Out of Africa

Posted on August 23, 2011


I went to Africa in search of one of the last
remnant societies of hunter/gatherers known as ‘The Bushmen.’  In my quest not only did I locate these
fascinating people, but discovered the romance of a wild, unsullied and
certainly, untamed wilderness. Join me on:


A Photographic Journey from the Dark Continent




 “If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe
and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the
sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air
over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a
game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of
the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?”
– Karen Blixen



Everywhere you looked
there was life. And wherever there was life there was the threat of death.

“There is a simple love of outdoors and of creatures, as
against a hatred for the contrived living of cities, for the claustrophobic
conveniences of civilization that drives a man to the vastness of Africa to
fulfill some need of basic simplicity in himself.”  – Robert Ruark


“A very strong case, both historically and morally, can be made that the lion is the classic big game animal. Because of the great personal danger inherent in sport hunting for lions under modern conditions, it might be said that hunting lion on foot in the thick covers of central Africa is the purest expression of the honest sport of hunting – Peter Capstick


“I speak of Africa and golden joys; the joy of wandering
through lonely lands; the joy of hunting the mighty and terrible lords of the
wilderness, the cunning, the wary and the grim.”

                                                             – Theodore Roosevelt

“I don’t care a damn about these people who can split a pea
at three hundred yards,” old Phil Percival once remarked. “What I want to know
about a man is how good he is on a charging buffalo at six feet.”


“…in the wilderness mighty and experienced warriors, expert with shield and spear,
whose faces were like the faces of lions and who were swift as gazelles upon
the mountains.”

                                                                –  I Chronicles 12:8



To Bushmen, no two animals leave exactly the same prints, and each reveals a distinct individual.


“Get as close as you can, and then get ten feet closer.”

                                                  –  Robert Ruark

“…I early learned that you did not have to shoot it to enjoy it.
Seeing it wild and happy more often was enough.”
– Robert Ruark


“He prayeth well that loveth well both man and bird and beast”

                                                            –  Teddy Roosevelt

“You could always remember how blue the sky was and how you
sat on the high hill with the binoculars under the great umbrella of the
mimosa, waiting for the first buzzard to slide down out of the sky, waiting for
the first lioness to sneak out of the bush, waiting for the old man to take his
heavy head and brilliant mane and burly chest out of the bush and into the
clear golden field where the dead topi lay.”
– Robert Ruark

“The roar of the lion, the voice of the fierce lion, the
teeth of the young lions are broken.

The strong lion perishes for lack of prey, and the cubs of
the lioness are scattered.” – Job 4:10-11

“There is nearly always a sardonic touch to the story of a
kudu. You always seem to get him at the last hour of the last day, with the rains
sweeping down from the south, the money and the time running out, and the
personal patience whetted to an unbelievable edge of irritability.”

                                                                                     – Robert Ruark


THE LION – Ogden Nash

The lion is the king of beasts,

And husband of the lioness.

Gazelles and things on which he feasts

Address him as your highoness.

There are those that admire that roar of his,

In the African jungles and velds,

But, I think that wherever the lion is,

I’d rather be somewhere else.

The Bushman of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana are
among the last remnant society of the world’s primordial hunter-gatherers. A
race of indigenous people that thrive in one of the planets wildest, and most
remote locations choosing to adapt to the changing rhythmic cycles rather than
try and conquer this harsh environment.

We are the little people, jackals that sit in the dunes and
wait until the lions eat their kill. We wait and wait until finally the lions
have had their fill and fall asleep. Only then can we creep in and eat our
share. But soon, soon, the jackal will ride on the lions back.

Bushmen acquire and extensive knowledge of animal behavior
through constant observation, careful attention to detail and continual
discussion among themselves of what they have seen. Their understanding enables
them to identify completely with the animal they are hunting, so that they can
answer questions such as; ‘What would I do now if I were this animal?’ And
their replies are amazingly accurate. – Alf Wannenburgh

The heartbeat of the whitetail deer
tracker reflects the rhythms of the traditional African Bushmen. Both practice
the ancient, yet effective means of tracking down a marked animal and bring it
to bag. Separated only by time and travel, the contrast between these two
societies of dedicated hoof print specialist’s lies simply in the diversity of
their culture.

To learn more about this inspiring
trek that goes full circle from the wilderness forest
of North America,
to the vast thirst lands of South Africa’s
Kalahari Desert and back again, visit www.bigwhitetail.com to order a copy of,
The Deer Tracker’s Journey.

All images on this site are copyright protected and the property of R.G. Bernier.

© 2011 R.G. Bernier Nature Photography – All rights reserved.