Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Homer's Happy Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope your day was fantastic.

I was so excited when I awoke, knowing that I would get lots of presents and yummy goodies! Yay!

Here’s me checking out my pressies. Much to my disappointment, I didn’t get what I wished for…

…“Where’s the iPhone 5 that you promised me?”

Oh well, all was not lost. I got some yummy treats and a pink flamingo cuddly toy...

…which I played with for the entire afternoon.

Here’s me sleeping with my new toy.

The best was yet to come – the mouth-watering FOOD!

By the way, something sneaked into my kitchen last night. Can you guess what it was?

Woo hoo, it was the ‘Turkey God’!

As you know, I always worship the Turkey God whenever It comes to town.

I stared in awe for a while, before beginning to pray…

Unfortunately, It refused to budge from the bench!

There it was, the Turkey God in all its glory, weighing in at 11kg/24 pounds. It lay on the kitchen bench, dressed in exotic herbs and spices.

Man I was drooling!

Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime, the Turkey God emerged from the kitchen, fully cooked.

At last, the Missus prepared my portion, complete with all the trimmings.

Got to go now, there’s food to be eaten.

Wishing all of my friends a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Christmas Cards 2012

During the last couple of weeks, I have been receiving Christmas cards from my four-legged friends around the world.

Thank you for thinking of me during the festive season!

Check out the doggie faces on my cards. They are simply so adorable and precious!

The Missus has placed the cards in a great place – next to my food bowl. I can now admire the booti-ful cards whilst partaking in my favourite pastime – eating! Clever eh?

Thanks again to everyone who sent me a card. For all of those who haven’t received a card from me, this one is especially for you…

Merry Christmas to everyone! I woof you.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Crazy Christmas Tree Capers

Woof everyone!

I hope your weekend was fantastic! Mine wasn’t. You see, Christmas is around the corner which meant that it was time to put up the darn tree…

“This is so complicated!” I didn’t know where the heck to start.

I spent the next 30 minutes staring at the different parts and racking my brains as to how they were supposed to fit together.

It all got too much for me. I thought I’d better take a ‘power nap’ – hoping that my mind would be refreshed and I could work out the damned instructions. Whilst asleep, I dreamt of pixies, elves, gnomes, fairies and goblins, all helping me to put up the tree…

…miraculously, by the time I woke from my deep slumber, the tree was up! Hooray!

Blimely! Dreams really can come true!

Unfortunately, my job for the day wasn’t yet complete…

…I still had to sort out the lights. Bah! I always seem to get myself tangled up!

“…The lights! Ahhh!”

Luckily, I don’t have any such problems with the booti-ful decorations.

After hours of tribulations, I had finally completed my Christmas decorations.

Ta-da! See. I am an expert!

So, if you need any advice on putting up your tree, drop me a note and I will try my best to offer you some excellent tips!

Good luck.

Monday, 3 December 2012

The Serengeti: Our Last Day, February 2012

I had enjoyed my time ‘chilling’ with the lions on the first day of our visit to the Serengeti. However, these were by no means the only predators we got to see during our stay.

It was a particular hope of mine that we would get to catch at least a glimpse of a cheetah. I was not to be disappointed.

Our first encounter was with a lone cheetah weaving through the tall dry grass of the savannah.

On our final day, we were lucky enough to witness two fantastic cheetah sightings. Firstly, we spotted a mother with four beautiful young cubs. They could have been no more than a few weeks old.

We also came across a coalition of three cheetah brothers prowling across the plain.

In addition to the cheetah sightings, during one particular game drive, we experienced a real treat. Unexpectedly, we came upon one of Africa’s more elusive creatures – the Striped Hyena. These are nocturnal animals and it is rare to spot them. Not only did we find an adult female in broad daylight, but we were thrilled to discover that she had a sole cub with her.

We spent at least an hour with these intriguing animals before moving to explore some other wonders of the wilderness.

The beautiful savannah.

It was all too soon time for us to leave the Serengeti and return to ‘reality’.

Over the past few weeks, I have posted a number of blogs chronicling my experiences in Botswana and Tanzania. I would like to dedicate all of these journals to the many great men and women who work tirelessly to preserve these wonderful environments and to protect their magnificent inhabitants.

I publish this posting having just returned from my latest ‘pilgrimage’ to Africa. More on this to follow…

The Missus.

With our Masaai guide, Nboi.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The Serengeti: A Return to Ngorongoro Crater, February 2012

It was hot and dusty. I stood on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, surveying the spectacular landscape with its savannah stretching out below. The crater is in fact a large caldera, which has several ecosystems and contains various types of land mammals; including the densest population of large predators in Africa. It was formed by a huge earthquake millions of years ago and it lies in the midst of the Great Rift Valley, which runs for 3000km down the eastern side of Africa.

As we had been in the vicinity, we had decided to make another journey to the crater. This was my second visit - the first venture having taken place in 2009 during my maiden trip to Tanzania.

Anyway, here are some photos taken of the surroundings and the ‘local residents’.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Serengeti: Lions, February 2012

Following our arduous journey from Singapore to the Serengeti, we eventually arrived at our camp in Ndutu.

Bill relaxing outside of our tent.

It was our first night sleeping on the savannah. It dawned on me that there was nothing between us and hundreds of Africa’s deadliest predators than the thin canvas walls of our tent.

The awe-inspiring African night was peaceful and quiet. I was fast asleep. Unexpectedly, my deep slumber was rudely interrupted by a deep, unworldly sound: “huh…huh…huh”. In my semi-conscious state, I instinctively shoved Bill and hissed, “Stop snoring!” The noise abated and I quickly drifted back to sleep.


We went for a particularly early morning drive, hoping to catch the African sunrise. Everyone was extremely quiet in the vehicle. I suspected that none of us were fully awake yet. Our guide broke the silence, “Did you hear the lions prowling near to our camp last night?” His words hit me like a ton of bricks. These apex predators, weighing an average of 200kg each, had been within earshot of our tent! I had mistaken the lions’ calls for Bill’s snoring! “Wow” was my immediate reaction. It took me a minute or two to digest the information, but I soon shrugged it off. After all, I was in Africa, trespassing upon their territory.

Within half an hour of setting off, we came across a pride of lions. If my memory served me right, there were five adult lionesses…

A lioness with one of her cubs.

Another lioness.

…a couple of juveniles…

...Oblivious to the world.

More cubs.

The young cubs were reaching for their mother's teats. 

A lone adult male.

As I watched these huge majestic beasts frolic around, I could not but help wonder whether these might be the same lions which were prowling around our camp the previous night. It was an interesting, if not chilling, thought.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Serengeti: Calving Season, February 2012

Ever since my return from Botswana in September 2011, I had been constantly reliving memories of that wonderful experience: the beautiful landscapes of the Okavango Delta, the amazing wildlife roaming across the vast savannah, the smell of African wild sage lingering in the cool morning air and the occasional roar from a lion in the distance. How I longed to be there once more!

An opportunity arose in February 2012. Bill had been working long hours for the previous couple of months and was in need of a short break. Our initial plan was to visit somewhere ‘local’. Perhaps Bangkok, with its vibrant city lights, or the cultural ruins of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. However, although these places had their attractions, my heart lay elsewhere. Having dropped a couple of subtle hints to Bill, he finally relented and agreed to accompany me on yet another venture to my beloved Africa.

We hurriedly explored our options and within a matter of days, we had made the necessary arrangements. We would be setting off for our second expedition to the Serengeti, Tanzania. This was the destination for my first ever safari in 2009 and the place where my love affair with Africa began.


Our journey from Singapore to Tanzania took around 30 hours. Although it was long and arduous, I was not deterred - I knew that I was heading to my ‘Utopia’. By the time we finally arrived at Kilimanjaro International Airport we were lethargic but, at the same time, elated. As we boarded the charter plane for the final leg of our journey to the Serengeti, my tiredness wore off and my heart began to beat with excitement. I could hardly wait!

Inside our charter plane.

During our flight from Kilimanjaro to the Serengeti we encountered a lot of turbulence and a couple of our fellow passengers suffered from air-sickness. To escape from this unpleasantness, I distracted myself by looking out of the aeroplane window. I was rewarded with some fantastic sights. Our journey took us over Africa’s tallest mountain: Mount Kilimanjaro…

The snow-capped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro.

…the Great Rift Valley, the Ngorongoro Crater – the world’s largest volcanic caldera…

The Ngorongoro Crater.

…and, finally, the Serengeti.

The Serengeti, littered with Acacia trees. This picture fortuitously captures the shadow of our plane sweeping across the savannah.

Once the plane landed, I stepped out of the aircraft, took a deep breath, turned to Bill and said, “Darling, we’re back!”

Our camp was located in the Ndutu region, to the southeast of the Serengeti National Park. Mention the word ‘Serengeti’ to a seasoned Africa wildlife traveller and you will immediately conjure-up images of the wide-open plains, the vast herds of wildebeest and the abundance of predators. This is the venue for the ‘migration’, where over 2 million animals embark upon their annual trek around the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem.

Map of Serengeti with Ndutu.

As we began to collect our belongings from the plane, we were approached by our new guide who introduced himself as Fidali. On our way towards the camp, we had our first sighting of a herd of wildebeest grazing. Following close to the wildebeest cows were the newly born calves.

Can you spot the tan coloured calves?

We were fortunate, or, shall I say, we went at the right time for the wildebeest calving season. During the month of February, the wildebeest congregate at the southeast of the Serengeti where they synchronise their births and ‘drop’ their calves simultaneously. The short grasses, which enable the animals to spot their predators, are also an excellent source of nutrients for lactating mothers and their new-borns.

It is, indeed, a paradise for the wildebeest as well as a wonderful location for us to be a part of nature’s process. I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be fantastic to witness the actual birthing of a wildebeest?”

Unfortunately, we did not get to see the ‘moment of birth’ but we were often there just moments afterwards. To watch the newly born calves make feeble attempts to stand up and then reach out towards their mothers was such a mind-blowing experience; something which I will never forget.