As exciting and interesting as April has been, it is left behind in hasty anticipation for May. We are seeing the fast introduction of the new as well as potential changes of the old, with everything in between.
Despite the dusty layer of fallen leaves and soaring temperatures this week, there has sprouted a sudden film of vibrant green following last week’s surprise rain. The ‘wet’ season’s final contribution seemed to just penetrate the topsoil and make just enough of an impact. Our eyes have thus been treated to conspicuous areas of new shoots, even more welcomed by the grazers, particularly Wildebeest.
This morning brought relief as the entire Sparta Pride was found together, answering questions to the recent separation of the two males from the pride. This seems not a moment too soon for the pride’s young males as two separate coalitions of male lions were on the property as well. Excitement and heart-pounding moments littered the past few days across all game viewing, and now, going into the weekend we consolidate and look back on a spectacular few days.
So, in preparing for the much anticipated new month, look back and enjoy April’s final Week in Pictures…
The setting sun fades away behind an array of colour splashed across the western skyline. (1/1600 at f/2.8; ISO 160).
An intrusive close-up of the eye and two horns of a grazing White Rhino. By caking himself in mud, this sub-adult bull attempts to suffocate any attached parasites; some remain around his eyelid, though… (1/320 at f/4.0; ISO 100).
The grim descent of a Hooded Vulture from an impressively high altitude. He showed us his impressive eyesight, after spotting a newly made kill during daylight hours. (1/800 at f/2.8; ISO 2500).
One of the Tsalala cubs, now a sizeable young male, catches his breath during a prolonged feeding session on a large Hippopotamus. The thick skin proved difficult to penetrate for the entire pride, especially this cub who’s missing a lower canine! (1/1000 at f/2.8; ISO 100).
The rutting season commences. Two mature Impala rams hold nothing back as they spar for territory. Opponents are shoved, battered, twisted and drilled into the gravel. The bleeding ram to the right eventually fled, lucky to leave the duel fairly unscathed… This time. (1/2500 at f/4.0; ISO 2000).
The recently harrowing arrival of the Fourways coalition from the deep south. The two males have been covering a lot of ground lately and have even been as far north as the Sand River, further than previously known by us. (1/800 at f/4.5; ISO 200.)
One of the two Fourways males raises his chin to make more of a passing scent; the smell leads both lions across the clearing to the remains of the Hippo carcass only very recently vacated by the Tsalala Pride. Potential for chaos? (1/800 at f/4.5; ISO 200.)
Our privilege, presented to us. Two sub-adult White Rhino bulls cool off side by side during the early afternoon heat; their precious horns almost cross. ( 1/500 at f/5.6; ISO 200.)
A beautiful setting early one morning as the mist only just revealed a single Elephant feeding in a clearing as the rest move away out of frame. A cold Leadwood tree towers the majestic mammal. (1/250 at f/4.0; ISO 200).
Slightly later on during that same misty morning, the glowing curtain of low-lying cloud outlines a dead Knobthorn tree while only one of the Impala ewes displays vigilance. (1/4000 at f/2.8; ISO 640).
The big news of the week. One of the Fourways males glances over his shoulder to ensure that his brother is following. Both lions seem prepared to face up to anyone prepared to challenge their presence. (1/1250 at f/4.5; ISO 100).
Which are you favourite photographs from this week? Remember how important lighting is for the final result; see the harsh late morning sun on the male Lions which creates contrast, compared to the gentle first light on the Elephant which casts no shadows through the mist.
Have a phenomenal weekend!
Written and photographed by Sean Cresswell, Londolozi Ranger