Windy conditions in the African wild can make leopards go quiet for a few days. The wind puts the herbivores on the alert as sounds and smells get confused, whilst waving grass and bushes makes spotting predators difficult. The leopards respond by keeping largely to cover. Southern African at its best.
Above: Dew drops sparkle one morning on a sickle-bush spine. f2.8, 1/2500, ISO 2500
The dark-maned Majingilane on the prowl. His breath fogging up in the cool morning air, he was on the scent of a female, who’s tracks headed west into the Sand River. f2.8, 1/6400, ISO 1000
The Maxabene 3:3 young male leopard (now renamed the Makhotini male) feasts off an impala in the deep south. A higher number of hyenas in the area pressurizes leopards to hoist their kills, while the reduced numbers in the central areas due to the Majingilane onslaught has meant that leopards can get away with keeping their kills on the ground for longer. f5, 1/500, ISO 1250.
Two impala rams lock horns in a particularly violent contest, after the most intense time of the rut has already past. f5, 1/4000, ISO 640
Crested francolins joust in the morning light, most likely vying for the attentions of a female. f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 640
A serious set of tusks makes one realise why predators will think twice about taking on a large male warthog such as this one. The lower tusks, combined with a very dense lower jawbone and clearly visible here, are the seriously dangerous ones. f3.5, 1/500, ISO 320
The Mashaba female early one morning moves across Fluffies clearing with the rising sun in the background. Sightings like this are truly special as leopards tend to favour dense vegetation and cover, so seeing them in the open like this is a rare privilege. f4, 1/500, ISO 1600
The cub of the Mashaba female leopard stares up at a knobthorn tree. As her mother was fast disappearing into a nearby bushwillow thicket, she decided against a morning climb, and trotted off after her. f3.5, 1/800, ISO 800
Dwarf mongooses change their sleeping place almost every night. They move from dead logs to termite mounds and back again, but this was the first time I had seen any climbing a tree. At least 10 individuals scaled this Tamboti tree to squeeze into what appeared to be only a very small hole, visible just above the top mongoose. f4, 1/500, ISO 1000
An enormous water monitor tastes the air with his tongue. The flicking in and out of some lizard and snake species is actually their way of smelling, collecting tiny particles from the air and then analyzing them with a special organ in their palate into which they insert their tongue tips. f5, 1/1000, ISO 1000
Some red-billed oxpeckers take a bath. It is often the micro dramas that offer the most valuable game-viewing experience. a gang of 10 or so buffalo bulls was standing idly round this pan, not doing anything in particular, and it was the oxpeckers that were by far the most fun to watch. f10, 1/200, ISO 160
Processionary caterpillars. They have been emerging in ever-increasing numbers over the past couple of weeks, and as the amazing lines that they form can from a distance look just like sticks lying across the road, one has to keep a sharp eye out to avoid squashing one or two. f6.3, 1/125, ISO 500
My absolute favourite bird, the diminutive Scops owl. This beatiful little specimen was perched low down in a tamboti tree near Finfoot crossing and was quite happy with us having a view of him from scarcely 3m away. f2.8, 1/400, ISO 800
Photographed by James Tyrrell