A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A GAME RANGER by Luke Street

A WEEK OF BACKLIGHTING – 19th July 2019

This week the light has been extraordinary. Sightings from rhinos playing in the soft pre-sunrise light, to buffalo grazing against the burnt orange evenings, each one has been incredible! The drama from last week has been replaced with golden hour shine and stunning sightings of wildlife in the early morning light and late evening glow. When you begin to photograph your surroundings, you become obsessed with light and how to use it, as photographers we are always chasing it and finding inspiration in it. This week there have been some truly incredible moments of backlighting, a tricky form of photography, and one I would never claim to be an expert at. However, I have loved every second of it, from dawn to dusk.  

The Mayambula pride has been up to their usual antics, having made a small kill early on in the week that helped to sustain them through the following days. Sadly, we only found this kill once the meal was done, but luckily that didn’t hamper the sighting one bit. The pride was lazing about in the afternoon glow before slowly getting up and moving off into the night. They haven’t moved far over the last few days, enjoying a spot just south of Tanda Tula Safari Camp for a while now. Afterall, moving around with 10 cubs can be a fairly tricky exercise especially when said cubs are always getting in the way.  

The Mbiri males have been keeping our guests awake with endless roaring as they move around the area in their never-ending quest to protect the boarders of their territory, and thus the many cubs and females that are found within it. We caught up with one of the males early one morning as he quickly moved towards a nearby watering hole in order to quench his thirst. Stopping every once in a while to call out loudly into the bush and hoping for an answer from his brother or one of his pride members. In the end, he eventually located the Myamabula pride. His brother could be heard calling much further to the south, a clear sign that these males will be reunited soon. 

Marula leopardess has also been moving about the entire length and breadth of her territory, a rather large one, I might add. Having seen her one night far in the west, only to find her far in the east the next morning. She did make a decent sized kill in the form of a duiker, but sadly that was promptly stolen from her by a large male leopard. She could do nothing but move on with her cubs in search of another opportunity. She was adamant to feed herself and her cubs though, and so quickly stashed the cubs and carried on. We followed her all morning until she finally gave up the hunt in the quickly rising heat.

There has been a number of buffalo herds ambling through the area lately, with one such herd actually coming through our tented camp late one evening. It was easy to hear their groaning and moaning as they moved through the stillness of the night and at one point we could even hear a scuffle of an attempted kill. We came to the conclusion that it must have been the lone Zebenine female as her and the sub-adult cub’s tracks could be found in the area the next morning. Sadly, there was no meal for them on this occasion. 

With daily sightings of at least four of the Big five, we were truly spoilt for choice. It’s a great time to be in the Greater Kruger and that classic theory of winter being better for wildlife viewing is definitely holding its merit! 

Until next time, happy snapping. ~Luke Street

By courtesy of the Tanda Tula Safari Camphttp://www.tandatula.com/blog/



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