Secretary bird

Our favorite bird is the secretary bird. On our recent trip to Pilanesberg, seeing a secretary bird was no. 1 on our wishlist. Our second day in the park gave us a nice sneak preview: a secretary bird far, far away. The next day got better: first we saw a secretary bird flying. Then we saw one in a field but behind a lot of shrubbery. After lunch, we tried again, and we hit the jackpot. Two secretary birds, and we were able to follow them for a while. Walk walk, stamp stamp, munch, walk walk. Beautiful creature!

Mapoza male Lion

Mapoza is a stunning lion and the dominant male of a pride in the Thornybush Game Reserve. His right eye is cloudy because of either a birth defect – a congenital glaucoma – or an injury early in his life. Whatever the cause, it hasn’t hindered his success in life!

Of all the photos I took during our trip at KwaMbili Game Lodge, this is my favorite. As a friend said: His right eye is his spirit eye with which he looks into the world of the ancestors. That’s absolutely believable!

World Leopard Day

Apparently it is world leopard day today! Leopards are such special animals – solitary, secretive, hard to find and absolutely stunningly beautiful. I didn’t nearly see enough leopards on our recent trip to South Africa 🥲 but this one, just waking up, time to get moving, silhoueted against the sunset-sky was really special.


You wouldn’t say so, because buffalo traverse in large herds, but they are actually quite hard to find. After an afternoon speeding from one end of the Thornybush Game Reserve to the other, we finally found this old, angry, solitary male glaring at us after he had to get up from his personal spot on the beach. Hrmph.


One of the highlights of our trip was finding this mother lion with two cubs in a river bed. At this age – maybe three months old – they are still reliant on mother’s milk and too little to engage in the hunt with the rest of the pride, so mother will hide them for long periods to go hunting and come back for feeding and play time.


A leopard dozing in a tree above us. In fact, he was dozing so hard that he lost his balance and needed some claw action to prevent him from falling out of the tree and on top of… well, me. That was a scary moment!

At first sight

It was a long journey from the Netherlands to Tangala Safari Camp in #Thornybush Nature Reserve. We were just in time to catch the departure of the afternoon safari drive – and this was the first picture I took. What a welcome in South Africa!