To join me on a virtual sketching trip, download a travel sketch-journal here.
I add tutorials to them so you can learn the techniques and details you see in the sketchbooks.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Visiting Moholoholo Rehab Center

Track ID sheet
So far, we had spent our time~
except for our one-day circuit through Kruger National Park in the rental car ~ at Moholoholo Mountain View practicing tracking skills and photographing the beautiful wildlife (are warthogs beautiful? I think so!) ~ .  There was much to learn, much to photograph and sketch, and we all made the most of it in our individual ways. 

baboon tracks
Colin used some remarkable laminated sheets with track illustrations on them to help us identify the various tracks we saw. The sheets pointed out the many things to watch for to assist in identification when looking at tracks. 
The image above shows vervet monkey tracks on the left and baboon tracks on the right, so they can be compared.  So when we ran across these tracks in the dust near the waterhole, it was pretty clear, even though the tracks weren't absolutely perfect, that they had been made by baboons ~ the size being one giveaway.
the viewing platform

I was spending more time, now, sketching busily away as the others perfected their tracking skills.  

Papa warthog comes to drink
The opportunities seemed endless as I watched at the viewing platform for guinea fowl, monkeys, nyalas, francolins (an African quail), mongooses, and other obliging wildlife, who showed up to eat and drink throughout the day.  

Sketching en plein aire
 The warthogs provided endless entertainment as they "hogged" the resources, being at the top of the pecking order. I couldn't get enough of them.  But there were many other sketching opportunities too: 

I found the seedpods intriguing, with their curious attachments to the pods. Their thorny host trees provided endless entertainment as I forever seemed to be shifting into reverse to extract myself from thorns as I pursued fascinating flanged vines (see the image) or camouflaged monkeys).  

a peculiar flanged vine
On August 6th (I think), we visited the Moholoholo Rehab Center where we became acquainted with a young black rhino, invited vultures to land on our arm (enclosed in a heavy leather glove!). 

Joe interviews a black rhino calf
We got to pat a cheetah, and got close-up views of honey badgers, hyenas, lions, a whole array of eagles and vultures, and other animals brought to the center after sustaining injuries or unscheduled separation from their parents.

Cape Wild Dogs are endangered

Johann holds a vulture on his arm
Many of these are returned to the wild after they are mended or rehabbed.  Some, however, can't be returned if they wouldn't be able to sustain themselves, and serve as educational tools for the public.  I was particularly taken with the Bateleur Eagles, who were so calm and friendly that one of them would alight next to a visitor and solicit a neck rub! I took lots of photos of them, and observed for a long while. 
Bateleur Eagle study

But there was no opportunity to sketch during the tour, so this drawing was done a couple of days later when I had more time. 

One of my favorite places to work was on the porch of the cabin Sandy and I shared. It was pleasant most of the day, being on the shady south side of the cabin, and as I drew I was frequently visited by a pair of tree squirrels which lived nearby.
A Tree Squirrel supervises sketches

Wherever I went, I pocketed potential sketching subjects, and by now I had quite a collection. If something couldn't be moved, a knobthorn acacia tree with twining vines, for instance, I would draw it on the spot. Then later, on my porch, I would add drawings of such things as wild cotton pods and a catfish head I found by the pool.   

Okay, that's all I have time for today.  Later on, I will make my sketchbook into a downloadable book which you can buy from my website here.  I hope/think you'll find it very entertaining. 

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