Ich traf Conrad Cramer an einem wilden Ort. An einem wilden Ort, wo du barfuß läufst, obwohl die Sonne das Gras verbrennt. Wo die Menschen raubeinig wirken, aber umso lauter lachen. Wo du zum Mittag schon Bier trinkst und das auch absolut so sein muss. Wo das Licht wärmer ist und der Himmel weiter. Und wo du noch lange nach Sonnenuntergang am Feuer sitzt und den Geschichten lauschst, die durch den Rauch an dein Ohr getragen werden.
Conrad ist Game-Ranger und Wildlife-Fotograf.
Sein wildes Herz schlägt für den afrikanischen Busch und wenn du richtig hinsiehst, dann kannst du das Land, das er liebt tatsächlich in seinen Augen aufblitzen sehen. Er hat unendlich viele Geschichten zu erzählen. Umso bemerkenswerter ist es, dass er oftmals einfach still bleibt und zuhört.
Conrad ist wirklich und wahrhaftig eine afrikanische Seele.
Seine Lebensgeschichte führte ihn über Umwege erst spät ins Phinda Private Game Reserve, wo er die Ausbildung zum Game Ranger absolvierte (Phinda gilt als die härteste Schule für Ranger in ganz Afrika.) Seinen sicheren und gute bezahlten Job in Johannesburg gab er auf, um seinen Traum von einem Leben in der Wildnis wahr werden zu lassen.
Durch sein Leben im Busch vertiefte er über die Jahre zwei wundervolle Talente: die Fähigkeit, grandiose Geschichten zu erzählen und ein Gespür für den Moment, in dem ein Foto gemacht werden muss. Darum bin nun stolz, dass Conrad mir gestattet hat, in seine Welt einzutauchen - durch seine Bilder und eine seiner Geschichten.
Tut euch den Gefallen und nehmt euch die Zeit, um einmal durch Conrads Augen zu blicken und schenkt ihm auch auf Facebook eure Aufmerksamkeit. Kaum jemand hat sie mehr verdient.
Thank you, Conrad. You are a remarkle soul and I am proud to know you.
Dank gilt an dieser Stelle außerdem South African Tourism, die diese Begegnung möglich gemacht haben.
Always wear a hat in the bush!
by Conrad Cramer
On any given day, the African sun can be merciless and unrelenting. Walking in the bush as a guide, one soon learns the importance of sunscreen. More so however, is how paramount it is to always wear a hat on a bush walk. My lesson in this regard came along early on in my guiding career.
On foot, we had been following a herd of buffalo since early morning.
Three of us were trainee guides, under the mentorship of Dale. With more than a decade of guiding experience under his belt, we felt secure under his leadership. The wind had been swirling slightly all morning, often changing direction completely, causing the animals to be skittish. The aim of this training walk was to approach the herd, view them and then move out of the area without being detected by them. Several attempts had failed and our detected presence had put the herd to flight more than once. From early on in the morning, the humidity had been stifling. The sun soon forged its way, directly above our heads, its harsh rays slaying us and penetrating the covers of our wide brimmed hats.
Our first approach set the herd stampeding, leaving a trail of fresh tracks in a cloud of dust. Again we walked for almost 2 hours to catch up to them. Now, within a couple of hundred metres away, the shade of a Natal Mahogany tree afforded us some respite from the suns harsh rays.
Our drinking water at this stage was almost warm enough to make tea.
The warm water however hydrated our parched mouths and seemed to almost quench our thirsts. At this point it would be have to be said, that it is never ideal to be out walking in the bush in the heat of the day. We however were determined to make a success of the day. It is never too much fun in tracking and following animals for hours, without at least viewing them, no matter how brief.
Again it was time to move on and try and get close to the herd.
The wind was in our favour, we had enough cover to work with, things were looking up. Slowly we edged our way forward and with some patience, made some good ground. Almost as if treading on Eggshells we moved to within a range of around 30m from the herd. They had assembled around a water hole, we were privileged to watch them drink peacefully while we remained hidden behind a nearby thicket.
In order to complete the walk successfully, we had to leave the area without the animals becoming aware of our presence. We gradually started retreating. Eventually we had moved out of earshot of the herd. We started chatting and revelling in the success of our final approach.
The day had been a long tough one, we were tired and our concentration levels were waning. We continued back to the area where we left the land rover, suddenly we noticed a Black Rhino under the shade of an Acacia tree.
Almost instantly the Rhino was in a full blown charge, heading straight toward us.
Like a steam train the animal hurtled forward, without showing any signs of letting up. There was now not even time to lift the rifle, let alone even chambering a round. In a reaction that seemed to emulate a lightning bolt, Dale took the hat off his head and threw it at the feet of the highly mobile animal. Not even 3m away from us now, the animal shifted the direction of its charge and veered past us into a nearby thicket, the sound of his huge body crashing through the bushes away from us.
Walking the last stretch back to the vehicle, none of us said anything, too shell shocked to even speak. Seated on the land rover a while later we opened up a cold bottle of water that had been left in the cooler box.. Dale had seen this type of thing before, but for us as rookie guides this encounter was a first. Dusting his old hat off, Dale eventually looked up and with the mixture of a grin and a smirk, he uttered the words that have never left me.
“On a bush walk, you never just wear a hat for protection from the sun alone.”
A valuable lesson learnt.
Copyright Hinweis: Sämtliche Fotos unterliegen dem Copyright von “Conrad Cramer Photojournalist”. Jedwede Vervielfachung oder Verwendung ist nur für private Zwecke gestattet und darf ausdrücklich nur mit dem Verweis auf “Conrad Cramer Photojournalist” erfolgen.