This last week saw the Sand River water level rise rather substantially and the sound of flowing water could be heard through most of the lodges. It was very exciting to stand on the various camp decks and to see previously dry sandy channels start flowing again. With water now cascading over the causeway there was also much speculation over the radio as to which crossing points in the river were crossable or not. Luckily, the concrete causeway allowed us safe passage into the north of the reserve without fear of getting stuck, but there were a couple of ambitious attempts by some to cross elsewhere which resulted in the tractor having to being called out to pull them free from their sandy trap. It was all laughs as the “Pink Pouch” rapidly changed hands a couple of times in just a few days and we learnt the hard way where you could and couldn’t cross the river.
This last week also turned up another safari first for me, and without a doubt became my highlight of the week. It was the first time I had seen a pack of Wild Dogs chase a leopard into a tree. We had been sitting with a pack of 18 Wild Dogs in the late afternoon when the sound of a leopard rasping its territorial call carried across the clearing towards us. The Wild Dogs immediately leapt to their feet and went to investigate. Upon discovering the Nhlanguleni Female walking towards them a couple hundred metres away they took off at full sprint, sending her leaping for safety into the upper boughs of a nearby Marula tree. She did not seem too phased by the situation and soon fell asleep while the Wild Dogs kicked up a fuss beneath her.
Enjoy This Week in Pictures…
A female baboon takes care of an itch in the last light of the day. The red swelling by her tail shows that she is in oestrus and could be looking for a mate. 1/500 at f/5,6; ISO 400
One of the Matimba Males lies up in the road early one morning. 1/640 at f\5,6; ISO 400
The other Matimba Male was seen one morning mating with a lioness from the Mhangeni Breakaway Pride. 1/1000 at f/4,5; ISO 400
It has been very special following the daily progress of these Green-Backed Heron chicks as they nest just off the causeway at the river. It is only a matter of days now before they leave the nest completely. 1/640 at f/5,6; ISO 125
Ranger Kevin Power and Tracker Ray Mabilane arrive with their guests just as the a pack of 18 Wild Dogs chased the Nhlanguleni female into a Marula Tree. 1/1600 at f/4,5; ISO 250
Born to the Tutlwa female in early-mid 2011, the Nhlanguleni female spent her formative months (and years) in and around the Sand River.
We watched with great amusement as the pack very ambitiously took turns making vein attempts to jump up and get the leopard. 1/1600 at f;4,5; ISO 400
Once up the tree the Nhlanguleni female didn’t take much notice as she eventually put her head down and rested. 1/1600 at f/5,0; ISO 400
Another unsuccessful attempt to try and catch the leopard lying in the branches above. 1/800 at f/5,0; ISO 400
We spotted this Klaas’s Cuckoo calling prominently from it’s perch early one morning. 1/640 at f/5,6; ISO 100
Also known as “fire rainbows” or “rainbow clouds” the phenomenon we witnessed at the top of these clouds is known as cloud iridescence. This occurs when the sunlight is diffracted off water droplets in the atmosphere. 1/640 at f/4,5; ISO 100
Two young bull elephants play in the Sand River at sunrise. 1/640 at f/4,5; ISO 400
The Nhlanguleni female wakes up from an afternoon nap and stares into the setting sun before descending the tree and slipping away into the darkness. 1/250 at f/5,6; ISO 100
James started his guiding career at the world-renowned Phinda Game Reserve, spending four years learning about and showing guests the wonder of the incredibly rich biodiversity that the Mapuataland area of South Africa has to offer. Having always wanted to guide in the ...