Newborn springbok drinking

In some ways, it was a sad week in Pilanesberg National Park. A black rhino calf was killed by lions; a young cheetah was killed by a leopard; and a young elephant died after a tree root became stuck in its throat.

But the circle of life means that there is more than sadness in nature. We saw this newborn springbok lamb drinking his mother’s milk, ready to start a new life. Let’s hope it will be long and happy!

Rhino and pied crow

A rhino with a pied crow perched precariously on its upper horn.
 
I’m trying not to see this as a symbolic picture about the fate of the rhinos…
 
Usually the oxpeckers fulfill the role of personal grooms, but sometimes crows will try to find sustenance – or possibly a ride? – as well. The rhino wasn’t too happy about this visitor though and flapped his ears to scare it off.

Fighting giraffes

Giraffes seem such gentle animals, but looks can deceive. Giraffes fight by clobbering each other with their necks. Male giraffes fight for dominance in a certain area, and for the right to mate with the females in that area. A giraffe’s neck is a powerful weapon, and the clashes of neck against neck can sometimes be heard from afar.

Leopard

We went to Pilanesberg to spot some leopards, and actually we were quite successful. We saw a young male enjoying his catch about three meters from our car. Under a dense bush. Then there was a female with her catch – behind a tree. And then, the top of our sightings, a female with cub. In a very leafy tree, 30 meters away.

After three days we had seen spots, tails and whiskers, but little more than that. So when we arrived in Madikwe, we told our guide that we really would love to see a leopard with a complete body not hidden by bushes.

And we got what we came for! Leopards are not as often seen in Madikwe as in Pilanesberg, but we were lucky that this male had killed an impala two nights before and was still working his way through the carcass. He even deigned to look our way! Happy!

Baby elephant

A small baby elephant drinks together with his family at a waterhole in Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa. Together, the family will protect the youngest elephants by standing around them so that no harm can befall them. Around this baby you can see the feet and trunks of his family members.

Spotted hyena

When I was younger and bent over a book or a computer game, my mother used to tell me to sit straight. I guess hyena mothers don’t do that enough… The front legs of the hyena are very well developed, as is its neck. The back legs, however, seem to lack in strength and muscles, thereby accounting for its strange posture.