Tag Archives: Nature

Elephants on the Move

I took a lot less pictures on our safari then I thought I would — which was a good thing.

On our first game drive, we exited the area in which our lodge was located, and promptly saw a group of elephants. All the while the elephants ate, I took a number of pictures. Eventually I slowed down my picture-taking, and then I stopped and just enjoyed the elephants.

I suppose a better photographer would keep shooting away, but I wanted to enjoy nature. It turned out to be a good thing, because we would see elephants several times throughout our stay, and many times in better light, closer experiences or, in the case of our final encounter, the elephant came up and sniffed the hat off of our tracker. Cool stuff.

During our stay, we came upon a watering hole that was the place to be, apparently. We watched a herd of elephants drink up and head out, just as another group came over the hill to also get water. (In the picture above, there is a tiny baby elephant that was adorable to watch.  He was still learning to master his trunk, so it was fun to watch him suck up water, only to mostly miss his mouth when he tried to drink it.) As we sat, birds and Kudus came up to get drinks, as well.

These experiences would become my favorite part of our game drives: sitting and watching nature for a long period of time.  Eventually, I’ll get to the story of how we sat for a half-an-hour, helping a leopard get acclimated to his surroundings, but in the meantime, quietly sitting and watching elephants do their thing was pretty remarkable, as well.

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On our first safari in South Africa we were motoring around in the Range Rover, looking for whatever wildlife we could find.  As we were rumbling along on some trails, we scared a small deer-like animal from the underbrush and it fled in terror of our vehicle.  As we approached the area where the small animal was hiding in the brush, we saw a leopard who had been lying in wait.

Apparently we interrupted its dinner plans.

So, an adult female leopard (named Nottens) gave up her hiding place and set out in search of other potential food. We followed her through the brush, and our guide recognized she was heading towards and opening where a large group of impalas (more deer-like animals) were milling about.

Nottens crouched low in the grass and waited for her chance.

About this time the impalas split into two groups. A few went a direction away from the hiding leopard, while the majority blindly wandered directly into the leopard’s vicinity.  With lightning speed the leopard jumped into action, scattering the impalas.  With one of it’s giant paws, the leopard grabbed a fleeing impala from mid-air and dragged it to the ground.  Dinner time.

The above picture is of Nottens, as she moved from her original hiding spot to her new location near the impalas.

August 2011. (3808)

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