Under African Skies

One of my absolute favourite things about Africa was the sky. Stretching on, it was usually an ordinary blue. But often it would turn into something truly spectacular: at sunset, through the night, and during electrical storms.

A few times a week we’d go on sundowners – drive out to a beautiful spot, and then sit and drink beers while we watched the sunset.

Some of my favourite sunset shots:

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Even when we didn’t drive out to watch it, the sunset was beautiful to watch, just from the Askari yard.

Sunset behind the jacaranda trees in the yard:

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Out on the reserve. Drakensberg Mountains in the background:

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Not the best picture, but one night, as we were driving back to the reserve from town, the sunset looked like something from out of this world. It was as if clouds of orange were floating above the mountains – like the northern lights dancing, except warmer:

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The stars were also amazing. Being in the southern hemisphere, all of the constellations I knew from the north appeared upside down. We had a sleep out during our second week, where we spent a night sleeping on the reserve, under the african sky. I don’t have any photos from that night because I was too busy enjoying it; but the stars were amazing.

And finally, the most dramatic sight in the sky: electrical storms.

We had a number of these while we were there. Most of the time we could watch the lightning flashing, miles away, and hear the thunder booming several long seconds later. You could sit on the porch and watch lighting light up the sky. I spent some of this time practicing patience as I attempted to get a shot of the lightning.

Watching the storm far away:

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Quite often there would be storms in the south part of the reserve. Rarely, they came all the way to us. When they did, it would often knock out our power for a few hours.

Once we got a massive hail storm (we don’t get hail like that in Canada!):

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Size of the hail:

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That storm was so powerful that the river – which had been bone dry our entire stay – started to flow again.

Katie came racing into the house with the news – “the river’s flowing! Do you guys wanna see?” and we all drove out to look at it. Water, in the river!

Just look at all that water!!

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That night after the hailstorm, the sky outdid itself by turning pink and giving us a double rainbow. Every time I thought it couldn’t get prettier, it proved me wrong.

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