This is the sixth post from my Mashatu trip in late October. This post offers a gallery of some of the diverse mammal sightings we were privileged to have seen during the six days we were in Mashatu.
“Wild animals, like wild places, are invaluable to us precisely because they are not us. They are uncompromisingly different. The paths they follow, the impulses that guide them, are of other orders. The seal’s holding gaze, before it flukes to push another tunnel through the sea, the hare’s run, the hawk’s high gyres : such things are wild. Seeing them, you are made briefly aware of a world at work around and beside our own, a world operating in patterns and purposes that you do not share. These are creatures, you realise that live by voices inaudible to you.”
~ Robert Macfarlane, The Wild Places
This post only shows the mammals seen in October. At this time it is mid-spring so it is very hot during the day and very dry as this part of the world has not had any rain since April.
An adult male steenbok lying in the shade of a small Shepherd’s tree.
A young Rock dassie looking down at us from his rock outcrop near Rock Camp .
An even younger Rock dassie – not sure of what to make of us on the road below.
Two impala ewes and one sub-adult male impala drinking from the water hole in from of Rock Camp.
A group of four teenage baboons looking for trouble.
Two adult female baboons, one with a very hungry baby. Both were walking in a troop which was advancing through an area next to the Majale river.
“We cannot navigate and place ourselves only with maps that make the landscape dream-proof, impervious to the imagination. Such maps – and the road-map is first among them – encourage the elimination of wonder from our relationship with the world. And once wonder has been chased from our thinking about the land, then we are lost.”
~ Robert Macfarlane
A pair of black-backed jackals trying to keep the vultures at bay while feeding on a elephant calf carcass.
A magnificent young male eland who was already developing a thick, strong neck and impressive dewlap.
A pair of adult Bat-eared foxes. The female was not so sure about us. They were lying in front of their den.
A male warthog having some fun in the waterhole in front of Rock Camp. He would dig out areas of mud and then go and lie in it and then roll about.
“Everything you can imagine, nature has already created.”
~ Albert Einstein
The dominant resident male lion in Mashatu. Regal and relatively unscarred.
In the large rock outcrop behind Rock Camp resides a pair of Klipspringers with a youngster. This was the adult male.
A female giraffe with her youngster close by. A little further on we found two lionesses, we wondered what would have transpired in the next hour or two.
A solitary older eland bull. His coat was starting to darken with age but his dewlap was still relatively small as was the tan fringe on his forehead.
“In the hopes of reaching the moon, men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.“
One of a family of three young male cheetahs.
Unusual to find a female steenbok out in the open but it was early morning so was still cool.
An old eland bull came down to drink from the waterhole in front of Rock Camp in the middle of the day. He had a fully developed dewlap and impressive tan fringe on his forehead.
A female klipspringer in her element.
“I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.”
~Henry David Thoreau
A late morning procession along the Majale river. The last elephant continually looked around to keep an eye on us.
A cheetah mother walking to find shade with her sub-adult son.
A tree squirrel drinking from the bird bath at Rock Camp.
A vervet monkey watching all the goings on around Rock Camp.
“There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, and quiet enough to pay attention to the story.”
Two young warthogs play fighting in the mud in the waterhole in front of Rock Camp.
A wily Hammerkop was standing close to the fighting warthogs, waiting for insects to be disturbed by all the activity.
Sometimes the activity got a little too boisterous for the opportunistic hammerkop.
Spooked by dark wings and everything scattered off the elephant carcass.
A magnificent pair of adult kudu bulls stopping to assess if we were a threat or not.
“We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do.”
A young leopard relaxing in the early morning shade of a large Mashatu tree.
A female steenbok foraging next to a large Shepherd’s tree in the rich light of the early morning.
The dominant male lion getting up to move into deeper shade as the morning sun rose.
“At some point in life, the world’s beauty becomes enough.”
A young male leopard guarding an impala kill which had been dragged up into a Mashatu tree.
A female vervet monkey suckling her baby near the bird bath at Rock Camp.
“We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the earth. Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh
An procession of elephants in the late morning. The light was so bright, a black and white treatment was required.
A silhouetted klipspringer with a characteristic pose standing on tiptoes on the rocks.
“There is a quietness that comes over you in the bush. Once your chatter quietens the symphony of the wild will envelope you. When you look not with preconceived ideas but allow awareness of what is around you to seep in, then you begin to see. We are sensual beings and the wild will fill your sensory cup to over flowing.” ~ Mike Haworth
Explore, seek to understand, marvel at its inter-connectedness and let it be.