Once again the big cats stole the show this week. The mother cheetah and her cubs were up to their usual antics, and the male cheetah was back again, this time hunting near the airstrip on one of his jaunts away from the South-western grasslands that he frequents. We believe he made the kill that the Maxabene 3:3 young male leopard was found on and had it stolen by the leopard.
Game drive temperatures are absolutely perfect at the moment; a slight chill in the morning and steadily increasing temperatures until the comfortable high-20s are reached by midday.
Enjoy this week in pictures…
The two cheetah cubs in the long grass of the Sparta/Ravemscourt area. Shots like this remind us how difficult it is to spot these cats if they are not perched up on a termite mound or fallen tree. f2.8, 1/1000s, ISO 320
A very late wildebeest calf. A youngster like this with only much older calves around it will unfortunately be a glaring target for any predator in the vicinity. f2.8, 1/250s, ISO 320
More cheetah, this time the male, who had spent an unsuccessful evening hunting impala near camp. After stymieing our attempts at a decent photo for quite a while, he eventually rewarded our patience and climbed this termite mound just as the evening light was fading. f5, 1/800s, ISO 500
We watched him walk past this crash of rhino and left him as the darkness descended… f5.6, 1/200s, ISO 1000
A ranger and tracker’s worst nightmare when on foot; hairy caterpillars! These little critters have irritating hairs which cause fierce itching for a number of hours if they make contact with your skin. f5.6, 1/320, ISO 640
After launching himself into the marula tree, the Maxabene 3:3 young male leopard slowly approached his kill along a gently sloping branch. We waited in position, ready for him to poke his head up and over… f2.8, 1/1000s, ISO 100
Red, yellow and blue; three popular primary colours among artists. The combination of these in a scene with a leopard, its kill and the rich blue sky made for magical photographic opportunities. f6.3, 1/640s, ISO 320
He moved the kill a couple of times during this sighting, trying to find a comfortable place to eat. f3.2, 1/500s, ISO 160
A young vervet monkey peers nervously over a branch with the afternoon sun behind him. f2.8, 1/640, ISO 640
Some red-billed oxpeckers get their evening meal from a large white rhino bull. The oxpecker on the left with minimal colouration is a juvenile. f3.2, 1/1000s, ISO 100
A rare photo of an entire lion pride drinking together. The Sparta pride pictured here had just finished off an impala kill when a distant bellow alerted them to the presence of a buffalo herd. The lionesses immediately stood up and began walking in that direction. Stopping for a quick drink, they continued for a good couple of kilometres before falling asleep within striking distance of the herd. As I write this, we are planning on heading out to them this evening to see if there are any developments… f5.6, 1/640s, ISO 800
Sightings without too much action can still leave you speechless. The reflections of the Sparta pride as they moved past this waterhole were simply breathtaking! f5.6, 1/2000, ISO 800
I imagine you might have done a double take when you saw this. The reflections in the water, almost undisturbed after the ripples from their drinking had died down, were too beautiful NOT to try flip the photo for effect… f8, 1/800s, ISO 320
Their thirst quenched, the pride lines up for the march towards the distant buffalo herd. f8, 1/320, ISO 160
Ranger Jess Boon, tracker Jeffrey Mhlongo and their guests enjoy a walk-by from the Sparta Pride. f13, 1/640, ISO 640
Photographed by James Tyrrell
what a wonderful pictorial of your drive. The big cats certainly did steal the show on this drive.
I love the water pictures. We have fuzzy caterpillars in Texas that sting like yours do, not a pleasant experience.
Thank you for giving us a brief, but beautiful glimpse into your corner of paradise.
As always – WOW – what fantastic photos, one day I will get out to see you and take some for myself!
Wonderful to see the Sparta pride looking so well. Great pics James !
Amazing photos as always James 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
Here in Canada, both feet well screwed in the remaining melting snow, I enjoy your breathtaking pictures of the Sparta Pride reflecting in the water hole. Nice flip, James!
Thank you James for these stunning pics. The last lion in 2nd last pic looks sick, but other cats look healthy?
Great creative shots. Thanks for sharing.
James, you did it again – another week of amazing photos! Keep them coming.
Great photos thanks for sharing,
Yours from the biltong capitol of the western world
Back in the US, it is so much fun to relive the great drives that week. Thanks!
James, Thanks for these photos. We haven’t stopped living our adventure and suspect we never will. Jess and Jeffrey were brilliant!