Seeing as though Chad has taken a bit of leave, it was my turn this week to get out there to see what I could find. Now, let me begin by saying that it feels like it has ‘been a minute’ since I was last out there, what with Britt and myself welcoming our gorgeous baby boy, Lennon Masana (Sunray) Street to the world. So long in fact that I considered naming this blog post “A Week of Remembering How To Do My Job”. By the way, thank you all so much for the incredibly warm wishes and beautiful comments on Lennon’s Facebook and Instagram welcome posts. It was so nice for us to read through them all and we couldn’t be more appreciative of the love and support.
Right, let’s jump in! The week started off with a new and rather interesting landscape to explore and that would be a freshly burnt savannah. Like most ecosystem’s the savannah requires a good burn every decade or so, however because of the obvious investment in these areas today, it has become essentially impossible to let raging wildfires go wild through the Lowveld. So, this action is now done through what are called controlled burns – a vital form of conservation. These fires are important in the renewal of ground-level plants and successions, and also help to remove the build-up of fuel should a natural fire start unexpectedly. Even though it’s winter at the moment, there are already green shoots springing up everywhere! I did manage to find some wildebeest enjoying the ambience of the scorched veld one morning.
Shortly after finding the wildebeest basking in the burnt beauty, I came across a couple of lions. One of the Nharu males along with one of the River Pride females. The two cats seemed pretty happy just relaxing in cool morning breeze with their heads firmly flat. It was just my luck when a large elephant bull walked into the scene and got the attention of the slumbering felines. Quickly their heads popped up out of the grass and I was able to snap an image or two. The elephant wasn’t oblivious to the lion’s presence and stood around smelling the air trying to figure out where the lions just might be but after a while he decided he didn’t really care all that much and moved on, after all the real king of the jungle is most definitely the elephant.
The next day I decided to head out towards Machaton Dam in the hope of seeing some elephants coming down to drink. Its very typical at this time of year for the large pachyderms to go for a nice afternoon drink just as things get a bit warm. Well, I waited and waited and went through a range of emotions as I began to feel as if the elephants had let me down, maybe I was at the wrong watering hole or maybe it was me they were trying to avoid. As I sat on the bank of the dam trying to photograph several terrapins relaxing on a log, thinking about why the elephants weren’t coming, I heard a very faint rustle of grass behind me. Suddenly, elephants! Followed by me scurrying out of their path and back to my vehicle. Luckily they didn’t take much offence and proceeded to hit the water in a desperate attempt to rehydrate.
As usual, as fast as they get to the water, they seem to finish and with that the big herd slowly turned around and headed back the way they had come.
Later that afternoon I caught up with a bunch of baboons as the peacefully feed their way across and open plain. In fact, I even managed to film one of our new Sofa Safari Snippets while with the primates, so be sure to check that out on Sunday when it releases on YouTube. I always love spending time with baboons, I find them fascinating and just a joy to be around!
The next morning, I admittedly got going later than I was hoping (thanks baby Lennon), and sadly didn’t have to much success out there – after all not all of us are as lucky as Mr Cocking! However, I did see a few pretty things such as an African Hoopoe.
A cute little baby elephant also stopped by to give me a whiff.
And lastly, I disturbed a hyena having a nap behind a bush as I sat on the ground waiting for things to photograph at a watering hole.
All in all, I have nothing to complain about from the week. I got to get out there again and I got to feel that magical feeling that only Africa can give. Where your hair stands on the back of your neck as you think about just how gorgeous this place and just how amazingly it all fits together to form one all-encompassing and powerful entity. For those of you that have been here before, you know the feeling and for those of you that haven’t, we look forward to introducing you to it one day!
Thanks so much folks!
Until next time … happy snapping,
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