South Africa - 2019

In search of the elusive leopard.
2 nights at Kruger National Park followed by a night at Sabie Sands private nature reserve.
Mother and baby rhino  South Africa is home to more than 80% of the world's rhinos, and most of the poaching takes place here at Kruger National Park. August 30, 2019 Baboons playing agains the sun  The baboon, is a truculent, cunning and intelligent animal that will eat almost anything, including small mammals and birds. Here, they are playing under the morning sunrise. August 30, 2019 The beautiful giant of the Kruger.  The Elephant is the world's largest land mammal, and weighs up to 7 tonnes and reaches heights of 3.3 m at the shoulder. Elephants can live to a potential age of 70 years. Kruger National Park - august 30, 2019 Who's watching who ?  Grazers, like buffalo, depend on the grass for their nutrition while browsers, like the giraffe, have a diet based around leaves.  Kruger National Park - August 30, 2019
Vervet monkey  Vervet monkeys are social animals that live mostly in trees in groups of between 15 and 30; often warn other animals of impending danger. Kruger National Park - August 30, 2019 Lions quenching their thirst  Lions are the biggest, and most social, of the African cats, living communally in prides. Pride leadership often shifts between several individual animals - male and female - but the social structure of the pride hinges around the bond between related lionesses, who collaborate in all tasks, from raising cubs to hunting. Kruger National Park - August 30, 2019 Hippos, crocs and impala's sharing a water hole.  Hippo favour deep pools of slow-moving water, and along the Sabie River there are several well-known pools that they have occupied for many years. Kruger National Park - August 30, 2019 Impala's  Most numerous impala's in the Park with over 130 000 adults at any one time; grazers and browsers; only rams have horns, they weigh up to 80kg. Kruger National Park - August 30, 2019
A Glossy Starling  A Glossy Starling, noisy, colourful and conspicuous, the glossy starling feeds on insects, fruit and aloe nectar. Kruger National Park - August 30, 2019 Yellowbilled Hornbill  This is a common bird that often gathers at picnic sites. During its breeding season in summer, the female is sealed inside a nest in a hollow tree with only a narrow slit for an opening.  Kruger National Park - August 30, 2019 Yellowbilled Hornbill  Food is passed into the nest by the male Yellowbilled Hornbill, who spends much of the day catching insects to feed the female. Kruger National Park - August 30, 2019 Impala's not scared of the crocs.  Graceful in movement, impalas can leap over a three-metre fence and can run in bursts of up to 80km/h; favoured prey of many predators. Kruger National Park - August 30, 2019
Yellowbilled Stork  A Yellowbilled Stork catching food at a waterhole inside Kruger National Park - August 30, 2019 Lion  Lions have always had an association with royalty and leadership. Their power is reflected in their impressive size and the fact that their lifestyles allow them to sleep a lot - up to 18 hours a day. Kruger National Park - August 30, 2019 Lions near the Sabie River  Lions are the biggest, and most social, of the African cats, living communally in prides.  Kruger National Park - August 31, 2019 Hippos  The Hippo is a massive, semi-aquatic mammal with a mass of up to 2,5 tonnes. It is able to walk under water on the river bed, and can remain submerged for five minutes. Kruger National Park - August 30, 2019
A family of Elephants  An elephant can draw 17 litres of water at a time. During winter, elephant are usually concentrated within six kilometres of water and drink on average every two days, consuming between 180 and 400 litres per visit. Kruger National Park - August 31, 2019 Zebras posing for a picture.  Zebra and wildebeest appear to have a close social relationship, and of all the grazers appear most prone to seasonal migration. Long-term patterns in Kruger show that these animals generally migrate southwards towards the Sabie River for winter. Kruger National Park - August 31, 2019 Mother and baby  A giraffe's height - up to 5,5m - makes it physically difficult for this animal to drink and sleep. Giraffes, therefore, usually sleep standing up, although they do lie down on occasion. Kruger National Park - August 30, 2019 Leopards  Leopards are the least social - and perhaps the most beautiful - of the African big cats. They usually keep to themselves, lurking in dense riverine bush or around rocky koppies, emerging to hunt late in the afternoon or at night. This giant leopard was spotted using a beam in search of big game. Kruger National Park - August 31, 2019
African sunset  It’s often said that African sunrises and sunsets are the best in the world and I certainly agree ! Kruger National Park by sunset - August 30, 2019 One of the Big Five  The Elephant's trunk is a modified nose which is very sensitive and can even detect water under ground. There are as many as 50 000 muscles in an Elephant trunk. Kruger National Park - August 31, 2019 Martial Eagle  The large Martial Eagle catch a wide variety of prey including guineafowl, ducks, small antelope, hares and reptiles.  Kruger National Park - August 31, 2019 A group of Elephants  Mature males form bachelor groups and become solitary bulls. Elephant form strong family units of cows, calves and young offspring. Such herds are always led by an old female.  Kruger National Park - August 31, 2019
Unidentified Heron  I found this a beautiful natural pool with the unidentified heron in the foreground - Kruger National Park - August 31, 2019 Hyena relaxing  Almost all hyaenas in Kruger are the spotted hyaena. They are found throughout Kruger and the best places to see them are south-west Okavango, Savuti and Linyanti. Kruger National Park - August 31, 2019 Beautiful striped Impalas  Impalas are mostly seen at open savanna grassland but also common in mixed woodlands throughout the Kruger National Park. August 31, 2019 A trio of Buffalos  As an adult can weigh more than 750 kilograms, buffalo comprise a quarter of Kruger's total biomass, or live weight of animals. Kruger National Park - August 31, 2019
Ground Hornbill  The Ground Hornbill is an intriguing and rare bird that weighs up to four kilograms. It is reluctant to fly, and groups range in size from two to eight birds. It may be seen foraging on the ground for reptiles, frogs, snails and small mammals.  Kruger National Park - August 31, 2019 Antelope  There are 72 antelope species in Africa, of which 21 are found in Kruger. Kruger National Park - August 31, 2019 Kudu  A male Kudu have large spiralled horns, weigh up to 300kg and stand 1,5m at the shoulder; females don't have horns; both have white stripes down their grey flanks; mainly browsers favouring bushwillow and acacia species; approximately 5 000 in Kruger - including Sabie Sands Reserve. August 31, 2019 Rhino chasing  Mother and baby rhino face to face. Sabie Sands Private Reserve - August 31, 2019
Sunset safari  With the girls gang on a sunset safari at Sabie Sands Private Reserve - August 31, 2019 A Giraffe cross the sand track  Wildlife viewing in Sabi Sands is at its best during the Dry season (June to September). August and September are particularly nice, since it is warmer than in mid-winter and animals tend to gather at water sources, making them easier to spot. Sabie Sands National Reserve - August 31, 2019 Curious looking giraffe  Some Kruger experts believe that a giraffe sleeps for only about 24 minutes in a 24-hour period ! Giraffe have loose social structures and herds can vary in size - even on a daily basis.  In Kruger, the average herd size is less than 20 individuals. August 31, 2019 Elephants taking a bath  Apart from drinking large quantities of water, elephants also love wading or swimming in pools or riverbeds. Elephants clearly relish mud baths. Kruger National Park - August 31, 2019
Leopard  The leopard is a graceful animal with an elongated body, relatively short legs and a long tail. After the lion, it is the next-biggest African cat with an average body mass of between 60kg and 70kg, standing about two-thirds of a metre tall at the shoulder. Sabie Sands Private Reserve - September 1, 2019 Leopard at Sabie Sands  The leopard's hunting technique is to either ambush its prey or to stalk it. In either instance, it tries to get as close as possible to its target. It then makes a brief and explosive charge (up to 60km/h), pouncing on its prey and dispatching it with a bite to the neck.  Sabie Sands Private Reserve - September 1, 2019 Sunrise at Sabie Sands  The sunrise at Sabie Sands promising for yet another beautiful day in South Africa - September 1, 2019 Sunset  A sunset above Kruger National Park - August 31, 2019
A beautiful leopard  Leopards are highly adaptable creatures, capable of living in semi-desert conditions as well as dense subtropical bush.  Sabie Sands Private Reserve - September 1, 2019 Guarding leopard  I'm proud to say that among the 11-headed game-drive participants, I was the one spotting this beautiful creature on the morning of september 1 at Sabie Sands Private Reserve, not far from Umkumbe Lodge. After closer observation, we noticed that this leopard had 2 cubs of which we estimated just about 6 weeks old. Unfortunately, I do not have pictures but I do have some video footage (see the video Out of Africa on this website). A beautiful animal  I came to South Africa, and in perticular to Sabie Sands with one goal : photographing a leopard. You can imagine how proud I was that I spotted this beautiful cat. Sabie Sands Private Reserve - September 1 - 2019 A quintet of birds relaxing  White rhino require a reliable supply of water, both for drinking (every two to three days). In Kruger National Park, 85 per cent of the white rhino population occurs in the Southern Region, where rainfall is higher than average and water holes are evenly distributed.  Sabie Sands Nature Reserve - September 1, 2019
A leopard at night  No flash was used to shoot this image as the leopard cross the road in front of the headlights of our vehicle. Kruger National Park - August 31, 2019