Once we'd visited the Musawwarat temples we turned back and drove the 20km/12.5 miles back to the highway. We were going to find the same picnic spot we'd shared with our Australian friends the week before and have lunch there.
Not that we dashed back to the highway. The desert is full of exciting surprises and sights. I asked Grant to stop so that I could photograph the Landcruiser in the wide-open desert. When I'd finished taking photos, he pointed behind me. There was a convoy of women and children transporting water on donkeys. They were very friendly and when they realised I was photographing them, they waved and called out to me.
After taking this photo, Grant pointed behind me
There was a convoy of friendly women and children carrying water on donkeys
Grant stopped frequently for me to try and capture the Black-crowned Sparrowlark who would not sit still for long enough. (see further down on in post) In between I spotted this bird (above) who looked like a bandit with a hood across his eyes! We identified him as a Red-backed Shrike (female spotted later, below)
We also stopped frequently when we spotted birds along the side of the tracks or in the bushes next to the road.
Female Red-backed Shrike which I spotted while we were following the Crested Lark
While I was photographing the exterior of the Lion Temple (yesterday's post) I first heard this bird above me in the sky. He had a sharp whistle and looking up I saw him in display flight. When he dived down to the ground he gave a descending cheeoo and landed, immediately scrummaging for his meal in the dry sand and among the grass. He never sat for long and this photo above was eventually taken when we saw him sitting on a rock next to the track through the desert. Grant identified him as a Black-crowned Sparrowlark - only found in North Africa, from West to East
Juvenile Abyssinian Roller struggling to keep his balance in the wind on top of this shrub. The mature birds have tail streamers and are, of course, vividly coloured. Hopefully we see mama or papa Roller on our next trip to the desert and I can photograph them. Abyssinian rollers are also only found in a wide strip stretching from West to East in North Africa
Grant has seen this Crested Lark before but this a a first (Lifer) for me!
Isn't he a beauty?
When we stopped for me to photograph this crested lark sitting on a branch overhanging the long grass, he was singing beautifully; a three-note call: "tree lee puu" These larks are only found in North Africa in a strip from West to East.
Open air restautant with a view! The beautiful vista of Africa stretching out as far as the eye can see
Modern man and his vehicle in Sepia tones...
... and in Black and White
Grant tidies up the lunch remains while I snap away. Someone has to keep record of the trip (lol!)
We passed a few men on donkeys. (In Africa you often pass people on donkeys).This baby donkey's human/owner was probably riding its mother. He was just strolling along in the road
Air-conditioned travel. This is a common sight in Africa. All transport space is utilized to the utmost
The Arabic for baby donkey is Ţfl Ḩmār (teefle ghamar)
The Arabic for women and children is an-Nsāʼ Wālʼţfāl (a-nasaa walteefal)
Thanks to everyone for visiting my blog posts about the ruins and for your kind comments. Grant and I would love to run a tour company. We enjoy out-of-the-way places, we even find and visit them in South Africa! Grant loves to drive and is quick to spot all sorts of interesting things along the way. I love to talk and take photos. I wonder: would it work? Lol!