2018-07-16: Monochrome Monday

A cheetah family portrait to start the week.  There’s always one looking in the wrong direction… 🙂

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A family of cheetah huddle together on a blustery afternoon on the Phinda Game Reserve in South Africa.  May, 2017.

2018-05-14: Monochrome Monday

Just a giraffe popping in to wish you an excellent week ahead.

 

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We were parked at the top of a hill for coffee when a giraffe suddenly popped into view, walking up one of the slopes.  Phinda Game Reserve, May 2017.

2017-08-08: Phinda Game Reserve

After my time in Botswana, we finished out our trip at three different camps in South Africa.  All were places we had visited previously and liked so much we wanted to return to experience them again.

Travelling from the Okavango Delta to the Durban area in South Africa is pretty much a full day event.  We didn’t have time for a morning game drive, so we had an early breakfast and took a leisurely 1 1/2 hour drive to the airstrip that was being used by Machaba while the local strip was flooded.  From camp we flew to Maun, onwards to Johannesburg and then finally into Durban, arriving around 9pm.  Rather than take another flight, we had a driving transfer from Durban to Phinda, around a 2 1/2 hour drive, that left our hotel around 10 the next morning.

Arriving at Vlei lodge, we were greeted like family with welcoming hugs from Kathryn, the camp manager (whom we had also met during our previous stay).  We also had a chance to reconnect with the wonderful chef Happiness, who even asked us for our favourite items from the previous stay, so she could make sure they were on the menu during our visit.

Unlike the lodges we visited later that were adjacent to Kruger, Phinda is a fully fenced reserve, and as such have taken the difficult decision to de-horn the rhino population in an effort to curb poaching.  With horns or without, rhino are such impressive creatures to come across.  It is just so sad that it has come to this in order to keep them safe.  Like the properties in both Namibia and Botswana, Phinda had received an abundance of rain during the rainy season, after several years of rather severe drought.  The abundance of food and water meant that general game were much more scattered, and often the game drives were quite for periods when we didn’t see any animals around.  We did have one epic morning drive though filled with fun elephant encounters as well as several groups of rhino.

Phinda is definitely a good place to go if you are interested in seeing cheetah.  We saw 6 different cheetah during our stay, including a mom with 3 cubs.

Here are a few of my images from my recent visit to Phinda.  If you are interested, you can find some from my previous visit here and here.

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A nightjar spotted by our guide Dumi on the way back to camp one evening.  This was the first time I had a chance to photograph one of these birds.  As with anything, a bit more practice required!
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We spotted this herd of zebra, along with a large number of wildebeest on an afternoon game drive.  It was a very blustery day, and the herd seemed quite on edge.
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This group of five de-horned white rhino just wasn’t interested in cooperating and facing the same way for a photograph.
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We spent time with a breeding herd at the water hole on a morning game drive.  
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Close encounters of the elephant variety!  This guy was on route to the water hole, and wasn’t about to let our driving on the road slow down his pace.
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We found these cheetah cubs and their mother later on the windy afternoon.  They too were on edge and on high alert.
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Our first afternoon game drive, we came across three lionesses wandering down the road.
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Being investigated by one of the elephants at the watering hole.
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A yellow-throated long claw found on a foggy morning game drive.
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Drink in hand and a full moon rising.  This was a lovely break on what was otherwise a rather quiet game drive, where we saw only a few small groups of general game like impala and zebra.

 

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2015-10-12: Monochrome Monday

Mama cheetah alternates between scanning the surroundings and having a rest on the road, while her 3 cubs laze away the late afternoon nearby. Phinda Game Reserve, May 2015. 1/320sec, f5.6, ISO 1250
Mama cheetah alternates between scanning the surroundings and having a rest on the road, while her 3 cubs laze away the late afternoon nearby.
Phinda Game Reserve, May 2015.
1/320sec, f5.6, ISO 1250

CEE’S WHICH WAY CHALLENGE 2015 WEEK #33

Everyone should have figured out by now – I absolutely love photographing African animals!

For the which way challenge this week, a selection of animals blocking the way.

A group of male nyala block the winding way forward. Phinda Private Game Reserve, May 2015. 1/160sec, f8.0, ISO 4500
A group of male nyala block the winding way forward.
Phinda Private Game Reserve, May 2015.
1/160sec, f8.0, ISO 4500
A mom and three young cheetah cubs block the road (as does a zebra, farther off in the distance). Phinda Private Game, May 2015 1/250sec, f7.1, ISO 1000
A mom and three young cheetah cubs block the road (as does a zebra, farther off in the distance).
Phinda Private Game, May 2015
1/250sec, f7.1, ISO 1000
A crash of rhino at a bend in the road. Phinda Private Game Reserve, May 2015 1/320sec, f5.6, ISO 640
A crash of rhino at a bend in the road.
Phinda Private Game Reserve, May 2015
1/320sec, f5.6, ISO 640

CEE’S WHICH WAY CHALLENGE

Phinda Game Reserve

I spent an amazing few days at Phinda recently, and was lucky enough to not only have a fabulous ranger and tracker team to work with, but also got along brilliantly with the other guests on the vehicle.  I have so many photos to go though when I get home; some of the highlights included some of the tiniest babies I have had the pleasure of seeing in the bush (elephant and rhino), spending time with two families of lions, a mother with 3 cheetah cubs, 3 older cheetah brothers, and some really cool eagle sightings.  I’d still rather be outside than on the computer, so here are just a few of the special moments from Phinda.

I asked Dave to find me an owl if possible during my stay - he said give me 15 minutes (at 4 in the afternoon).  About 20 minutes later he and Thoks found this adorable sleeping southern white faced owl.
I asked Dave to find me an owl if possible during my stay – he said give me 15 minutes (at 4 in the afternoon). About 20 minutes later he and Thoks found this adorable sleeping southern white faced owl.
3 cheetah brothers lounging on a termite mound at sunset.
3 cheetah brothers lounging on a termite mound.
Look between the leader’s front legs, and you will see a tiny elephant calf 🙂 Quite possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen.
I had two opportunities to photograph lions at night with red filters.  I am looking forward to the black and white conversions when I get home.
I had two opportunities to photograph lions at night with red filters. I am looking forward to the black and white conversions when I get home.
We spotted Mom and and the cubs late one evening, and came back in the morning to view.  Sadly, in the night the mom had lost one of the cubs, leaving her with the 3 seen here.
We spotted Mom and the cubs late one evening, and came back in the morning to view. Sadly, in the night the mom had lost one of the cubs, leaving her with the 3 seen here.
The young lions were far more interested in getting up than the adults.
The young lions were far more interested in getting up than the adults.
The resident genet at Phinda, hanging around the dining area at night, hoping someone will drop something tasty.  They call her Genet Jackson.
The resident genet at Phinda, hanging around the dining area at night, hoping someone will drop something tasty. They call her Genet Jackson.