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Explorers 7. Wahlberg

Johan August Wahlberg (1810 – 1856) was another Swedish naturalist and explorer. He traveled in southern Africa between 1838 and 1856, especially in Natal and South West Africa, sending thousands of natural history specimens back to Sweden.

The journals of his travels are generally brief and objective (and I haven’t been able to find them yet! So I know little about him, even though his name is honoured in many species – moths, lizards, birds, plants, etc), and his portrayal of people he met is usually reliable and unprejudiced.

Wahlberg’s elephants – in Namibia? –

Wahlberg is commemorated in Wahlberg’s Eagle, Wahlberg’s epauletted fruit bat and the beautiful little bush squeaker frog Arthroleptis wahlbergi. That’s my pic on top of one of the little squeakers; fully grown, he’s the size of your top finger digit. This one lives in our garden in Westville.

– Wahlberg’s eagle and bat –

‘Sport’ in those days consisted of shooting as much as possible for the tally, the ‘bag.’ These pale chaps ran amuck, trying to score a century, even though cricket was only 240 years old in 1838.

His diary in Natal: 23 August – near Umgeni river: (shot) 1 Ichneumon taenianotus (a mongoose); 1 Boschbock; 1 red-buck (red duiker?); 1 birds.

‘I was so intent on the bucks that the fall of darkness took me (by) surprise. I lost the path and so entangled myself in the thickets that I sure that I should have to pass the night in the woods. I shot six alarm-shots. I was glad to hear them answered by regular salvos from the village. Flayed the boschbock and left the carcase in the wood.’

31 August – near Umkamas river: ‘Continued hunting hippopotamus; no luck. In the evening, accompanied only by one Hottentot Bastard we came sufficiently near to hippopotamus. Two bullets went whistling at the same moment, and found their mark in the head of a young sea-cow. She came to the surface several times, spouting blood high in the air. An adult now appeared; once again our shots sounded as one; it showed the whole of its body above water, dived, a strong furrow appeared in the water, moved rapidly towards the shore, and soon the whole body of the monster was visible above the surface, in form and attitude like a gigantic pig. With incredible swiftness it hurled itself once more into the stream, and rose several times in succession, each time spouting blood. Darkness fell and we were forced to return.’

1st September – ‘We looked in vain for the hippopotamus.’

2nd – ‘Saw numerous buffalo but was unable to get near them. Clouds of locusts darken the sky. We go further afield to a smaller stream.’

3rd – ‘Lying in wait for the buffalo. Hear them approaching at full gallop through the bushes. Climb an acacia. Give the first bull a bullet, which makes him fall back upon his hind-quarters. He gets to his legs again and escapes.’

Well, at least this time Africa got its revenge! Wahlberg was killed by a wounded elephant while exploring along the Thamalakane river about 10 km northwest of Maun just south of the Okavango Delta in today´s Botswana.

– Dear Museum, I have a white rhino skeleton for you. Signed Johan August –
– books based on Wahlberg’s journals and letters –
– he was the first to collect the red-headed weaver, near Thabazimbi –

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

wikipedia; van riebeeck society; alchetron.com; aviation demography unit;

Uncategorized

Family Gatherings

Gathering the troops for family meetings used to be hard. You’d no sooner get one to the table than they had disappeared when you got back with the other. Not anymore: For instant family gatherings, with everyone – including Cecelia – crowded round the router with a WTF look on their faces, just switch off the wifi.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Early mornings are not young people’s best. It’s not just Christmas when ‘all through the house. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;’ I get up in the morning and all is dead quiet. To use another Free State Reed-ism ‘not a leaf stirred, not a dog stirred’ (geddit?*).

They lie low as I pad up and down the passage. Even if I stick my lips at the door crack and ask ‘You Awake?’ not a peep.

Until I walk past with shoes on. Then it’s instantly ‘Where you going?’

FOMO.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

  • . . not a dog’s turd. This Reed-ism is best orally, not so good in print.
Life, Uncategorized

Pills

I went to my GP Steve the other day – a month or two ago – because the world is populated with arseholes and I wondered if he could do anything about it. Y’know, fix them?

Fool gave me a pill to take in the morning. I think he’s losing his touch.

Anyway, I’m reminded about it because I just read about an artist in Slaapstad who calls herself Lady Skollie. She paints some intelligent, challenging shit. This one she calls:

**** ‘Modern day Ophelia but with calming pills, pain pills and get over your fucking-self pills’ ****

I liked that.

Funnily enough, the world does seem a bit better behaved lately.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

More about Lady Skollie or Laura Windvogel

get over your fucking self pills
Modern day Ophelia but with calming pills, pain pills and get over your fucking-self pills
Africa, Aitch, Birds & Birding, Books, Canoe & Kayak, Family & Kids, Food, Free State, Vrystaat, Home, Life, Motorcars_Automobiles, Nostalgia, School, Sport, Student Life, Travel, Travel Africa, Travel Apache OK, Travel USA, Uncategorized, USA, Wildlife, Game Reserves

Careful Where You Step!

Recording and reminiscing; with occasional bokdrols of wisdom.

Random, un-chronological memories after marriage, children and sundry other catastrophes.

– this swanepoel family –

My pre-marriage blog is vrystaatconfessions.com. Bachelorhood! Beer! River trips! Beer!

bokdrols – like pearls, but handle with care