A mighty bull elephant

A huge bull elephant comes for a drink at a waterhole in Madikwe Game Reserve. Male elephants are generally solitary creatures, although friendships between groups of males have also been documented.
For one month of the year, bull elephants go into the condition of musth. During this time the bull produces 40 to 60 times more testosterone than usual. It makes him aggressive and unpredictable, and the best advice for other elephants and humans alike is to give the bull lots of space.
Musth is similar to what happens to Popeye when he downs a can op spinach. In musth, a male that is way down the ladder can challenge a dominant bull and win. When a bull elephant has broken tusks like this one, it may well be the result of a fight with another elephant!

Dawn at the waterhole

Winter is coming, they say. In Pilanesberg the mornings are becoming chilly, with mist that forms over bodies of water like this waterhole. The Egyptian geese are just waking up and arranging their feathers. It’s going to be a lovely day!

Elephant family drinking

A family of elephants drinking at a waterhole in Pilanesberg National Park. I love how green everything still is! It makes seeing animals a little bit more challenging, but the sightings that you do get are usually great because they are really close.

At the waterhole

An elephant mum and baby playing at a waterhole in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Waterholes like this are especially popular during the dry season from May to November. During this time, there is no rain and as the grass and leaves turn brown and dry the animals need access to a stable water supply. In this wet area one pool of water was used for drinking, while another became a swimming pool. The elephants greatly enjoy bathing; splashing in the mud until they are as brown as the soil. After the bath comes a dusting of sand. When this elephant sunscreen is in place it is time to move on.

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Magical moments

This waterhole in Pilanesberg National Park is a haven for birds, and that is why we had parked our car there. Suddenly, all the birds flew up. I looked around, and there she was: a female leopard coming for a drink. What a magical moment! We sat in awe, my hands slightly shaking from the excitement. Fortunately I did manage to capture the moment before the leopard walked away again!