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letting nature back in

at home and further afield

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naturebackin

Sharing insights and celebrating the creatures and plants that inhabit and enrich suburban spaces, with images mostly from my own garden in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands in South Africa and sometimes from further afield.

African elephants, bark stripping, nutrition and trees

Elephants are very dextrous when stripping bark and branches from trees, using trunk, tusks and their feet in the process – as shown in this series of photos and video.

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The African baobab: Super tree with super fruit

Giant baobab trees are icons of sub-Saharan Africa’s dry savannahs. Their vital statistics are impressive, they dominate the landscape and they provide resources for people and for many species of animals.

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Subtropical depression: Catastrophic flooding in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape

Packing gale-force winds of up to 95 km/h (60 mph) and dumping record-breaking heavy rains on the eastern regions of South Africa, Subtropical Depression Issa evolved from a low-pressure weather system off the south-east coast and reached its peak on Tuesday, 12 April.

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My camera and eye: Strange fascination

A photograph arises from the relationship between the photographer and the camera, from the eye looking through the lens in the moment, and it attains meaning through those receiving the image long after the click.

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Pets and war: Ernesto’s Sanctuary for Cats in Syria

Our dog Amy had a brush with cancer recently, but fortunately we got her to the vet in time for the tumour to be removed before the cancer spread. While waiting for her test results we were preparing to maybe lose her, but when she was returned to us we understood more fully her preciousness.

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Take me to the river: Riverine roaming at Kruger National Park

Rivers with natural vegetation along their banks are special spaces that for some may evoke spiritual responses and notions of the sacred. Even when rivers are dry the riverine vegetation retains a sheltering and nurturing power.

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From tall giraffes to a ground-dwelling nightjar

Giraffe are always fascinating to watch. Usually they are sedate and they spend a lot of time browsing leaves to provide nutrition for their enormous bodies. Recently at Kruger National Park we saw giraffes galloping away from an apparent threat, and later a giraffe nearly trod on a ground-roosting nightjar that otherwise we would have overlooked.

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Summertime mountain flowers

We had an unexpected invitation to spend last weekend in the southern Drakensberg mountains, to which we spontaneously said ‘yes’. Morning walks were a delight and I share here some of the treasures, mostly flowers, that we enjoyed seeing in the grasslands.

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Scrutinized by buffalos at the Kruger National Park

On a morning drive at Kruger National Park, seeing a large group of buffalo approaching we stopped our car to watch. They came closer and closer and then they stopped too. We had thought that we were watching them, but it turned out that they were also watching us.

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