I’m in love with Africam! And no, this is not a promo for a service. I’m just overly excited because I’m a nerd.
I watch webcams on a site called Africam.com. These webcams are set up at different South African game preserves (the kind that actually protect the animals from poaching and hunting — or so they say). These preserves are Tembe, Naledi, Idube, the Olifants River, and the Nkorho Pan; each protecting different kinds of the “big animals.”
I have to admit I’m hooked on these web-cams, and they’ve ignited a desire in me to go on a photo safari to these game preserves and see the magnificent animals there for myself, up close and personal.
I’ve been to zoos, of course, and even a couple of conservation sanctuaries. Most zoos today are a far cry from the tiny, dingy zoos of old where the poor animals, regardless of how big they were, had to exist in a cage that gave them just enough room to pace and that was it. Nowadays, zoos strive to give the animals substantial living space and protect their health as much as possible. However, they’re still not perfect and many if not most still have a long way to go before the whole concept of captive conservation can be considered truly successful and beneficial for the animals being held captive.
There’s simply no denying that actually seeing majestic lions, elegant leopards, lumbering elephants, and graceful giraffes – not to mention all the other wild animals – roaming about wild and free is a different kind of experience entirely. Even if it’s just on my computer screen.
I have to admit that I’ve yet to see “nature red in tooth and claw” during my voyeuristic endeavors. I haven’t seen a lion or leopard track down a beautiful antelope or giraffe and… well…eat it. For which I am eternally grateful, I must say. I live with that dread each time I log in, but so far, that part of nature has eluded me and I’m not sorry. I did come on to a scene right after two lions, who apparently travel together, had done just that. I could see the blood on their mouths, manes, and feet as they lazed about, but at least I missed the action!
What I really like to watch are the elephants. They are so huge, so magnificent, and so gentle with each other…although having said that there’s a baboon troupe that comes to this one watering hole all of the time (early morning Africa time) and the little ones are simply adorable to watch, so comical in their antics.
One thing that has me shaking my head most often is the sheer volume of noise. The birds – I’m assuming they are birds though sometimes it may be monkeys – are so incredibly loud! When I have the volume up it drives my dogs crazy as they try figure out what could possibly be making those sounds.
The calls, from these birds, monkeys or whatever, can be so eerie sometimes, something out of a creepy movie. And then sometimes they’re quite funny because they sound like human laughter (which I guess really should be sort of creepy). Whatever is making the sounds, and why they are making them, I have no idea – whether they are having conversations with each other, warning of predators, warning other birds to stay away…all I know is that it’s always very, very loud. And they have a lot to say apparently as they’re constantly chattering.
One of the webcams is situated close to where people stay when on vacation, so when the camera pans around, you can see the lodges. They are pretty cool – and I like to imagine myself sometimes being in one of them myself.
But while I like this particular webcam for that reason, I also kind of dislike it for that reason because I want to see animals, not jeeps full of people leaving for their photo safaris. (I know they are going off on a photo safari because I can see that they are all carrying cameras, not rifles!) The webcam can’t distinguish between animals and people – it’s activated by motion sensors and records everything, so you see it all whether you want to or not.
There’s a bit of techno-love here, I admit. Okay, more than a bit. I just find it amazing that I’m watching something on my computer that is actually happening a world away, while I’m relaxing cozily in bed. AND it involves animals. A win-win.