Preceding the arrival of the Dutch farmers in Algoa Bay, intrepid adventurers and naturalists were exploring the area. Amongst this band of hardy individuals was a Swedish naturalist, Carl Peter Thunberg, an apostle of Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, zoologist, and physician who formalised binomial nomenclature, the modern system of naming organisms. Due to Thunberg’s discoveries in the Cape Colony, he has been awarded the sobriquet of “the father of South African botany”.
Of all the observations
made by Thunberg during his three-year stay at the Cape Colony, two of them
resonate with me but for vastly divergent reasons. This is the story of
Thunberg’s brief sojourn in the wilderness that was Port Elizabeth in the
Main picture: Carl Peter Thunberg in later life
Of course this maxim applies to other wild animals as well. Most at risk are foreign tourists who find certain animals such as lions cute and innocuous. That is as maybe but common sense must prevail. The inevitable happened today. An American tourist was driving through the Lion Park no more than 20kms from Joburg with their window open when the lion struck. In the contest between man and the lion, guess who wins. The woman passenger did not.
What is troubling for me is that there have been calls for this lion to be shot.
Through Moremi to Chobe
The bush odyssey was slowly drawing to a close, but before it did so, there was one more game reserve to visit: Chobe. This area nestled between Zimbabwe, Zambia & Namibia & was the focal point of the supply routes of the terrorist organisations fighting the Rhodesian government during the so-called bush war.
From a conservation point of view, what it is renowned for are its elephants; tens of thousands of them.