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Digital Subscriptions > Travel Africa > October-December 2018 (84) > River of life

River of life

If you spend a few hours sitting by the river, you’ll be amazed by the diversity of life around you — the animals that come and go, the birds that hover above the water, the fish, crocs and hippo beneath the surface, and those fascinating interactions you wouldn’t otherwise have noticed. Ann and Steve Toon encourage you to take the time to stop and stare in their depiction of the African river and all its residents
Riverside stories: A breeding herd of elephant cross a river, with several sacred ibis fishing in the shallows and an African fish eagle perching in a tree on the opposite bank
ANN AND STEVE TOON

“There’s nothing to see here. Let’s move along. Please mind the overhanging branches. Whooaa! Wait a minute. Hear that? Monkeys alarm-calling. I reckon we should stop by this river; there might be a leopard. Oh, see the crocodile? Looks like a log… By those hippo… Below the fish eagle nest… Where that yellow-billed stork has caught a fish… Beyond the drinking nyala and grazing waterbuck… Where that buffalo’s wallowing… Can you spot it? Malachite kingfisher… stunning, isn’t it?”

Bumping through the bush wondering what your next thrilling wildlife encounter is going to be is always exciting, but if you’re forever on the move, there’s a danger you’ll miss the smaller stuff and, more importantly, the bigger picture.

Stopping to sample your surroundings in detail, killing the engine to spend time looking more closely at the habitat through which you’ve been driving, is the way to go if you want to do more than simply scratch the surface on safari. And there’s no better place to find the narrative, to drink in the sheer diversity of wildlife and soak up the whole sensory experience of sounds and smells, than an African river — the pulsing vein that carries its lifeblood right to the heart of the wild.

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