Sorry that there were no blog posts on Friday and Saturday, but I drove all weekend with guests at the Lodge and had no time to blog.
One of the main reasons for not blogging was that, when I was on my way home just before noon on Saturday (to work on some pictures …), the breeding herd of Elephants crossed the Savanna just behind me. They were on their way to our largest waterhole. So I spend the next 1.5 hours there.
After arrival they not only drank, but they swam, sparred and mud-bathed.
It was incredible to see how the females took care of the youngsters and how our oldest bull made sure that no other mature bull (or any Land Rover :-)) came to close to “his family” while they were enjoying themselves in the water.
They young bulls in the group were sparring quite a bit …
… and once the breeding herd had moved of the mature bulls took a mud-bath. Especially the “old guy” enjoyed himself once everyone else had left.
I also recorded some video footage. A YouTube video will be published soon.
Enjoy the pictures and have a good week!
PS: Besides me a herd of Buffalo, a journey of Giraffe and a group of Wildebeest were watching the scene and waited for their turn to drink. The Elephants would not tolerate anyone else near the waterhole during their bath and the old bull made me re-locate a few times before he accepted my presence and I could shoot in peace 🙂
I love Land Rovers and I hate them!
Thanda3 is out of commission again, this time it is the front diff which is currently being replaced 😦
If I am lucky, I will have the vehicle back tomorrow evening. In the meantime I am driving a “Luxury Vehicle”, one of the newest Land Rovers, which is usually used for community trips. It got an (in-) convenient roof, which makes it quite difficult to go off-road on game drive.
Well, tomorrow is another day 🙂
And the picture of the day is a black&white image of a Harem of Zebra!
Quite a few of my friends have asked if there are ever any picture with me on game drive.
Well, this shot was taken by Jo Perry, one of the African Impact Volunteers (Thanks for letting me use the picture :-).
I was explaining the “circle of life” after one of our sunset shots at our largest waterhole (I was kneeling on my driver’s seat!)
These two adult male Lions on Thanda are working on their relationship 🙂
For the last few days they have been “hanging out” together. They have been seen fighting, roaring at one another, scent marking in front of each other and for most of the time just resting in a few meters distance from one another or just walking down the road.
This morning we found them resting on the side of a road, then having a go at one another before settling down to rest again.
It will be interesting to see how this “male bonding” will end!
If you ever thought how it looks from the Lion’s point of view when we photographer’s shoot in the bush. Here is the answer 🙂
We were watching the Thanda North Pride feasting on a Wilderbeest kill. The young male was observing us closely …
… while his sister played with the Wilderbeest tail!
And for the photographers among my blog readers here are the technical info about the images:
Picture 1 – Camera Canon 1D Mark IV – Canon Lens L 28-300mm – at 130mm – 1/1600sec – f/5.6 – ISO 3200 – +1eV – freehand
Picture 2 – Camera Canon 1D Mark IV – Canon Lens L 28-300mm – at 300mm – 1/500sec – f/5.6 – ISO 400 – +/-0eV – freehand
Picture 3 – Camera Canon 1D Mark IV – Canon Lens L 28-300mm – at 220mm – 1/1000sec – f/5.6 – ISO 1600 – -0.33eV – freehand
A lot of people have asked me if they were more images of the Battle at Thanda.
Here is link to a YouTube Video with video footage and with more images of the interaction:
CAUTION: PLEASE DO NOT PLAY THE VIDEO IF YOU ARE DISTURBED BY WILD ANIMAL INTERACTION VIDEOS AND PICTURES!
Thanks to Mariana Venter for letting me use the video footage and some of the images she took at the encounter.
No “Big Five” on this afternoon’s game drive, but we had a photo session with the most relaxed Black-backed Jackal I have ever seen. He lay in front of the car, yawned, walked in front of us, dug up some goodies to eat and finally went after another Jackal (probably of the opposite sex :-)).
We also had a fantastic sunrise this morning!
When I returned from a day in Richards Bay two male Cheetahs were greeting me at the gate guard house (These Cheetah are very used to the gate traffic and ignore the guard in the building – he is perfectly safe :-)).
And once I had returned to Thanda house two Zebra had a good fight in front of the fence (the “whitish” distortions in the picture).
Before the sun set a female Scarlet-breasted Sunbird was looking for food in one of the trees in front for my room.
There is never a dull moment on Thanda, even after a day in town!
This is the picture story of today’s evening game drive.
After leaving the camp we first encountered Giraffes with Oxpeckers on them.
We moved on to view a large group of Zebra.
Then we spotted an Elephant bull while we were looking for …
… the herd of Buffalo. The volunteers on my vehicle were most impressed when we were surrounded by one of the “Big Five”.
And while we were viewing the Buffalo we heard about a Cheetah sighting at a waterhole nearby.
After the Cheetah left we stayed until the sun was gone to take a few beautiful pictures of the sunset over the dam.
Another hard day in Africa 🙂
This small Elephant tried to impress us on today’s game drive. He behaved exactly like an adult bull, but in his case the gestures were rather comical than intimidating.
Enjoy the pictures!