After placing the camera trap in a new spot along the Sand River I have waited in anticipation to see what extraordinary glimpses into the natural world this small device was able to capture this time. Concern set in a few days ago however when we received 38mm of rain and the river went up! Amy and I set out to investigate what the camera had captured, and what in fact had become of the camera itself.

We ventured down into the river with caution as there were a fair number of hippo tracks along the bank. To our excitement we then came across rather fresh lion tracks. We had to take off our shoes as we made our way through the shallow stretches of water and marveled at the fact that we were walking in the exact spot that lions had paced possibly only a few hours earlier.

Just then, Amy pulled out one of the best spots I have ever seen when she sighted a leopard on the opposite bank. Adrenaline surged as the agile cat looked up at us and then stalked off into the reeds. It was such a hot day that it made perfect sense for the leopard to be resting in the shade of the matumi trees on the cool, wet sand. On finding the camera trap, I sighed with relief that it had not been swept downstream, but immediately realised it had been shifted over and was wedged at a rather odd angle. There is always excitement in sifting through the images and although this selection of pictures produced fewer species variety, and still no otter, I think we are getting closer and closer to the ultimate shot and the low angle had resulted in a couple of very interesting pictures.


A black crake is perfectly captured with the low angle of the camera placement.


African pied wagtails hop past along the bank.


The legs of a bushbuck are frozen in time, as it makes its way across the Sand River.


An elephant gets closer and closer to the trap…


This for me is the most interesting shot and shows just how close the elephant actually is to the camera!


You can see here how the camera has been bumped over and the angle has changed and has only managed to capture one leg of a hippo!

I have placed the camera in a new spot, not far from the last position but in an area that is a little more open and will hopefully produce some more variety in terms of bird species and of course, the search for the otter continues…

Written and captured by: Andrea Campbell, Londolozi Ranger

About the Author

Andrea Campbell

Field Guide

Andrea has an energy that is hard to match. It's difficult to find anything in the bush that she doesn't get excited about, whether it's the molluscs in the Sand River, setting up camera traps all over the show to try and capture ...

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on In Search of the Otter: Camera Trap Part 4

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

marinda drake

Awesome to see the elephants up close. Love the black crake. Cant wait to see what will be caught next.

Janice Riley

I love these random shots from the camera trap. There is something fascinating about the lack of staging associated with the shots. So pleased you, Amy and the camera made it back the trek to retrieve the equipment. I remember you telling me that you were chased by a hippo once – glad you weren’t this time.

Janice Riley

The elephant shot is like a before and after moisturiser advertisement!

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