Hippo Heaven

We’re at Makakatana Bay Lodge in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park near Lake St Lucia in Kwa Zulu Natal province for one more night. Today we took a pontoon boat tour on the estuary of Lake St Lucia and saw many dozens of hippos resting in the water. As we motored gently by, they would lift their heads to look at us, snort a lot to say: dont come too close; and then submerge themselves again. Many had young ones and can be very aggressive towards intruders. Our boat captain, Warwick and our guide Louwrena were both very knowledgeable about the wildlife and could spot interesting birds and lizards from long distances. We didn’t see any crocodiles which apparently is unusual. Gord got an excellent shot of fish eagles sitting regally in the trees or taking flight to get away from the boat.

Our captain was a very respectful and knowledgeable guide who kept away from anything that would be unduly frightened. Our lodge is very wild, elephants come at night to forage, 3 water buffalo spend their time grazing in the front yard, monkeys live in the trees outside the porch where we eat breakfast and race across the rooves at night, and a warthog family come several times every day to drink from the pond.
This was our third day tour in this UNESCO World Heritage reserve. As we drove in the first day we were thrilled to see giraffe and zebra grazing beside the dirt roads. We spent the first evening on a drive with a wonderful young and very knowledgeable guide named Riley who sat with us for an hour watching a bull elephant alone in the setting sun and very close to our truck. Needless to say we have some great photos. We have been using the computers in the lodges to keep our messages going out and the photos are downloaded onto the ipad. Next time we will bring a cell phone and learn how to use it to tether – right, Kirk.
I am continuously blown away by the complex adaptive systems that we are learning about every day here – complexity being a subject I am very interested in!
We leave here tomorrow after breakfast and drive 3 hours to the Durban airport to return our rental car and catch a flight to Port Elizabeth. From there we pick up another car and drive to Cape Town along the famous Garden Route.

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Amazing Sights at Makakatana Bay Lodge

We’re at Makakatana Bay Lodge in the northern part of Kwa Zulu Natal on the banks of Lake St Lucia not far from Swaziland. Having some wonderful viewings of giraffe, water buffalo, zebra, rhino, warthog families and many kinds of antelope with a fantastic guide named Riley who is both very knowledgeable and excited about his work. He’s also a great bartender and cook. We’ve had evening drinks with him on the savannah as well as a fantastic outdoor breakfast at the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park north of the Lodge in Zululand and surrounded by lovely hillside residences and small villages. We left the lodge about 5 this morning to travel to this famous park where there is lots to see.

On the day we arrived at the lodge we took a wrong turn and before we knew it we had glimpses of giraffe, zebra, warthogs and tons of colourful birds. It was very exciting to see these animals in the wild and protected. We spent one evening with this large lone bull elephant just watching him as the sun set and he wandered the plains. At a couple of points you’d swear he knew he was giving us a thrill – he was only 20 feet from our truck – and he seemed to pose for us. Riley was full of interesting information and knew just how close to get so as not to scare or disturb him but to give us a good sighting.

One of the pictures below is of Dung Beetles which live in elephant dung. Thanks to Louwrena, Riley’s colleague who taught us about these interesting creatures and actually had us hold them and their dung balls. The elephants wander the roads at night near the lodge – they come to eat from the trees and one night devoured the year’s crop of mangoes! By morning their dung is full of beetles which will live and reproduce in the dung – as well as recycle the dung into useful products for the ecosystem…a form of symbiosis. They are extremely efficient. Researchers found that a 1.5 km of dung attracted 16 thousand beetles who disposed of it in under 2 hours.

Having a wonderful trip and meeting many interesting people with lots of insight in to this wondefully complex country.

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Leading in Complex Systems

Health care leaders have begun to adapt to the complexities, ambiguities and paradoxes that are now the norm in healthcare.

It is more and more apparent that the emerging field of complexity science offers important strategies for leading in chaotic, complex healthcare environments. A 2001 survey by Burns found that healthcare leaders intuitively support principles of complexity science and understand the value of complex adaptive systems as a model for leading and managing in healthcare environments.

Leadership that uses complexity principles offers opportunities to focus less on prediction and control and more on fostering relationships and creating conditions in which complex adaptive systems can evolve and produce creative outcomes.
Continue reading “Leading in Complex Systems”