The summer rains have continued to bless us and the environment with a constant but gentle drizzle throughout the week. Although this does make daily life in camp and out in the bush slightly more challenging, it’s evident relief to the land makes it easily tolerated. The vibrant surroundings and plentiful colours provide the cherry on the top!
With a thick layer of grasses and flowers and dense canopies, a new world awaits. A world in which the ambush hunters thrive, despite the strengthening herbivores. This means that herd numbers are increasing for safety, and precaution seems to be the most commonly seen behaviour from most of the mammals. Early morning jubilance amongst impala lambs, wildebeest calves and zebra foals never ceases and sunrise usually delivers lots of activity. Lately, though, very overcast conditions have often hidden the sun and its resultant shadows making for evenly-lit mornings and cool afternoons. Lots of the big cats have taken these opportunities to be more active during the day, much to our appreciation.
Water heavy fields of damp grasses, overflowing mud wallows and trickling streams along every road has been the weekly reminder of nature’s potential. The constant sound of the tumbling Sand River as it stubbornly grows in width is a privilege to have echoing throughout the night. The happiness in and of this magical land is tangible. Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
Heavily reported on, tropical cyclone Dineo hit Mozambique at the start of the week, and passed over the northern tip of South Africa a day later as it dissipated over land. Only being 300km away from its centre, we witnessed the resultant wave of moisture as it swept over the lowveld and met an approaching cold front, causing the week’s rain and cloud… As well as some spectacular sunsets. 1/800 at f/4.5; ISO 400.
One of the Mhangeni Pride cubs moves around restlessly as he awaits the return of the lionesses, probably still on the hunt from the night before. 1/1000 at f/4; ISO 500.
Growing quickly, the pride’s cubs are starting to show real impressive definition in their muscular bodies. The lionesses did return later in the morning and the entire pride of sixteen were found together that afternoon a short distance away. 1/1000 at f/5; ISO 640.
The Matshipiri males have spent an unusually extended period of time on Londolozi recently in the absence of the Matimba males. Look closely and see a beautiful butterfly sitting on this Matshipiri male’s forehead as he walks! 1/800 at f/4; ISO 800.
The second Matshipiri male during the same overcast day. The probable (but not guaranteed) return of resident Matimba males is hugely anticipated. 1/1000 at f/4; ISO 800.
Late in the evening of a very dark and cloudy day, there was no golden light to assist in this magical moment of the Flat Rock male ascending a Jackalberry (ebony) tree. Slowing down the shutter and panning with his movement created an otherwise botched photograph… 1/5 at f/5; ISO 640.
Fortuitous openings in the clouds at the right time of the day provided gorgeous corridors of late afternoon golden light, highlighting this dazzle of Zebra. 1/1000 at f/5; ISO 500.
But then on other days the rain was going nowhere, and in this case the Mhangeni Pride anchored down in the long grass to stay as dry as possible. Curious cubs look out towards some distance alarm calls. 1/3200 at f/2.8; ISO 1000.
A Mhangeni lioness lifts her nose to the air, however soaking wet conditions make any scents very difficult to detect. She stubbornly stays down in the cold, wet grass. 1/3200 at f/2.8; ISO 640.
Steadily approaching two years of age now, the Mashaba young female is taking down larger prey species more regularly. After a healthy feed on an impala she settled on another branch of this Marula tree for a bit of a rest. 1/2000 at f/2.8; ISO 800.
Earlier that day when the Mashaba young female descended the massive Marula tree and disappeared into the tall Wild Foxglove, before reemerging with her half-eaten carcass which had been hidden. 1/2000 at f/4.5; ISO 800.
Having been viewed by vehicles from an early age, this leopard is supremely relaxed around Land Rovers.
Towards the end of their nesting time of the year (usually ending in February) this male Village Weaver displays from the underside of his nest immediately after the female enters to continue incubating the eggs, or even feed their new hatchlings. 1/4000 at f/3.5; ISO 500
The Nkoveni female climbs up into a mess of chaotic Knobthorn branches before jumping across and onto an adjacent dead Leadwood tree, making for a comfortable siesta spot! 1/640 at f/2.8; ISO 640.
A gorgeous female who is found to the east of camp. Easily recognised by her 2:2 spot pattern she is often to be found in Marula trees.
A wide angle with a dead rest (sometimes just a steady knee will do the trick) of the main channel of the Sand River. As the shutter stays open, the wind-caused ripples and flowing water paints into a silky smooth photograph. 3,0 sec at f/16; ISO 100.
A male cheetah cuts through the pulsating colours of a cloudy evening both on the distant horizon and reflected in a nearby pan. His golden coat pops against a dark backdrop. 1/2500 at f/5; ISO 800.
Which moments from this week bring out the most joy in you?
Have a phenomenal weekend.