Yesterday afternoon, as the rain was approaching from the east, we were treated to a magnificent double rainbow over a dark contrasting bank of black clouds. Every scene we passed was amplified by the absolute beauty this backdrop provided. As magnificent as it was I never managed to get any photos; so mesmerised was I by the light, I simply took it in rather than get out my camera. Stopping shortly after to put on our ponchos as the heavens opened, we looked up and suddenly there in front of us was the Tamboti female leopard and her cub! With the cool rain came a burst of energy for these two animals and I am sure the rest of the bushveld. Watching them play as the cub would practice stalking and pouncing in the rain, with rays of sunlight shining through from the west, made for the most phenomenal sighting. Along with the energy of these two leopards, the rest of the animals have certainly had their own bit of exuberance brought on by the deluge.
Scenes that have been staged by Walt Disney would struggle to challenge some seen here. Not just of the prolific Big 5, but of crests completely covered in general game, impala in what sometimes feels like thousands upon thousands (which wouldn’t be far from the truth), and many, many zebra foals and wildebeest calves that are seen scurrying around the crests at dawn and dusk. Elephants slide right in there amongst the masses as they feed on the Marula fruits that are littering the crests too.
There really is no better place to be…
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
Perched atop this boulder, the Ingrid Dam female’s cub watches closely as her mother feeds on what was left of an impala lamb kill. On a morning off a few days ago, we went out a little after game drive and had the privilege of watching her play around on the rocks all to ourselves. f5.6, 1/320, ISO 200.
In the past few days the cloud cover had provided some spectacular opportunities to get more dramatic photos. Here a male giraffe stands staring into the distance as the rain clouds are starting to form behind him. f5.0, 1/1250, ISO 320.
Driving around the corner we interrupted this hippo mid-mouthful; probably not a good idea as looks like he might have got out of the wrong side of the bed. Hippos mostly feed on grass outside of the water at night and so it is rather special to see one in the open like this during the day. After a few photos, his discomfort at being exposed must have risen, as he rushed back into the waterhole nearby. f5.6, 1/640, ISO 640
In the Rain yesterday, we were incredibly lucky to have found these two leopards (Tamboti female and cub) and what a surreal afternoon it had turned out to be. After stopping to put our ponchos on, one of my guests thought he may have dropped his camera, and while looking for it we looked up and there were these two leopards busy playing just to the side of the road. We spent the rest of the afternoon with them watching them play and were so captivated that we didn’t even realize the extent to which we were getting wet. f5.3, 1/320, ISO 2000
The last remaining Tsalala cub showing some aggression towards his mother as she tries to feed on a kill she made recently. Competition at a kill is always high and it is great to see how bold even these little ones can be, even though he would have absolutely no chance if he was to get into a scuffle with the much bigger female. f5.6, 1/640, ISO 1250.
After a quick drink from the Sand River, this elephant crossed through providing a slightly different type of photo of an elephant. f5.6, 1/1000, ISO 250.
Getting low down to the water makes such a difference when trying to photograph hippos. This individual was perfectly positioned in the pink glow, just after the sun had gone down behind it making the water glisten with some amazing colours f5.6, 1/500, ISO 1000.
Arch rivals, hyenas often trail wild dog packs, following them with the knowledge of just how successful the dogs can be when hunting. Being larger, the hyenas are able to overpower the wild dogs fairly easily unless the dog pack have numbers on their side. We witnessed very unusual behaviour the other day when 4 hyenas were following a pack of 6 wild dogs with numerous interactions taking place; they would all lay down close to one another, sniff each other’s mouths and noses then all of a sudden lash out and try bite each other. f5.6, 1/640, ISO 800.
Being trailed by the hyenas, the wild dog were never left alone to sleep, having to get up and move every few minutes to avoid the pesky scavengers. The hyenas were almost behaving like younger brothers who just want to play when you’ve been working all day. f5.6, 1/1600, ISO 800.
The saving grace to a ridiculously hot afternoon came when we found a herd of elephants moving around, feeding on the fallen Marula fruits. We hung around with them for a while until they saw a nearby mud wallow. It didn’t take long for this tiny elephant to flop into the water and frolic around in complete euphoria. It looked so inviting that two other young elephants joined him in his aquatic antics. f5.6, 1/250, ISO320.
This was certainly one of the hottest, most humid afternoons I have witnessed this year. Not a bad place to be if I was a young playful Elephant. f5.0, 1/320, ISO320.
Although always seeming to be full of energy, the Tamboti female’s cub seems to be incredibly comfortable here, resting up off the ground on an incredibly hot day, her eyes intrigued by any movement around her. f5.6, 1/400, ISO 640.
With the Mhangeni pride youngsters now becoming subadults, it could be time where there will soon be some new additions to the already formidable pride. Some of the females are now spending more time away from the pride in search of and occasionally mating with some of the dominant males in the area. Could this pride potentially progress into a super pride with some more cubs being born? Or will they split like last time, with a new pride forming in the area? f5.6, 1/2000, ISO 800.
As the sun was setting behind this pod of hippos this one came up and flicked its ears, splashing some water about. The intensity of the gold reflecting on the water was almost surreal. f5.6, 1/2000, ISO 1000.
As two Mhangeni lionesses were having a stroll, they passed over the southern end of Ximpalapala crest, which has been absolutely teeming with general game. As soon as these impala saw the lions they rushed across and began their distinctive alarm snorting alarmed at the passing danger. f5.6, 1/3200, ISO 800.
The most striking colour contrasts on the black crake make it a beautiful bird to photograph if the lighting is right. In this case both the lighting and stillness of the water were perfect. f5.6, 1/800, ISO 800.