“Stay patient and enjoy the journey…”
For me, this week has been all about waiting it out for the moment to arise. Waiting for close to an hour for a pride of lions to cross a river; sitting and watching a hole in a tree, waiting for a kingfisher to bring insects to hungry chicks; watching a sleeping leopard for close to two hours, knowing that a beautiful scene may unfold. In the end, it all came together and the time spent waiting has all been forgotten as the highlights have shifted into pole position in our memories.
The game viewing has been phenomenal lately, even with the very thick bush and long grass. A lot of elephants have been spread out across the reserve – often found wallowing in the abundant pans of water. Four different prides of lions have moved through Londolozi, something that we do not take for granted!
Without testing your patience any further, enjoy this Week in Pictures…
A giraffe pauses on an open crest at sunrise. The combination of scattered clouds, a marula tree, a giraffe and a golden sky – the quintessential African scene. A fantastic way to start the day.
A woodland kingfisher slows itself down as it approaches its nest – a crevice inside a dead tree. Woodland kingfishers migrate from north of the Equator in Africa, all the way to southern Africa each year to breed. The open blue sky was a perfect backdrop here, but by whiting it out, the feathers have been accentuated as have the textures in the dead tree.
A scrub hare, backlit by late afternoon light. Most often seen running in the road at night, this was an uncommon sighting of one in the open before dark.
The Nhlanguleni female leopard, illuminated by a spotlight from behind. One of my favourite leopard images, showing the flies buzzing around the leopard’s head and just how long the grass is that they have to negotiate on a daily basis at this time of year. She paused just for a moment to listen to a movement off to her right, providing a split second to capture her outline and whiskers.
The Crossing. We had left this pride lying in the sand, in the shade of some trees along the river. We were called back as the lions got up and started looking across to the other side. This was a bit of a tease though as it took another 45 minutes before one lioness touched the water with her toes. She waded in, then turned back out of the water, in fear of what dangers might be lurking in the shallows. The lioness (front) gained confidence however, when some of the other members of her pride also waded in. A cautious walk turned into a full gallop across the river, to make the crossing as quick as possible! One can see the discomfort in the lion’s face at the back right of the image!
A small window of light falls upon a beautiful lilac-breasted roller.
A male lion lifts his head as night falls. This Birmingham male had been resting close to the Ntsevu pride one afternoon. The pride had left him and attempted to hunt, but failed. He lifted his head to listen and to sniff the air, as he awoke from a long day of rest.
Two zebras lift their heads to watch us. I was waiting patiently for all three to lift their heads at the same time as the open clearing was the perfect arena for this shot. This time though, patience did not pay off and I came away with this shot of only two out of three zebra looking up!
The beauty of summer is that the wilderness is alive all around us. We took some time to lie on the ground and immerse ourselves in the world unfolding beneath the grass. Large accumulations of broad-bordered grass yellows were fluttering up and down in one small area: a beautiful macro scene.
Zebra’s stripes, merging. Another case of patience. These two zebra stood head-to-tail for ages. We recognised the opportunity of capturing a shot of the zebra’s eye above the back of its counterpart. For the most part, it stood with its head drooped down, hiding its eye from our view. It lifted its head momentarily, providing the elevated back seats with the perfect view. The soft green background is pleasing to the eye too.
The Tatowa female leopard, comfortably lying across an open branch in a Marula tree. She was initially well hidden in some long grass, but walked along to the one and only tree in the area and promptly leaped right up the trunk to this branch. This image is a panoramic of four images stitched together in Lightroom. A cloudy day provided even light and a great pale background.
Shooting into the sun has become my preferred angle, rather than having the light fall from behind. In this case, the hundreds of flies would not have been visible from any other angle. This rhino bull happened to jump as it was startled by something, sending the flies into a frenzy and some mud flying off its horn.
The Three Rivers female leopard. Another case in point – she was barely visible in the long grass. A bit of patience paid off as she turned to face the setting sun, which cast a golden glow across her face. The green grass and her golden coat contrast well. She proceeded to start calling, over and over again. She is potentially moving into oestrus and is searching for a mate. This is exciting as she has not yet had her first litter of cubs.
A Birmingham male lifts his gaze as he drops his tongue into a small body of water to quench his thirst. Trying to time the shot to get his tongue out, while he looks up and before the ripples ruin the reflection was the real challenge here!
A stare off. A male waterbuck realised that an afternoon drink at this waterhole was not going to happen after all. A portion of the Ntsevu pride was sleeping in the shade of a bush just next to the water. With their cover given away, the lions had no way of getting close enough to catch the waterbuck, hence the reason most of them continued to sleep.