Perseverance and passion determine good photo ops…We’ve got plenty of both!…

This was a “tower” or “journey” of the eight giraffes who made their way to the only paved road in Marloth.  Note the eighth giraffe is to the far right in this photo.
“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”
This little mongoose was the lucky one of many and got to eat the raw eggs.  Notice egg dripping off her/his mouth. 

Based on the numbers of new photos we post each day, it may appear all we have to do is sit back and wait for wildlife to come to us.  Sometimes, it’s that easy for many of us in Marloth Park and while visiting wildlife-rich national parks.

This was the scene that frightened Ms. Kudu while standing in our yard, causing her to thunder off.

However, photos such as those we’ve recently posted from Kruger National Park and through the electrified fence between Marloth Park and Kruger required an eagle’s eye and the patience to wait for the exact right moment.  It’s not as if the wildlife is waiting there for our arrival. 

They make their way through a path they’d obviously used in the past.  There are countless such paths in the bush that many animals use.

Most animals are continually on the move foraging and hunting for their next meal.  They rarely remain in one location for any length of time as the resources become scarce after a while.  Hunger (and thirst) is a huge motivator for them to move along.

They moved so rapidly we’d never been able to keep up on foot.

Speaking of thirst, we’ve discovered many animals only need water from time to time while others must find water almost daily.  Those that consume a huge portion of their diet from consuming leaves on trees and plants, generally receive a good portion of their water needs from that vegetation.

This fact is not unlike humans.  We’ve been “told” by the media that we must drink eight glasses of water a day to stay hydrated.  But, this doesn’t take into account the water we derive from eating vegetables, fruits and other sources in our diet.  The same is true for most wildlife.

With a person walking along the road, this giraffe,, ran for the safety of the tower and the trees.

Thus, as we sit here each day, waiting for visitors, part of the process is beyond our control…if they come, they come.  But, the other part is enticing them to visit by dropping pellets in the yard and, most of all continually scanning the bush, every hour of the day to see if any animals are nearby.

Some will come near with the most gentle of sounds from our voices, while others prefer we stand perfectly still and quiet allowing them to decide their next move.  At times, that move is to walk away and no voice or pellet offering will draw them near.

These two stopped for a few minutes to nibble on the treetops.

As for Kruger and the fence, there’s no enticing we can do.  It’s all a matter of luck (safari luck in our case) that allows the diligent scanning of our eyes, that we see a tail, hear a sound or spot a huge creature at rest.

Last week when we spotted the rhinos sleeping under trees, they easily appeared to be large dark rocks.  But, we’ll chase down a rock if there’s even a remote possibility it might be something more interesting and that’s exactly what we did a week ago when we captured the rhino photos.

A few of the eight giraffes were stragglers but eventually all caught up.

As for elephants, they move more quickly than one perceives as shown here from this site:

6.9m 8t 40km/h 10.4km/h
Elephants swim well, but cannot trot, jump, or gallop. They do have two gaits: a walk; and a faster gait that is similar to running. In walking, the legs act as pendulums, with the hips and shoulders rising and falling while the foot is planted on the ground. With no “aerial phase”, the faster gait does not meet all the criteria of running, as elephants always have at least one foot on the ground.
However, an elephant moving fast uses its legs much like a running animal, with the hips and shoulders falling and then rising while the feet are on the ground. In this gait, an elephant will have three feet off the ground at one time. As both of the hind feet and both of the front feet are off the ground at the same time, this gait has been likened to the hind legs and the front legs taking turns running. Although they start this “run” at only 8 km/h, elephants can reach speeds up to 40 km/h (25 mph), all the while using the same gait. At this speed, most other four-legged creatures are well into a gallop, even accounting for leg length. Spring-like kinetics could explain the difference between the motion of elephants and other animals.”
It’s astounding how these stunning animals came to be with their usual features.  The soft tissue horns on the top of their heads are ossicones.

As a result, spotting elephants is one thing…being able to get close enough for decent photos is another.  Oh, don’t get me wrong.  I am just a mediocre amateur photographer as I’ve mentioned many times, who gets lucky from time to time to capture a near perfect shot.

In our perseverance and sheer determination, we continually scan our environment looking for movement in the bush, an unusual shape at a distance, or a tails swishing amongst the trees and bush. 

Whenever we take photos of larger wildlife, there’s always a warthog in the photo, as was the case yesterday as we followed the giraffes.
Yesterday, we had the most unusual opportunity for a sighting than we’ve ever had in the past, not in these past 23 days since our arrival, nor in the three months, we spent here in 2013/2014.

It was around 11:00 am.  As usual, we were seated at the big wooden table on the veranda, fan whirring in the background. It was a very cloudy, hot and humid day. Tom was researching while I was busy preparing the day’s post.
They were on the dirt road near our house.
A lovely female kudu, a regular as shown below, had stopped by for her usual visit, often eating out of my hand and staring at us when we stopped offering the pellets.  We’ve thoroughly enjoyed her almost daily visits especially when she’ll hang around for an hour or more, often foraging on nearby vegetation.
Ms. Kudu stops by almost every day.  It was her that alerted us to the nearby giraffes, we’d have missed without her warning.

Yesterday, after nibbling on the pellets, she sharply turned her attention to the left side of the house where there are more open spaces which giraffes prefer as opposed to the dense bush.  The look in our visiting kudu’s eyes was one of sheer terror. 

In a flash, she took off in the opposite direction at a pace we’d yet to see a kudu run, who have the ability to run at 70 km (43 miles) per hour, the sound of her thundering hoofs practically shaking the ground.

This road is very near our house.
Immediately, we both jumped up and headed on foot to that side of the yard to see, at a distance, the long legs of many giraffes.  We had to make a quick decision.  Do we run on foot with the camera in hand hoping to catch up with them or, do we jump in the car and follow them?
They were dashing through the trees to make their way to the open road.
Giraffes can run at 60 km (37 miles) per hour.  And, although it was possible they were coming our way, we didn’t want to take a chance.  We jumped in the car knowing we’d never be able to keep up on foot.  It proved to be a wise decision.
Once they reached Olifant, the paved road they stayed together while a few others caught up with the tower.
Over the next 30 minutes, we followed them.  They seem oblivious to our presence since we kept our distance and stayed in the car. Once they reached Olifant, the only paved road in Marloth Park, we weren’t the only ones watching them but none stayed as long as us.

We did our best to get photos and with considerable enthusiasm, we share them with our readers today.  If we hadn’t picked our heads up at the exact moment Ms. Kudu reacted, we’d have never seen them.
Traffic jam on Olifant Road.

Serendipity?  Perhaps.  Toss in a bit of perseverance, patience and passion and as always, “safari luck” prevails.  May it also come your way!


Photo from one year ago March 6, 2017:

Do you see the rainbow in the background in this shot of New Caledonia?  Our ship had spent the day in this port but we had to tender to the shore.  For more photos, please click here

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