South Africa: The Best of the Bush in Late August

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The first heat has hit and the knobthorns are flowering and the first Wahlberg’s eagles have been sighted, a sure sign that winter is coming to an end. Although I am excited to once again be driving through verdant green hillsides and have all the migrant bird species back, I can’t say I won’t miss winter. The chill of the early mornings and the mist hanging low in the valleys are two of my favourite things about the bush.


It’s not over yet though, and there is still a nip in the air in the mornings. The wildlife in South Africa continues to impress, so while we await the first rains in a month or two, enjoy this photo journey.


The male cheetah surveys his domain. Will he and the female mate again and have more cubs? We are hopeful, as both have been spending time in similar areas.


An elephant bull snatches a quick drink as he crosses the Sand River to rejoin his herd.


This hooded vulture had landed to investigate the scene of a Sparta Pride kill. Finding nothing left, he didn’t mind when one of the Majingilane moved in and forced him into the air again.


The second youngest hyena at the newest den site gets bullied by some of the older cubs while its mother lies nonchalantly by.


Getting a nasty nip one too many times, it sought solace next to her.


An amazing little frog. Unfortunately its eyes are slightly out of focus, owing to the shallow depth of field I had on the Macro lens


The Makhotini male was found in the deep south recently. He hasn’t been seen for awhile in these parts, and reports from the south of the reserve, as well as a big cut on his lip and nose, tell of a territorial confrontation with another big male leopard not so long ago.


Although it might seem insensitive, this little elephant calf provided us with great amusement when it mock charged us on the banks of the Maxabene River, displaying as much bravado as it could muster, but when it descended onto the sand to follow its mother, it tripped immediately and fell headfirst. Here it flails about while trying to get back to its feet


The Tutlwa female stands over the Gowrie male. She has been mating with him recently, deep in the territory of the Nanga female.


The Nanga female and one of her cubs. Our worst fears could be realised, as we believe one of the cubs may have been killed by the Tutlwa female.

Cheetah, vantage point, sunset. A winning photographic combination.


He looks west towards the Drakensberg and the setting sun, probably looking to settle down for the night.


The rains will be here in a month or two, and mud-baths will be the order of the day instead of dustbaths for the elephants.


The Marthly male winds his lonely way through his territory. How long can he hold out against the continuous pressure from the Gowrie male?


These are from a few months ago, as you can probably tell from the green grass, but I was looking at them today and wondering how long it will be before we see the Tamboti female giving birth again? Here she lies with her recently independent youngster in the foreground.


Same setting, different focus. The cub looks back (notice the swollen tick above her eye) while the mother snoozes.

Photographed by James Tyrrell

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