the Kenyan government has agreed to give local regions more of a say in how they run conservation in their area. I’m not 100% convinced that this is a bad idea, but many environmentalists think that local institutions are more prone to bribery than the KWS. Being African myself I know that this opinion isn’t totally unwarranted. I want to say that we should just wait and see, but with the stakes are so high that I don’t think we can afford to “wait and see”.

Now to the latest and most bizarre bit of news. I’m afraid this one stinks like rotten eggs to me – I cannot see any legitimacy in this. Kenya and Thailand have signed an agreement that will allow Thailand to manage Kenyan game reserves!! Thailand is one of the worst offenders when it comes to wildlife smuggling. Thailand have just opened a zoo where you can order your lion, tiger etc from its cage. Why on earth would Kenya allow them in. To me it sounds like the proverbial Wolf in Sheep’s Clothes or more appropriately, poacher in conservationist’s clothes.

Not only is this deeply troubling from an environmental perspective, but also from an economical one – so much of Kenya’s economy depends on eco-tourism. Any Kenyan or environmentalist should be very worried indeed.

This post has been syndicated from The Green DB.

Boks in Cardiff

On Saturday we went to Cardiff to see the Boks take on Six-Nations Champions Wales.

I’ve already posted The Millennium Stadium Experience on BokRugby.com so be sure to read it, but I just wanted to add here that one of the things I wanted to try out was taking action photos of the players. Unfortunately that was a failure insofar as taking photos is concerned.

I do think that I learned some lessons. One is to have a decent tripod with a ball/joystick head. Another is to use shutter-priority. Especially in dark/misty conditions.

I subsequently bought a decent tripod with a ball/joystick head (at £199-00 from Camera World) and I have to say I’m extremely pleased with it. Of course sports photography has a lot in common with wildlife photography. So in that respect I’m glad I went through this 1st attempt, before my trip to the Kalahari Gemsbok Park in January.

Will Roland Schoeman defect to Qatar?

I have just read in an Australian newspaper that Roland Schoeman, world record holder and one of South Africa’s top swimmers, has been offered Millions of Dollars to defect to and subsequently represent The Kingdom of Qatar.

Qatar is an oil-rich Middle Eastern country that has no swimming history whatsoever. Here in my comfy armchair, I am absolutely furious that this has happened. I remembered how disgusted I was with Qatar when they bought Shaheen, a Kenyan athlete, in the same way.

And now they’re trying the same with one of our very own.

While I abhor what Qatar is doing, I don’t know how I would judge Roland if he took the money and swam. He gets no support financially or otherwise from any of the South African sports bodies. This really pisses me off, because without people like Roland and Ryk Neethling the administrators wouldn’t have thier cushy jobs.

But it is not just about principles. A consequense of these principles is that sportsmen like Roland & Ryk struggle financially and they almost always have to depend on sponsorships to make a living. And you can only get sponsorships if you’re at the very top of your discipline. If it wasn’t for the American University swimming scene, guys like Roland wouldn’t be able to practice their craft.

So even though I would be very sad to see this bright star leave SA, I’m not sure I can judge him.

I must stress though that sofar nothing suggests that Roland has accepted the offer and I really hope he doesn’t.

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