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South Africa & Botswana, we had a blast!


MR1980

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I think just for the sake of the traveller it would make sense that either the travel agent or the rental company offers/recommends an offroad course.

In my opinion it should be the agents responsibility to make sure that their clients understand where they are going and to make sure that they are properly prepared in terms of equipment (e.g. satellite phone, spade, emergency water etc...). I have helped self drives that were stuck in the sand for 8 hours because they didn't know how to engage 4x4...

Go and explore - it is the only way to learn these things properly but make sure you inform yourself beforehand so you know how to use your equipment and don't crack your skull open with the high-lift jack handle...

 

Fully agree on this with you @@Orenx! We had a spade, emergency water, food and knew how 4x4 worked etc. but the high-lift jack was a mystery for us at that time. Our fault off course but the reantal company and/or travel agent could have done more.

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August 26th 2012   The drive from Khama Rhino Sanctuary to Kubu Island is long but with our Garmin GPS and Tracks4Africa installed on it, it wasn’t too difficult to find our way across the pans. I r

August 28th 2012   Today would be another adventurous day with several challenges concerning transport by boat, plane & car… The 1st challenge was to get to the other side of the Boteti river! C

And so it continuous... Finally...   August 29th 2012   After a good night sleep at Discovery Bed & Breakfast we got up at about 06.30AM, had breakfast and went to Maun to get some things don

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Peter Connan

 

 

Hi @@MR1980 really takes me back and totally understand the problem with the deep sand. We had the same. Not to worry about getting a few things 'wrong ' we all have to learn Pen

Sorry if it seems as if I am criticising Michel.

 

What I am actually trying to do is to encourage him to try again, next time with less stress and more success...

 

Hi @@Peter Connan Oh I remember again, for changing tyres you use the low jack as it is far more stable am I correct?

 

Yip, that is correct @@MR1980

 

Just a thought, is it not possible to indulge in some 4x4 training/driving in the Netherlands? I don't know if you have much sand there, but I am sure there must be mud, which is sort-of similar but worse?

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@@Peter Connan yes that would have been possible although it's a bit expensive. I'm sure it would have helped so if I would be a first timer I would probably do it...

 

I will continue the trip report shortly! :)

 

Cheers,

 

Michel

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Looking forward to more...I was just flipping through the last few pages again to revisit some of the earlier photos. Great stuff.

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  • 2 weeks later...

August 28th 2012

 

Today would be another adventurous day with several challenges concerning transport by boat, plane & car… The 1st challenge was to get to the other side of the Boteti river! Close to the campsite, on the other side of the river lies the village of Khumaga. In times when the river was completely dry you could simply drive through the riverbed to the village and continue your journey to Maun but not this year as the river was in full flow. Now we had to use the ferry to get to the other side so we drove to the edge of the river and before we could think about how to contact someone on the other side of the river a happy looking man waved to us to let us know he was going to pick us up! Unfortunately I don’t have any images of the crossing but it was nice talking to the guy and we were on the other side of the river in no time and on our way to Maun!! It was a drive without any difficulties so within 2 hours we arrived in Maun, gateway to the Okavango Delta!

 

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We had 1 night here at Discovery Bed & Breakfast, a great B&B owned by a Dutch couple on the outskirts of Maun and on road to the Southern entrance of Moremi Game Reserve. The Dutch owners were not present when we were there but this was no problem as the staff was very friendly and fully capable of taking care of their guests. In the meantime we were getting hungry so we asked where we could have a nice lunch and the staff recommended a place called Thamalakane River Lodge… When we arrived at the place we knew the staff had been right about recommending this place as it was heaven for us after already 9 days of cooking ourselves. Imagine an amazing view from the wooden lounge deck on the Thamalakane River, the most beautiful birds all around you, a cold Savanna Dry and some delicious spareribs? Man we were happy!! I already knew we would come back to watch the sunset and have dinner, pure bliss…

 

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We really needed this I guess but we had other things to do this afternoon so after paying the bill we were on our way the airport of Maun for our scenic flight over the Okavango Delta which I had booked in advance. We had been looking forward to this activity for some time and thought this would be one of the highlights of our trip but since I’m afraid of heights I was also a bit nervous to say the least… A plane as small as this was a first for the both of us so we were curious how a plane like this would feel while being airborne. On arrival at the airport we parked our car and went straight to the departures lounge where we met our pilot. We were taken to their small office for instructions and after that we were ready for our scenic flight which would last about 1 hour. I am happy to say that the flight was truly amazing and although it was scary sometimes I was happy I did it as I felt fine for most of the flight, only on our way back to the airport I felt a bit sick but as soon as we landed I felt fine again. During the flight we saw a couple of huge buffalo herds, a lot of elephants and off course the Delta in all its glory, simply stunning!! I don’t have a clue about the route we took or which areas we covered but it was definitively worth the costs. I hope the images speak for themselves although it’s not easy getting sharp images sitting in a small and nervous plane like this. We thanked our pilot and after picking up our car we went straight to Thamalakane River Lodge again to relax, have dinner and simply enjoy some luxury as from tomorrow it would be back to basics again for another 5 days in Moremi Game Reserve… I have included a lot of images to support this story, I hope you don’t mind?! :)

 

Till next time!!

 

Cheers,

 

Michel

 

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Edited by MR1980
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Peter Connan

@@MR1980, I love your aerial photography!

 

Have very fond memories of doing this in 2010.

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@@MR1980, I love your aerial photography!

 

Have very fond memories of doing this in 2010.

 

Thank you very much @@Peter Connan, glad you like it!! It is indeed an amazing experience and would highly recommend it... :)

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Marks

I have included a lot of images to support this story, I hope you don’t mind?!

I don't think anyone here would object!

 

The flight looks wonderful.

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I have included a lot of images to support this story, I hope you don’t mind?!

I don't think anyone here would object!

 

The flight looks wonderful.

 

 

Hahaha I don't think so either @@Marks... :) The flight was indeed very special, it was the first time for me doing something like this so if there is a next time someday I hope to get better/sharper images.

 

Cheers,

 

Michel

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Kitsafari

@@MR1980 fabulous aerial shots of the stunning delta. i've finally caught up with your TR and very glad I did as I read about your adventures (and misadventures too). I doubt if I can do a self-drive so it's great reading from your pov.

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@@MR1980 fabulous aerial shots of the stunning delta. i've finally caught up with your TR and very glad I did as I read about your adventures (and misadventures too). I doubt if I can do a self-drive so it's great reading from your pov.

 

Thank you very much @@Kitsafari, good to hear you like my TR so much! That's part of the fun of Safaritalk, to take other people on adventures they're not able to do themselves for various reasons.

 

Cheers,

 

Michel

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Game Warden

That's part of the fun of Safaritalk, to take other people on adventures they're not able to do themselves...

 

Great line @@MR1980 thank you: when people say things like that about ST it gives me a lot of personal satisfaction.

 

Matt

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

That's part of the fun of Safaritalk, to take other people on adventures they're not able to do themselves...

 

Great line @@MR1980 thank you: when people say things like that about ST it gives me a lot of personal satisfaction.

 

Matt

 

 

I can fully understand @@Game Warden / Matt, must be a great feeling!! :)

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And so it continuous... Finally... :)

 

August 29th 2012

 

After a good night sleep at Discovery Bed & Breakfast we got up at about 06.30AM, had breakfast and went to Maun to get some things done before we were ready for our 5 nights of bush camping in Moremi Game Reserve & Savuti. We still had that flat tire from the Makgadikgadi Pans that had to be fixed so we drove around town until we found a tire repair company. We soon found one, our tire was fixed within 10 or 15 minutes and it cost no more than a couple of Euro’s… First problem solved, now we had to find the office of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks to pay our park entrance. So we drove around town some more and eventually we found the office, gave them our money and got our permits. The last thing we had to do now was getting supplies and enough fuel for the next 5 days as there are no shops or anything like that in the wilderness. Shopping always takes more time than wanted but it’s better to take your time and make sure you have everything you need than to rush it and forget some essential stuff… So I’m not sure how long it took but eventually we got everything and we were on our way to paradise!

 

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When I planned this trip I thought Moremi Game Reserve would be one of the absolute highlights of the entire trip so you can probably understand we both were very excited as well as a bit nervous about water levels, the thickness of the sand in some areas and of course the lions, hyena’s and other predators that would be roaming around camp… By the way, if I would plan another trip like this in the future I would stay 2 nights in Maun because our visit was very rushed. Looking back at it I would have liked to do the shopping and stuff like that during the full day so we could leave straight for Moremi after the second night as it is still a long drive to Xakanaxa Campsite coming from Maun. Maun has a nice vibe so staying 2 nights wouldn’t have been bad at all but when I plan a trip like this I want to stay in the bush as much as possible so I thought 1 night was more than enough. After you leave Maun the road soon changes from tar to sand and the sand road was in a very bad condition as it was badly corrugated and very bumpy. We bought wood from a couple of locales next to the road and at some point the wood even fell from the roof of our Hilux because of the bumpiness…

 

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At about 12.30PM we arrived at the South Gate of Moremi Game Reserve where we had to show our permits. Everything was ok of course so we had permission to enter. We had a Garmin satnav with Tracks4Africa and our entire route programmed on it so we knew which tracks we had to take to get to Xakanaxa, our first stop in Moremi. Soon after we entered the reserve we finally spotted our first elephants of the trip. If we would have been lucky we could have spotted elephants in Marakele or the Makgadikgadi but unfortunately this was not the case so we were very happy when we found this breeding herd. We were over the moon actually as this was what we had imagined Moremi would look like. We could safely observe the herd while they were all drinking from a big pool, we had so much fun watching them, especially the little ones that we almost forgot time but as we had just entered Moremi we still had a long way to go so sadly we had to leave them. We didn’t see much else except some red lechwe in the distance, a juvenile saddle-billed stork and a pair of wattled cranes but it was wonderful and an adventure nonetheless because of the bridges we had to cross and the detours we had to take to finally arrive at Xakanaxa.

 

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If I remember correctly we arrived at Xakanaxa around 17.00PM so we didn’t have time to do a game drive as we obviously wanted to be fully settled before darkness would arrive. Setting up our rooftop tent didn’t take very long so we could even still take a much welcomed shower before preparing our first Moremi Braai! We were so happy to be here… There were animals all around us, for example an entire family of tree squirrels in the tree next to our campsite. They were so much fun to watch!! It was a long and hard drive to get here but it was all worth it, even more so with a cold Savanna Dry in our hands. Sunset at Xakanaxa was amazing and I must admit that while looking back at it this was the most beautiful campsite of all our Southern Africa trips up until now. Images don’t do it justice but I hope to give you an impression. All images in this post except for the first 5 were taken around our campsite... :)

 

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It took a while to get a nice fire because the wood that we had bought along the road didn’t want to burn properly but after asking around one of our neighbours told us to add elephant dung to the wood. This indeed helped and because we luckily had started to prepare the braai early we had a nice big fire long before it was totally dark. We were enjoying our braai when all of a sudden we heard some noises behind our car. I said to my girlfriend, don’t worry, it’s probably a bush buck or something like that. While preparing the trip I had read about the hyena’s that try to steal meat from the braai in Moremi but I thought this wouldn’t happen on our first night in the reserve. Well I was wrong… The noise came closer and when it finally made its way around our car it was indeed a hyena, and a big one too!! I was flabbergasted but I still managed to scream at it and it was probably impressed as it wandered off immediately. After this scary encounter we finished our braai as soon as possible and went straight to bed. This was adventurous enough for our first evening in Moremi, we had survived it so we were more than happy to fall asleep on the roof of our Hilux while listening to Moremi at night…

 

Till next time folks! I hope to upload my next story sooner than this one…

 

Cheers,

 

Michel

 

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Edited by MR1980
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Peter Connan

Lovely Michel

 

If you do it again, rather than spending two nights in Maun, think about spending tthe second night at Kaziikini. It is just a little way from South Gate, on the way there, and works very well as a stop-over.

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Thanks @@Peter Connan! Also thanks for the tip about Kaziikini, seems like a good alternative! :)

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graceland

And so it continuous... Finally... :)

 

August 29th 2012

 

After a good night sleep at Discovery Bed & Breakfast we got up at about 06.30AM, had breakfast and went to Maun to get some things done before we were ready for our 5 nights of bush camping in Moremi Game Reserve & Savuti. We still had that flat tire from the Makgadikgadi Pans that had to be fixed so we drove around town until we found a tire repair company. We soon found one, our tire was fixed within 10 or 15 minutes and it cost no more than a couple of Euro’s… First problem solved, now we had to find the office of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks to pay our park entrance. So we drove around town some more and eventually we found the office, gave them our money and got our permits. The last thing we had to do now was getting supplies and enough fuel for the next 5 days as there are no shops or anything like that in the wilderness. Shopping always takes more time than wanted but it’s better to take your time and make sure you have everything you need than to rush it and forget some essential stuff… So I’m not sure how long it took but eventually we got everything and we were on our way to paradise!

 

gallery_17570_1085_3770868.jpggallery_17570_1085_1146688.jpg

 

gallery_17570_1085_3723336.jpg

 

gallery_17570_1085_1966246.jpg

 

gallery_17570_1085_536382.jpg

 

When I planned this trip I thought Moremi Game Reserve would be one of the absolute highlights of the entire trip so you can probably understand we both were very excited as well as a bit nervous about water levels, the thickness of the sand in some areas and of course the lions, hyena’s and other predators that would be roaming around camp… By the way, if I would plan another trip like this in the future I would stay 2 nights in Maun because our visit was very rushed. Looking back at it I would have liked to do the shopping and stuff like that during the full day so we could leave straight for Moremi after the second night as it is still a long drive to Xakanaxa Campsite coming from Maun. Maun has a nice vibe so staying 2 nights wouldn’t have been bad at all but when I plan a trip like this I want to stay in the bush as much as possible so I thought 1 night was more than enough. After you leave Maun the road soon changes from tar to sand and the sand road was in a very bad condition as it was badly corrugated and very bumpy. We bought wood from a couple of locales next to the road and at some point the wood even fell from the roof of our Hilux because of the bumpiness…

 

gallery_17570_1085_5452338.jpg

 

gallery_17570_1085_5242880.jpg

 

gallery_17570_1085_3286082.jpg

 

gallery_17570_1085_6680177.jpg

 

gallery_17570_1085_1354560.jpg

 

At about 12.30PM we arrived at the South Gate of Moremi Game Reserve where we had to show our permits. Everything was ok of course so we had permission to enter. We had a Garmin satnav with Tracks4Africa and our entire route programmed on it so we knew which tracks we had to take to get to Xakanaxa, our first stop in Moremi. Soon after we entered the reserve we finally spotted our first elephants of the trip. If we would have been lucky we could have spotted elephants in Marakele or the Makgadikgadi but unfortunately this was not the case so we were very happy when we found this breeding herd. We were over the moon actually as this was what we had imagined Moremi would look like. We could safely observe the herd while they were all drinking from a big pool, we had so much fun watching them, especially the little ones that we almost forgot time but as we had just entered Moremi we still had a long way to go so sadly we had to leave them. We didn’t see much else except some red lechwe in the distance, a juvenile saddle-billed stork and a pair of wattled cranes but it was wonderful and an adventure nonetheless because of the bridges we had to cross and the detours we had to take to finally arrive at Xakanaxa.

 

gallery_17570_1085_3136373.jpggallery_17570_1085_48247.jpggallery_17570_1085_2734087.jpggallery_17570_1085_6083323.jpg

 

If I remember correctly we arrived at Xakanaxa around 17.00PM so we didn’t have time to do a game drive as we obviously wanted to be fully settled before darkness would arrive. Setting up our rooftop tent didn’t take very long so we could even still take a much welcomed shower before preparing our first Moremi Braai! We were so happy to be here… There were animals all around us, for example an entire family of tree squirrels in the tree next to our campsite. They were so much fun to watch!! It was a long and hard drive to get here but it was all worth it, even more so with a cold Savanna Dry in our hands. Sunset at Xakanaxa was amazing and I must admit that while looking back at it this was the most beautiful campsite of all our Southern Africa trips up until now. Images don’t do it justice but I hope to give you an impression. All images in this post except for the first 5 were taken around our campsite... :)

 

gallery_17570_1085_3743545.jpg

 

gallery_17570_1085_1502391.jpg

 

gallery_17570_1085_5680724.jpg

 

gallery_17570_1085_1030750.jpg

 

gallery_17570_1085_5346257.jpg

 

gallery_17570_1085_2165463.jpg

 

gallery_17570_1085_277638.jpg

 

It took a while to get a nice fire because the wood that we had bought along the road didn’t want to burn properly but after asking around one of our neighbours told us to add elephant dung to the wood. This indeed helped and because we luckily had started to prepare the braai early we had a nice big fire long before it was totally dark. We were enjoying our braai when all of a sudden we heard some noises behind our car. I said to my girlfriend, don’t worry, it’s probably a bush buck or something like that. While preparing the trip I had read about the hyena’s that try to steal meat from the braai in Moremi but I thought this wouldn’t happen on our first night in the reserve. Well I was wrong… The noise came closer and when it finally made its way around our car it was indeed a hyena, and a big one too!! I was flabbergasted but I still managed to scream at it and it was probably impressed as it wandered off immediately. After this scary encounter we finished our braai as soon as possible and went straight to bed. This was adventurous enough for our first evening in Moremi, we had survived it so we were more than happy to fall asleep on the roof of our Hilux while listening to Moremi at night…

 

Till next time folks! I hope to upload my next story sooner than this one…

 

Cheers,

 

Michel

 

gallery_17570_1085_5058121.jpg

 

@@MR1980

 

I tried to teach myself how to copy this picture of your CAMP, however, my skills quite limited and no matter what I did all I got was a link.....so..I am making you scroll through....sorry, but it enjoyable to see again.

 

The reason I wanted to was I really did not see how your tent was actually sitting on top of your vehicle, and today as I viewed these pics, I thought -

 

Oh my its a treehouse! I wanted to stay in it. And i believe ( :wacko: ) I could actually graduate to a treehouse. However, I would insist my guide (and I would have one - not ready at all for a self drive; I can barely drive from one end of town to the other here at home) - anyway, he would be in his tent on the ground....No problem!

 

I do have a question - where is the "much welcomed shower" I hear you speak of? Surely you do not walk to a river for water if you happen to be out in the bush? And its not IN the vehicle and not an "ensuite" so do you rig something up?

 

I'm curious about these details; you never know; I may just take off one day and live in a treehouse for several months :D

 

BTW, I spent a week with my brother who is recuperating at the age of 67 from an illness. I took my I-pad and logged onto ST so he could enjoy life in the bush as he has never been. After a couple days of dropping in and out of trip reports, he handed it back and said to me....

 

"Now this is the trip I'd take". It was THIS of course. I think it brought back the 60's to him (I'm sure you were not born!) but for him a decade of adventure and backpacks, tents and no showers, weeks on end - a photographer himself --one of his from Woodstock (I hope you are familiar) was published in a magazine.

 

He thoroughly enjoyed it; as we all have. But for him, a very enticing read.....thank you!!

 

I did not get the photography gene, but I sure got the wanderlust!

Edited by graceland
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Peter Connan

@@graceland, the three public campsites in the Moremi all have ablution blocks, which include flushing toilets, wash-basins and showers. There is even some hot water from solar geysers, but in the busier periods you need to plan your shower-times as it runs out quickly.

 

This is fairly common practice, but not always, and planning for these things is a big part of planning an overland trip. That and the availablity or otherwise of firewood...

 

For example, just outside the Moremi and only a few km's from Xakanaxa are the Khwai Community campsites. Some of these have absolutely no facilities. So in these you would retrieve some water from the river, heat it somehow, and then set up a bush shower. It is quite interesting to see the plans people make to do this, from portable gas geysers to vehicle conversions where heat from the engine is used to heat the water to simple plastic bags, clear on one side and black on the other,which are laid out on the car's bonnet...

 

All the above obviously need some thinking when it comes to urgent ablutions in the middle of the night in campsites where dangerous animals (particularly hippos) roam freelyat night. Many people take bottles to bed with them.

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Tom Kellie

post-49296-0-10501300-1428661071_thumb.jpg

~ @MR1980:

 

What a portrait!

I love cheerful images. They bring out a smile, no matter what my mood might have been.

This is definitely a smile-giving image.

Many Thanks for it!

Tom K.

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graceland

 

attachicon.gifgallery_17570_1085_5346257.jpg

~ @MR1980:

 

What a portrait!

I love cheerful images. They bring out a smile, no matter what my mood might have been.

This is definitely a smile-giving image.

Many Thanks for it!

Tom K.

 

@@Tom K, this was what I as referring to - I need a professor to explain how to "lift " a particular photo out of the text; I tried over and over and all I cold get was a link, but the photo never quite appeared.....thanks teacher!!

 

@@Peter Connan, As I slap my forehead....of course! Public facilities; you can tell I am not a real camper! The one time i went- a tarp, a mattress...oh you need not hear;.but it was the LAST time I went :rolleyes:

 

Do like the "tree house" look; although I'd be likely to fall out. And forget where I was and try to go out in the middle of the night. I'll stick to Mobiles.

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Peter Connan

 

 

Do like the "tree house" look; although I'd be likely to fall out. And forget where I was and try to go out in the middle of the night. I'll stick to Mobiles.

 

 

Actually, I think that is unlikely. The action of searching for the zip's little opener is usually enough to wake anybody up. And it's definately necessary to zip up!

 

I actually made such a tent (we are a family of four, and i wanted to seperate rooms to give the kids some privacy, which was not available commercially at the time). And actually it works great, I find it much more comfortable than sleeping on the groand on a foamy, but the problem is that I want to get up early in the morning to go on a game drive, but the rest of the family like easing into the day, and with the house on top of the game-drive vehicle, that's a bit od a problem! :)

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Tom Kellie

 

 

attachicon.gifgallery_17570_1085_5346257.jpg

~ @MR1980:

 

What a portrait!

I love cheerful images. They bring out a smile, no matter what my mood might have been.

This is definitely a smile-giving image.

Many Thanks for it!

Tom K.

 

@@Tom K, this was what I as referring to - I need a professor to explain how to "lift " a particular photo out of the text; I tried over and over and all I cold get was a link, but the photo never quite appeared.....thanks teacher!!

 

 

~ @graceland:

 

Here goes...

When I spot any image in a Safaritalk posting which I like and feel like highlighting, what I do is move the cursor to the image in question, dragging it off the webpage onto the desktop on my computer screen.

I then go to reply, click ‘Quote’, then click ‘More Reply Options’.

Doing so brings me to a larger box. I click on the icon to center the cursor, then click the upload box, which shows me all image files on my desktop — this is happening on a 27-inch iMac, so there's ample ‘screen real estate’.

The image is uploaded. I click ‘Add to Post’. Voilà! It appears in the center of the to-be-added box. Comments follow.

Does that make sense?

If not, please tell me. Thanks!

Tom K.

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Tom Kellie

~ @graceland:

 

Ta-da!

Your wish was my command.

You've already added the technique to you bag of tricks.

Having that facility opens up fresh possibilities of highlighting those images deserving special attention.

Tom K.

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graceland

Now if only I quite double posting aggh...off to the gym to rid myself of these anxieties...

 

Thanks @@Tom Kellie! Quite the teacher indeed :D

 

Double post deleted @@graceland

Wilddog

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