King protea

The king protea has the largest flower of the protea family, and is the national flower of South Africa. It grows on a woody shrub that grows between 1 and 2 meters high. The plant is adapted to the wildfires that often rage through its habitat by a thick stem that remains underground. After a fire, the shrub resproutes from that stem.
Photo taken in Van Staden’s Wild Flower Reserve.

African wattled lapwing

The wattled lapwing prefers wet grasslands to breed, but will be found in other grassy environments to catch insects. I love the look of surprise on this lapwing’s face!
Photo taken in Rietvlei Nature Reserve.
Nikon d750, 420mm, f4, 1/1000, ISO 100.

Ostrich in a field with purple flowers

A male ostrich is foraging between the purple flowers of the pompom weed. Pompom weed has been called an ‘evil beauty’. It makes the fields look beautiful, but in fact it is an invasive plant that threatens indigenous grasslands. It makes me wonder how we define beauty… Now that I now that this plant is a threat, I look at it in a different way. Somehow, beauty seems to be informed by knowledge as well as aesthetical value!
Photo taken in Rietvlei Nature Reserve
Nikon d750, 420mm, f4, 1/1000, ISO 100.

Secretary bird

The magnificent secretary bird is one of my favorite animals to encounter on a safari. So it really felt as a gift from the universe to encounter one on my birthday yesterday! We spotted it while it was still far off. Luckily, while we waited he came closer and closer to our vehicle so that I was able to capture this image.
Photo taken in Rietvlei Nature Reserve.

Young zebra

Rietvlei at the moment is so amazingly beautiful! The fields are green and purple and yellow… all the colours of an enchanting summer. This young zebra obliged for a portrait in front of a field of purple flowers. The animals don’t really seem to like the flowers, though, they prefer their grass to be green!