Sabi Sands: February 2010 (Part 2)

Sabi Sands: February 2010 (Part 2)

This is the second episode of my long overdue trip report for this safari I enjoyed with my wife. We were up early on the 2nd day of our stay in Leopard Hills, and the anticipation was high was we headed out on our morning game drive.

Our first proper sighting was a small breeding herd of African Elephants. They allowed us quite close, which resulted in some interesting photographic opportunities.
Our first proper sighting was a small breeding herd of African Elephants. They allowed us quite close, which resulted in some interesting photographic opportunities.

We hit the road again after getting confirmation on the radio that a male leopard called Tekwaan male had been found moving in a drainage line. Every part of Africa has its own appeal – the wide open savanna of East Africa is awesome, but there’s something equally special to the dense bushveld of the South African Lowveld region.

The Tekwaan male leopard was proving quite elusive, after getting moving again the vehicles that were in the sighting lost him in the drainage line, and we had to do some searching of our own.

Through some clever prediction of the heading of the leopard as he was patrolling, our friend and guide Marius Coetzee stopped the vehicle in a dry riverbed and we waited in silence as he and his tracker scanned around.

Moments later, our quarry popped his head up immediately to our right, not 20 meters from our position.

We waited patiently, and Tekwaan moved down the embankment and into the riverbed.

Unfortunately for us, he proceeded to walk in front of our vehicle as we slowly followed along the sandy riverbed. Overtaking him would disturb him and we let him carry on his patrol. He stopped for a drink in a puddle in the river – which would have made for awesome photos from the front!!

I had to settle for some tail shots…
He finished his drink, turned around, and strolled into the thickets. The end of a riveting sighting, albeit not the best position for us in terms of photography…
We returned to the lodge for a scrumptious brunch on the deck overlooking the magnificently green bushveld…

I hope you enjoyed this post. Stay tuned for part 3, coming soon!

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!

Vanished - Megascops Choliba by Jose Garcia Allievi

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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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