Close Call

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Well folks, to say it’s been a hectic busy month would be an understatement. Just look at the time span between this post and my previous post? The outrage!

Anyway – this is a quick recap of our last morning in the in December 2013.

Since we would be leaving the park on this day, I left Twee Rivieren early for a quick drive up the Nossob river towards Kij Kij and back, while my wife and kids slept in a bit and packed the rest of the small stuff in the chalet.

I found lions at Rooiputs waterhole – a small pride consisting of a lioness and 4 juveniles (males and a female). The lioness looked like she was nurturing a few wounds, no doubt picked up in a recent scrap.

They looked fairly relaxed at the outset but it was about to change.

Just as they were about to drink again, I spotted a big male lion approaching from further up the Nossob riverbed.

I initially thought he might be this pride’s male returning from his nightly patrol…but as soon as these lions at the waterhole caught scent/sound of the approaching male – they went into panic mode!

The lioness sprang to her feet and rushed up and scooted south in the riverbed (in the direction I came from), running at brisk pace to get away before being noticed by the approaching male.

The cubs followed suit…and I could somewhat piece together what had probably happened that night. He was definitely not their pride male!

This male must have been on their tracks for a while, he might even have been responsible for the gash on the lioness hind leg…why?

Who knows – perhaps because it’s his region and they are not his cubs? The lion family disappeared from view just as the male caught their scent – he knew something was up…

He moved around the area for a while before finally having the drink he came for, and moving into the dunes…

This was one of those sightings that didn’t deliver any outstanding photographs, but it was a very memorable moment of natural history and lion behaviour that I was able to witness.

The dynamics between different prids of lions is always full of tension and drama, and this morning I think the lioness and her family came off the better for it. It also leaves some questions.

Why were they alone and without a pride male?

Why were they afraid of this specific male?

Why was the large male alone, was he a nomad that had been dethroned from his pride?

Nature is fascinating. The Kalahari is fascinating.

You should make a plan to visit it!

 

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Morkel Erasmus

Morkel Erasmus

I used to relish writing these kinds of “bio” pieces and would flaunt the odd impressive word and use dashing grammar to make it sound like I am a boundary-shifting photographer. These days I prefer stating it in much simpler ways, much more relatable ways, much more believable ways… The fact of the matter is this: I love Africa. I love its people, its wild places and its wildlife. I love being immersed in these places, observing and photographing the fall of light on the land and the daily lives of the creatures that call it home, and presenting the results to whoever will take a look. To me, nature photography is all about being in the moment, and capturing that moment in a way that can relate to someone who didn’t have the privilege of being there with me. Sometimes I am able to capture a unique vision of the scene before me, and sometimes I just capture it the way most folks would according to classical photographic guidelines. Yet I always enjoy sharing the images and experiences and imparting the knowledge I have, both in-the-field and later online or in presentations, workshops and courses. I also just simply enjoy capturing and sharing the beauty of God's creation! The greatest thing I’ve found about wildlife and nature photography in Southern Africa is the unity and familiarity of the community of people that share this passion. We come from all walks of life and all cultures and backgrounds, yet our passion for our natural heritage and our dream to see it preserved for future generations binds strangers together and fuels conversations around campfires long after other people have run out of conversation and energy. Join me on a WildEye adventure to experience this sharing community spirit and learn to anticipate that fleeting moment and be ready for it, learn to immerse yourself in the experience without losing focus of your photographic goals…and above all, learn to see Africa anew… because there are none as blind as those who look but do not see!

Morkel Erasmus

Morkel Erasmus

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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