One of the beautiful cuckoos that are summer visitors to South Africa. Once the rains start, the calls of the cuckoos can be heard everywhere in the bush. This glorious green bird is called the Diederik cuckoo, because its name sounds like the Dutch/Afrikaans name Diederik: It calls “Die- die- diederik!” Unfortunately hearing cuckoos is much easier than actually seeing them, so I was very happy when this one perched on a branch for a moment.
Giraffes are cautious but curious animals. If you stop to watch them, they are likely to come closer and watch what strange thing is parked in front of them. I once saw a pair of giraffes move slowly towards a pride of lions, seemingly just to check them out…
Photo taken in Pilanesberg National Park
The Kori Bustard is a huge, almost prehistoric-looking bird. It’s the heaviest bird in Africa and possibly the world that still is able to fly. However, it spends most of its time on the ground, searching for lizards, insects, or even berries. The impala in the photo has nothing to fear from the kori bustard, although it did feel the need to watch it pass.
A klipspringer standing on a rocky outcrop in the fading evening light in Pilanesberg National Park. Finding a klipspringer is always a highlight of my gamedrives, they are one of our absolute favorite animals. This one seems to have a serious bad hair day – or possibly it escaped the claws of a predator, for example of one of the leopards that are regularly seen on these rocks. Go well, dear klipspringer!
This leopard had just caught a big bushbuck in Pilanesberg. I’m not sure how that was even possible, I’ve never seen bushbuck there, and he just catches one! He was still panting heavily in the shade of a bush. His kill was lying a meter off, too heavy to be carried up a tree. Later, that night, a couple of lions chased the leopard away and feasted on his kill. Such hard work, and so little joy from it!
Giraffes have wonderfully long tongues to reach the farthest leaves on a tree. Did you known that a giraffe’s tongue can reach 50 cm? This giraffe was licking the salt stone at Pilanesberg Center, and felt the need to stick his tongue out at us!
Life can be so cruel… This little elephant had been left alone by his family in Pilanesberg, and was wandering alone for a while, visibly getting weaker. This photo was taken this morning at Lengau Dam. When we drove past a second time, it was lying in the bush.
Later today a vet examined the poor little fellow, and discovered that he had a big lump in his throat. It was to deep for the vet to reach, and it obviously prevented the elephant from eating. The decision was taken to put him down. In the autopsy it was discovered that he had a big tree root stuck in his throat – a freak accident, one could say.
What a sad day!