“If only our eyes saw souls instead of of bodies. How very different our vision of beauty would be”–Unknown
As a guide, I have always believed that one of my most important roles is to defend the misunderstood creatures surrounding us and to help people to see the beauty in, or at least gain respect for, the things they consider ‘ugly’. As with humans, attraction and appreciation often grows when you get to know someone’s personality and I have found this to be no different for other animals. Due to this, I am dedicating this Week in Pictures to some of the less picturesque and possibly more smelly beasts we find here at Londolozi, who have all in their own way captured my heart and who each exude a certain… charm.
The Marthly male. Scarred, drooling and not nearly as handsome as his younger counterparts, however he is a leopard who still holds great respect amongst the Londolozi family.
A Hadeda Ibis, one of South Africa’s noisiest and most unappreciated birds, shows off its gorgeous iridescent shine, which normally goes unnoticed.
Independently moving eyes, opposable claws and a tongue that extends further than the length of the body results in a rather dinosaur looking creature. Chameleons still remain one of my all time favourite animals and I was very excited to find this one on the move.
The Marthly male shows off his tattered ear and recently acquired tick companions. Although he may not be as beautiful as he used to be, these war wounds show a life well lived.
A crocodile finishes off its kill, whilst a terrapin tries to grab the scraps from it. Although crocodiles intimidate me more than any other creature, you have to admire their incredible hunting and killing prowess.
An unconventionally attractive Southern Ground Hornbill awaits the sunrise in an old, dead Leadwood tree.
The beauty of team work. The Tsalala pride killed this wildebeest just as we were leaving a dinner out in the bush. They sat down to their meal not 30m from where we had been enjoying ours only minutes earlier.
The beauty of design. The crocodile epitomises camouflage and blends so perfectly into its environment.
A young hyena cub looks recently washed due to its shenanigans in the early morning dewy grass.
A very relaxed female ostrich approached our vehicle on game drive. Apparently lonely, she came to inspect us closely and even followed the vehicle frantically when we eventually tried to leave her. Despite being incredibly strange looking, she certainly has a fine set of eyelashes.
A hyena cub, still so young that it has not developed its spotty coat yet, leaves the safety of the den to greet its mother.
A buffalo doing the flehmen grimace. This behaviour facilitates the transfer of pheromones and other scents onto the Jacobson’s Organ in the roof of the mouth where information such as the reproductive status of another animal can be determined.
A pack of wild dogs sprint away from a large and unhappy elephant bull. The mere fluidity with which they move and the immense care the pack members take of each other, make these some of the most beautiful animals in my eyes.
The Marthly male stares intensely after a group of Nyala. Despite his old age and his shrinking territory, he is still managing to fend for himself incredibly well.
Photographed by: Amy Attenborough