It’s 6 January 2016…early in the morning. The sun has just risen, and we spent its rising with a lioness close to the Rooiputs waterhole in the
Kalahari desert, more specifically, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park that straddles the borders of South Africa and Botswana.
South Africa is experiencing a heat wave of sweaty proportions – normal summer temperatures here average around 45C, and this week it’s been up to 54C most days…in the shade. As we drove out of camp it was already 26C, pre-dawn.
Suddenly I spot a dark shape moving purposefully along the dry Nossob riverbed. Honey Badger!!
If you don’t know what honey badgers are, they are pretty much the roughest, toughest buggers in the African bush.
Anyhow, finding a honey badger on a trip to the Kalahari is a special treat, and this early in the morning! We follow him as he scrounges around, digging for grub in the loose Kalahari sand. “Nothing here…”
“How about here? I smell something!”
Promptly the badger dug up a small leopard tortoise! Right next to our vehicle (and we were the only people there).
The prey in itself brought its own set of challenges – how to break through the shell? A tough nut to crack…
What followed is a lengthy process of the dexterous badger working his prey until he was able to pierce the shell of the tortoise, and get to the good stuff inside. Yes, it’s sad for the tortoise, but it’s the circle of life and it was fascinating to get to watch this “nutcracker” at work.
Suffice to say that the badger eventually got through the carapace of the tortoise.
That wasn’t the end of the morning’s activity, though!As we are watching the badger feeding, my wife notices that there are two lionesses and two lion cubs walking by behind the badger…talk about a Kalahari double whammy!
Let’s leave the lions for another day – as they kept us busy for the rest of the morning.I hope you enjoyed seeing these photos!We have some video too – might edit and release it soon.Keep well.
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Since picking up a DSLR camera for the first time, a little over 3 years ago, Morkel has been invigorated with an unbridled passion for the photographic art form. He has grown at a tremendous pace and put immense energy into the creation of his images. He absolutely loves spending time in the wild places of his native Southern Africa. From a young age he has been visiting legendary wildlife and outdoor locations, including the Kruger Park National Park and the Drakensberg Mountains, with his family. Now that he has found a way to share the natural beauty of his homeland with the rest of the world he is regularly out on photography trips. An Industrial Engineer by profession, and an accomplished artist in genres like music and poetry, Morkel has always enjoyed whatever allows him to express his creativity to the fullest. Photography turned out to be the perfect "marriage" between his engineering brain and artistic soul. "I hope that in some way I can raise awareness through my imagery of the plight of not only our wildlife but also the fragility of the last remaining wilderness areas that they call home.” Morkel was recently honoured for his commitment to his craft by receiving a "Highly Commended" for one of his images in the 2010 BBC Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. He is based in Mpumalanga, South Africa and even though he prefers going on safari with his family and friends, Morkel also leads the odd photographic safari and has recently begun presenting workshops in post-processing techniques.
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