Spotting the movement of this caracal crossing a track between the bounding vegetation. I dropped immediately to the ground. Sheltered behind the grass, I started taking bursts of photos… Keeping as still as I could.
The cat could not work out just what was that had moved to its right. It sat staring at me, through me it seemed ….
…with the camera shutter already set to silent (my standard setting), I shot 74 frames before this beautiful cat stood up, and then walked off out of sight.
The blood stains on his jowls and whiskers reveal this large male leopard had fed recently. He was seeking out a safe spot to rest up in the summer heat. Close to the Shingwedzi River, Kruger National Park
Nikon D850, 400mm 2.8E FL Nikkor
South of Sirheni on the famous Mphongolo Loop road.
Within half an hour north of sighting a herd of Roan antelope along the S48 road, Kruger National Park, we met a herd of tsessebe, totalling at least 10 individuals.
The tsessebes are a species group of which I am especially fond; I spent many months of research revising the species complex to describe the Bangweulu Tsessebe, Damaliscus superstes 2003 – endemic to northeast Zambia. Its range is contained south and east of Chambeshi and Luombwa rivers, respectively; where this endemic species depends entirely on the seasonally flooded margins of the vast Bangweulu Swamps.
Alongside photographing representative individuals, I examined all available museum collections (N America. Europe and southern Africa. Several of these specimens wore the names of distinguished collectors, including F C Selous. No surprises the Mammal Collection I was curating back then, in The Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe, Bulawayo had the largest series of Southern Tsessebe in any museum – comprising most of the grand total of 145 specimens (I could find). These had been collected since Burchell shot the holotype near Kuruman in the early 1820s. Fortunately, the specimens had been preserved for science and conservation. Many are from localities, where most large mammals were later extirpated. Tsessebe are extinct in MozambiqueNikon Z7, 500 f5.6E PF Nikkor
A small herd we met during the heat of the day – south of Mopani Camp, Kruger National Park
D850 with 400 f2.8E FL Nikkor and TC17 II
Kudu cow focuses her ears for any hint of danger. This kudu paused under a sapling to gaze fixedly at us in the vehicle; then she turned to re-join her companions in the mopane scrub.
Nikon Z7, Nikkor 500mm f5.6E PF
A massive Crocodile submerges beneath the meniscus of its refuge – a deep, dark pool incised into Karoo sandstones
Tsendze river, Kruger National Park
Nikon Z7, 400mm f2.8E FL Nikkor + TC2E III
This was one of two large Nile crocodiles basking motionless in the late afternoon sun, on the west bank of a dark, still pool in the Tsendze River.
The largest croc decided to return to its aquatic refuge, and submerged silently into the pool without a splash. The side lighting and blurred vegetation augments the atmosphere of the scene. The clawed foot, heavily armoured scutes, its massiveness, with reflecting teeth croc underscore the menacing presence of these remarkable predators – a fascinating evolutionary success story.
The first ancestors of modern crocodiles originated in the Mesozoic (Late Triassic – Jurassic), and they occurred across the southern continents then conjoined as Gondwanaland. The Tsendze river has incised Karoo sandstones (Stormberg Formation of Jurassic age) laid down in Gondwana times.