Manyeleti Photo Safari Highlights from April 2023
Photo Safari Highlights with Armand Grobler and Rhulani Safaris
Manyeleti Photo Safari. Standing on the top platform looking across the Buffelshoek Camp plains of Manyeleti Game Reserve, soaking in the fresh air and warm light, in such contrast from last months “Storm Safari,” was true bliss. The bush has started drying out and turning into various shades of yellow. For the first time I noticed a thick layer of frost covering the short, cut grass around camp in the early mornings, giving the camp an icy feel!
There are few places that can compare to the early morning Buffelshoek atmosphere. We enjoyed a crisp cup of coffee while watching the sun peek over the horizon, lighting up the sky in bright hues of orange, red and yellow. The chirp of birds, distant roar of lion and howling hyena created a n African symphony so typical of this incredible camp. Those who have experienced Buffelshoek will know exactly what I’m talking about!
The sightings on our Manyeleti Photo Safari in April were fantastic, and guests were treated with rare opportunities to see serval, a hunting African wild cat and a tiny lion cub of no more than 3 months old, giving us a spectacular display its bombastic and curious behavior. It was the only cub in the pride and in such need of attention, frequently attacking its older siblings, then running back to mum when they started playing rough.
One morning we were contacted via radio that lions had killed a buffalo overnight and were feeding on it right in the Ndzhaka Camp vicinity. After discussing with our guests, we decided to rather search for our own sightings before responding to what would be quite a chaotic sighting. This proved to be a tremendously good decision, as we found the lion pride with the tiny cub perched on top of a termite mound, admiring the rising sun and playing with valor. We spend a total of just more than 2 hours alone at this sighting, enjoying the tranquility also known to Manyeleti.
Other highlights during our Manyeleti Photo Safari included hippo’s fighting, a tiny hippo calf also only 2 or 3 months old, a rather large elephant tusker and a pair of white rhino foraging in the setting sun.
The time has come to announce the winners of our Best Video Clip of 2018! With over 350 videos clips entered, the judges had a tough task of watching and selecting some brilliant clips showing the best African wildlife has to offer. We selected a staggering 131 video clips that we felt displayed Africa at her best, and each stood a chance of winning one of two prizes.
Two prizes of US$500 each are up for grabs – one going to our overall winner (determined by the AG judges), and the other to our ‘Audience’ Favourite (decided by the public, via voting).
So without further ado, here are the winners and the highly commendable runners-up!
2018 BEST VIDEO CLIP WINNER
• Dry season crowds at an Etosha waterhole, Namibia © Pieter Botha
TWO HIGHLY COMMENDABLE RUNNERS-UP
• Five lions fighting in Kruger National Park, South Africa © Jennifer Kucherawy
• Leopard mother and cub playing at Londolozi Private Game Reserve, South Africa © Nick Kleer
2018 AUDIENCE FAVOURITE – as judged by the public
Elephants taking a mud bath © Matrishva Vyas (9163 votes)
Written, and photographs, by Jane Ludlow
This particular sighting happened on our yearly excursion to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa. During the night we had heard lions roaring, so when morning came we were quick to get out onto the sandy roads to try and locate them.
The roads up in the northern Kgalagadi are very narrow and very sandy! The grader routinely does a good job and the result is sandy ridges on either side of the road and – relatively speaking – a sunken road.
After only ten minutes of driving we found two lionesses stalking a herd of wildebeest. The lionesses had positioned themselves so that one of them would flush the herd of wildebeest and hopefully get them to run towards the other lioness.
Now as mentioned earlier we only saw these two lionesses and were definitely not aware of any other cats around…
Well, since I kept trying to get a good shot of a potential killing I needed my husband, Jim, to reverse a little bit to avoid the camera from focusing on the bushes between us and the lioness closest to us. So he did – very, very slowly – and I was supposed to say “when” when the vehicle got into a position that provided the perfect shot.
The “when” did not come, so Jim kept reversing one centimetre at a time.
Meanwhile, to my utter surprise, I found myself looking not at the closest lioness anymore, but straight into the amber-yellow eyes of a young male lion sitting on the sand ridge half a metre from my face! Jim continued reversing and the lion and I had ample (very ample) time to really look at each other nose-to-nose. He was close enough to lick the window!
Jim, who by this time had got tired of reversing, stopped and he too saw what I was looking at, rolled up the window and asked why in a million years I did not react?!
I think my gut feeling said “Do not move” and since the lion must have had a similar gut feeling we just continued to look at each other for what seemed like forever!
Luckily I managed to get one shot of him before the window was up. I think the photo says it all!
Funnily the lion must have had some excitement too. He dashed over to who I think was his mom, and started nuzzling her as if to get comfort. She, being fully intent on the hunt, just sent him off to a position that would form a triangle and thus augment the chances of a kill. After a few minutes, though, he made a whelpish move which alerted the wildebeest who immediately took off…
… and so did we!
Source: Africa Geographic
A starving young lion certainly managed to get his claws into a tasty little snack.
This intense video keeps you on the edge of your seat as you wait to see how it plays out….
The awesome footage was captured on film in the Kruger National Park (Get free nights and other specials here) by Graeme Mitchley (45), Deputy Principal at a School in Edenvale, South Africa!
Graeme was excited about the sighting and told LatestSightings.com: “My wife and I had seen a lot of lions in that area in 2016. Due to the drought, the animals came to drink and the lions were there waiting for them. On this particular day there wasn’t an animal in sight, never mind any lions. I commented to my wife that I would love to know where they had all got to. A few minutes later, out of nowhere a lion came walking out of the dry bush with something in its mouth.
At first, it looked like a lioness carrying her cub. However, at second glance, it turned out to be a young male carrying a newborn antelope.
The young lion carried the antelope down into the dry riverbed where we lost visual, but could still hear the antelope bleating.
The lion went into the riverbed also because there were white-backed vultures, hooded vultures and marabou storks in the vicinity hoping to take off with the buck. I think this was pure opportunism on the part of the lion as he must have stumbled upon the newborn whilst walking through the bush.
I am not sure what happened to its mom but she may have been grazing and wandered a bit too far off from her youngster.
While the sighting was being played out, adrenaline was flowing! But watching the video, I could hear the little buck bleating, which wasn’t nice at all.
My wife was almost in tears and given a chance, she would have rescued the poor thing.
We visit the Kruger often but this was a rare sighting for both of us.
That’s why the KNP is the best place on Earth, you never know what lies in wait around the following bend!”