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Special places and memories ..

Of course we don't know the whole world yet, but we've already seen a lot ... Our favorite places and special memories? Of course we feel at home here in Central Switzerland, this is our home - but what is meant here is travel life ... So some background information and matters of the heart in interview form:


Manfred, where would you most like to go back again and again?

To the Swiss Engadine, because nature is magnificent and the deer you hear roaring there at the beginning of October are one of the most impressive things you can experience.


Maya, if you could choose a place to live, which one would it be?

The small coastal town of St. Lucia in Zululand, South Africa. The place is probably quite touristy, but also original enough to appear homely and cozy. Above all, it is a paradise for nature lovers because many ecosystems meet with the river delta, the sea and a great landscape. So you can explore the most diverse flora and fauna around the town - from whales to hippos, even in the streets of the city.


Manfred, which place do you particularly associate with the term "wilderness"?

Quite spontaneously: Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Far from everything, wild and also a little dangerous. Depending on the time of day and the weather situation, sink into the sand or the soggy ground and you have no guarantee that you will get help soon. You are left to your own devices and feel the dangers of the African fauna in the unfenced camps. The experiences from "Cry of the Kalahari" described in the book by the researcher couple Owens seem tangible and very topical.


Maya, which place is particularly romantic for you?

A picnic area on the Zambezi in the national park of the same name in Zimbabwe. Sitting in the same place on the river bank from sunrise to sunset, lying in a hammock, enjoying good food and a glass of wine in the evening. The water flows leisurely, wild animals come and go all around. You are isolated and alone, there are hardly any other vehicles here. Still, the next town is not far away. The landscape is gentle and seems unspectacular, but the light, especially in the evening hours, is great.


Manfred, you love to photograph lightning - where did you experience the most impressive thunderstorm?

I didn't take any photos here but lay in my bed in one of the rental tents on the ridge of Mpila Camp in Imfolozi National Park, Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. In the deep black night we felt defenseless to the force of nature of non-stop bright white lightning and deafening thunder, pictured how we were roasted by the fire and our hearts beat in a panic rhythm in sync - we actually clung to each other.



Maya, was there a place that you remember with palpitations?

The northernmost tip of Chobe NP, Botswanan, near Linyanti. There was great drought and the elephants gathered in the remaining rivers. We followed a winding road through dense forest, snaking past elephants again and again. All herds seemed to be on the move, some with small babies. They seemed to react more and more aggressively to us and after turning we slowly panicked. You could hardly see a few meters and the gray giants seemed to be hiding behind every bend and every tree, were suddenly very close behind or in front of us and the huge ears fluttered, the trunks were lifted and swung. The only wish: a crane that would lift us out and bring us to safety ...


Manfred, did you get stuck in one of the cars?

In Kenya we went on an evening excursion with our Maasai guide Ntaja in the wide and practically deserted outer zone of the Mara. I misjudged a damp spot and both wheels ate their way into a mud hole from which there was no escape. I was already expecting that we would have to stay there all night, but - even today it seems unbelievable to me - after a few minutes the beams of light from a vehicle reached out to us, illuminated our situation and the driver easily pulled us out of the misery ...


Maya, what was the most decisive experience for you?

That seems like a difficult question, but it is a very simple one: In 2015 I spent a break in southern Africa. At the beginning of October we entered Johannesburg, traveled to Zimbabwe and Zambia, after which I stayed in Zululand where I did volunteer work at WildlifeACT and in between enjoyed vacation in St. Lucia. At the end of December I picked up Manfred, who had worked at home, and we wanted to spend the remaining seven weeks abroad, which I had cleverly calculated so that it would be enough within the 90-day visa after returning to South Africa. Then at the border post in the Kgalagadi National Park the shock: I already had an overstay because the South Africa Union did not classify the departure to Zimbabwe and Zambia in such a way that a new 90-day stay was granted. Despite the attempt to legalize everything in all possible offices and with all forms and papers, the draconian judgment overtook me when I left the airport: all entry to South Africa was denied for 5 years. I didn't even get an answer to my return request. The five years are long but not forever ...


Manfred, which people do you remember particularly from your travels?

There are some, especially from the project work at WildlifeACT, but also our Maasai guide. People who gave us insights into their lives and who taught us so much. To see their country, their work, the culture and their culture up close, to understand them and certainly to love them too.


Maya, which was the most mystical place for you?

Antelope Cañon in the USA. I admired the Indians early on from books and then on a trip with my parents, during which we experienced the Hopi tribe at a traditional festival, and looked at them with fascination. The photography tour in the column of the orange-red light-flooded corridor, the floating melody of a flute far away, these images stay in my heart not only thanks to the photos I like to have around me (for example in the Bushbaby).


Manfred, what special hunting scenes do you think of?

We saw a few, and one spontaneously comes to mind at Amboseli NP. The cheetahs hunted in the midst of a herd of numerous newborn wildebeest, the umbilical cord still soft and the fur wet. During the time we were able to observe, the hunters did not catch any of the little ones because the mothers protected them in an impressive way. A cheetah mother had better luck in Imfolzi NP: the cars whose occupants were watching something were very surprised when the cat was chasing a young impala in the middle. Then she called her two little ones to share the booty with them.


Maya, is there a surprising scene that you could describe?

Yes, I think one of the most surprising things was when I heard a high-pitched, soft meow next to my car window. I expected to see a gorse or wild cat. I didn't expect a fully grown cheetah to sound like this.


Manfred, did you ever stop without gas?

I've always been lucky abroad, in Switzerland it happened to me as a new driver and once I said we had to push the vehicle over the Flüela Pass, but it was probably enough for the last drop to the gas station. In countries with long journeys, people are probably much more conscious about refueling.


Maya, have you ever had anything to do with ivory smuggling?

Yes, we almost had. On a drive through the Hwange NP in Zimbabwe we discovered something white in the field next to the road. I got out of the car illegally and got it. It was the tip of an elephant's tooth. Of course we would have preferred to wrap it up, but already while taking the photos we realized how dangerous a picture with a piece of ivory is. Finally, after careful consideration, we threw it back into nature and thought, we are insane man, that such a piece of tooth means such madness.


Maya, in volunteering projects you prefer animals to humans, why?

Not entirely true, I really enjoyed working with tourists in the lodge. In the social projects, especially in Kenya, the mentality gave me trouble. First of all, I don't think it's so great when we come white, know and bring everything and this is expected and used. The gap between rich and poor is clearly there, but I was rather shocked that achievements like table, chair and the like had not caught on in the school for the disabled I worked at. That couldn't be because of poverty, but because of the interest in creating good framework conditions for oneself. I was also impressed that the material and knowledge that was accumulated at school was neither valued, well used, nor maintained. Discussions about the use and handling of money have annoyed me so much that I prefer to get involved with animals.


Do you have any additional questions? Please send them to us, we will be happy to answer them!



Hirschbrunft 2020 für einmal nicht im Engadin sondern im Biosphärenreservat Entlebuch.

Versteckt im Schatten unterhalb des Hirschstiers befinden sich vier Ladies seines Harems. Morgenstund hat Gold im Mund.


Brücke über den Estuary ins Städtchen St. Lucia.


Am Sambesi im gleichnamigen Nationalpark. 

Wildromantisch, fast allein gehört uns ein wunderschöner Nationlpark mit reichem Tierleben und grossartiger Natur. Keine Zäune halten unsere Besucher ab, bei uns vorbeizuschauen. Wer findet schon am Morgen die Abdrücke von Raubkatzenpfoten direkt neben dem Auto?


Wohlfühlstimmung in der Erde: diese Spalte im Antelope Canyon USA war einer der mystischen Orte in meinem Leben.

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