After some fantastic wildlife spotting and photography, including pursuit of a leopardess on a stalk some thirty minutes earlier, we returned to Big Nigrescens where I shot this image and a few others in the pitch blackness of a warm African night.
Sometimes it is good to go back through older images with fresh eyes and see if there is anything which was captured and forgotten, but which has potential to be a great image.
The other day I went back through my shots of Rockfig Jr, a magnificent female leopard we encountered in the Timbavati region of greater Kruger National Park during our trip to South Africa in October of 2012.
While I have a similar profile of Rockfig Jr, I thought this second version was worth publishing:
I cannot wait to head back to Africa to surround myself with incredible wildlife, and capture more images of the ever-elusive leopards. Hopefully we will do so in 2014…
On this day last year, we were in the African wilderness, on the final day of our magical photographic safari in Motswari Private Game Reserve.
It has been a while since I posted an image from that trip, so here is a new image of one of the magnificent Jacaranda Pride lionesses we encountered on a morning game drive in the Timbavati.
Seeing images like this and others from my collection, as well as remembering what we were doing and the magical sensory overload we experienced on that trip a year ago, makes me want to go back there and experience it again.
We are still keen on heading back to Africa in 2014 and have some planning to do, so perhaps at this time next year, I will be writing about what we are doing in Africa rather than what we did a year ago.
It has been a while since I posted an image I captured during our epic African safari adventures in October of 2012.
I still have quite a few images from that trip to publish.
I thought it was time for some leopard love, so here is Makepisi male, a resident of the Timbavati region of South Africa.
This was our second encounter with Makepisi male, 48 hours after we first met him, and in almost the exact same spot.
On the first encounter, he was perched on top of a mound, resting and soaking in the last rays of the sun for the day.
Here, he was also resting and soaking in the afternoon sun before a long night of hunting impala.
It has been a while since a leopard turned up ’round these parts, so here is another tight view of Rockfig Jr female, a stunning leopardess who inhabits the Motswari Private Nature Reserve in the Timbavati region of greater Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga province, South Africa.
We had a fantastic morning with Rockfig Jr, and she was all too happy to sit and look stunning as we snapped away.
We have been back from Africa for over two months now, but it has taken a while for Xenedette to get around to working with her images.
With a little help today, Xenedette has made her African wildlife photography début on 500px, with the upload of her first image — a stunning portrait of Makepisi male, the first leopard we encountered on our very first game drive in the Motswari Private Game Reserve in the Timbavati region of greater Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga province, South Africa.
Here is Xenedette’s portrait of Makepisi:
Please visit her image at 500px and show some love.
During our time in South Africa, and in the Motswari Private Game Reserve in particular, I shot so many images, and even now, barely over two months since we were there, I am still processing and uploading images.
While I have detailed our adventures in the Timbavati here on this blog, in some cases I have not had images ready, and as many photographers know, sometimes an image’s potential only becomes realised some time after having captured it.
Given that I have published a few more images since I verbally and pictorially recalled our adventures, I thought it would be a nice opportunity to provide a few photographic highlights that were previously missed.
So, here are ten photographic highlights, in order of capture.
1. Eye of the Leopard
The title Eye of the Leopard is homage to the awesome National Geographic documentary of the same name, shot by Beverly and Dereck Jouvert, featuring the life of Legadema, a young leopard in the Okavango Delta in Botswana.
The leopard in my image is Makepisi (which means “hat” in Shangaan). I captured this image of a stunning leopard on the first game drive we took in the Motswari Private Game Reserve, which is located within the Timbavati region of greater Kruger Park in Mpumalanga province, South Africa.
Makepisi was the very first wild leopard we encountered.
We spent quite a nice time in close proximity to Makepisi, watching, photographing and videoing him.
I also shot video footage of Makepisi.
2. Leopard of the Night
A magical sighting of Makepisi male leopard at night on our first night of our African safari adventure in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, greater Kruger Park, South Africa.
As the light fell, Petros, our tracker, brought out the spotlight so we could continue to view and photograph Makepisi as the sun set over a beautiful African savannah landscape in Mpumalanga province.
We saw Makepisi twice during the trip, and he is a special leopard we will always remember.
3. Spotted Hyena
One of the few hyena sightings we had during our stay in the Timbavati.
The spotted hyena is a predatory carnivore which inhabits the bushveld. It loves to steal the kills made by lions and leopards, and will even terrorise leopards in order to steal their kills.
4. I Spy with My Little Eye
Around 15 minutes after we encountered Rockfig Jr female during our second game drive in the Motswari Private Game Reserve, something caught her attention.
Rockfig Jr got up from the termite mound on which she was resting, and headed over to a thicket, where she keenly watched a bachelor warthog which we had also seen, and which was perhaps 50 to 100 metres away.
There was a possibility that Rockfig Jr would attack the warthog and provide herself a nice breakfast, but instead, she sat watching intently.
She soon returned and came extremely close to us. At one point she was less than two metres behind our open-top Land Rover. I was perched in the rear part of the vehicle, and it was the closest I had ever been to a leopard.
5. Stare of the Wildbeest
This was one of the earliest sightings of wildebeest in the Motswari Private Game Reserve.
Two male impala engaging in sparring. These two were not at war, but were engaging in play-battle. Were a dominant male to encounter an invading male, there would be a much more intense battle for dominance.
7. Giraffe Grazing
Africa’s tallest mammal, munching on some delicious leaves.
8. Timbavati Queen
One of the two Jacaranda Pride lionesses we encountered on the morning of our third day of our safari in the Motswari Private Game Reserve.
9. Ximpoko Yawn
It was early in the evening when we had encountered the Ximpoko male lions of the Timbavati, who had of recent times been causing quite a stir in the region.
After a long, hot day resting, the Ximpoko males were still somewhat tired and prone to sleeping.
At one stage, this particular lion yawned, and I captured it.
A short time later, the two nomads got up, wandered over to another spot up the river bank and settled for a little more rest before the long night that lay ahead for them.
While we had a few elephant sightings during our time in the Timbavati, I have not published many images of elephants.
It can be hard to photograph them in clean surroundings, but this image had a cuteness factor which warranted publication.
On our final game drive in the Motswari Private Game Reserve on the morning of 7 October, 2012, we were in off-road in very thick, dry scrub, surrounded by a breeding herd of elephants.
I counted at least 11 elephants that I could see (although there were probably more); and amongst these, there were a few juveniles.
I was fortunate enough to capture this little guy reaching for some delicious leaves and twigs.