Kalahari Summer, by Robert Grogan
Although for many visitors the Kalahari evokes images of winter game drives in a vast desert of thirsty red sands, it is the capricious summer landscape that has been luring painter and photographer Robert Grogan back to this region for over 30 years.
The Kalahari desert is a savanna, rather than true desert, though its name, which means 'thirsty land', suggests otherwise. It encompasses most of Botswana and parts of South Africa and Namibia, an area of some 900000 square kilometres. Much of the time, this landscape consists of dry grassland and red sands. Only those animals that can tolerate periods of drought manage to survive here year-round. Rain is sporadic and unpredictable, falling during the summer months. However, after a period of good rains, many species that require daily water move into the region briefly to take full advantage of the temporary lush grazing, disappearing again at the onset of the next dry period. Winter is the most popular time for visiting the Kalahari: it provides the best game viewing, since vegetation is at a minimum, and it is also quite comfortable, as the days are warm and clear and the nights are cold. By contrast, there are many reasons not to travel in the Kalahari during the hot, wet, summer season. The area is prone to flash floods, and roads often become impassable. Enormous violent thunderstorms occur with little warning. Daily temperatures reach highs of over 40 degrees Celsius, while cloud cover frequently inhibits radiative cooling at night. During these humid evening hours, snakes like puff adders and Cape cobras are active and widespread. Scorpions are also more active at night, particularly in windy weather. Flying insects can be a nuisance, and the tall grass is a drawback when trying to spot wildlife. From an artist's perspective, however, the positives of the Kalahari summer far outweigh these negatives. The landscape - seldom dramatic in its own right - is transformed by a daily build-up of colossal banks of cloud. After rain, the land itself may undergo a metamorphosis as red dunes become rolling green hills, and profusions of wildflowers provide splashes of vibrant colour. These summer effects are short-lived and spotty. Summer may arrive in one area, transforming it into a meadow of grass and blossom, while the terrain just a short distance away remains entirely untouched. Sometimes the summer rains fail altogether or arrive very late in the season, so it is always worth checking with park officials before travelling to the region if you hope to experience a lush summer show. Every day is different, and visitors need to be prepared for dealing with the many irritants that accompany travel in this season. Above all, they should be adaptable. There is little point in making inflexible plans - a 'pitch up and wait' approach works best. The Kalahari, more than most other destinations, seems to demand that visitors stay as long as possible. Often, we have found that the difference between a successful trip and a failed one lay in having enough time to wait for a special sighting or for just the right cloud formations for a painting. Visitors to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa and Botswana often focus exclusively on spotting big cats. This is a great pity, given the inordinate beauty that rewards a patient visitor with a keen eye. For me, the most magical part of summer in the Kalahari has always been the merging of sky and ground as massive storm clouds form overhead. Once, while visiting a neighbour at the Nossob Rest Camp in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, I happened to mention my long preoccupation with the Kalahari's magnificent summer clouds, telling him that I would come for the clouds alone. Later he confessed that he had spent his entire life in the area and had travelled extensively in the Kalahari during summer but had never paid much attention to the clouds. (...)
This is an excerpt from the book: Kalahari Summer, by Robert Grogan.
Title: Kalahari Summer
Subtitle: In photographs and oil
Author: Robert Grogan
Publisher: Randomhouse Struik
Cape Town, South Africa 2013
ISBN 9781920572921 / ISBN 978-1-920572-92-1
Hardcover, dustjacket, 27 x 23 cm, 136 pages, throughout colour photographs
Grogan, Robert im Namibiana-Buchangebot
Robert Grogan's landscape paintings and magnificent wildlife photographs bring the Kalahari’s lush and beautiful summer season vividly to life.
Spannender Roman um Diamantenschmuggel und Geheimdienste zwischen Namibia, Botswana und Südafrika.
Das Herz des kleinen Jägers ist die Beschreibung einer Expedition in die Kalahari und Buschmann-Mystik.
Die verlorene Welt der Kalahari ist die Geschichte einer Reise zu der verschollenen Kultur der Buschmänner des südlichen Afrika.
'Denkst Du manchmal noch daran?' ist die überarbeitete und gekürzte Neuauflage von Marga Vaatz' Anthologie „Wer trifft wen? Besser? Jagdgeschichten und andere." von 1989.