Sep 30, 2011

Dagga Boy

Dagga Boy by Megan Lorenz
Dagga Boy, a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

Large old bulls that have been kicked out of the herd are called Dagga Boys and they are extremely bad-tempered.

"Dagga" means mud in Zulu.

Sep 29, 2011

Perfect People-Watching Vantage Point

One of three cubs spotted on a termite mound in the Mara Conservancy.

Sep 27, 2011

Not Worth The Fight...

Not Worth The Fight... by Megan Lorenz
Not Worth The Fight..., a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

This male and his brother were lying on a termite mound beside the road in the Masai Mara when a large group of buffalo came straight for them. The lions took one look and quickly made the decision that it was easier to give up their spot than stand their ground.

This male took quite a while to catch up to his brother due to some sort of leg/foot injury.

Sep 25, 2011

Bulbul

Bulbul by Megan Lorenz
Bulbul, a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

Dark-Capped Bulbul
Kruger National Park, South Africa

Sep 23, 2011

Banana Bird

Banana Bird by Megan Lorenz
Banana Bird, a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

Yellow-Billed Hornbill
Kruger National Park, South Africa

Sep 21, 2011

Feeling Nostalgic

Feeling Nostalgic by Megan Lorenz
Feeling Nostalgic, a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

Endangered African Penguin
Boulders Beach, South Africa

The main African penguin colony near Simon's Town is at Foxy Beach. The beach there is reserved for penguins – humans are restricted to the boardwalks to keep them under control!

Foxy Beach is flanked by two ‘human’ beaches – Seaforth and Boulders.

My favorite was Boulders Beach where you can walk on the beach and swim with the penguins. Boulders is beautiful and the tiny rocky bay carpeted in white sand is partially enclosed by granite boulders that are 540 million years old. It's a spot you'll want to spend lots of time on any visit to the Cape.

The African Penguin colonizes offshore islands and nests on the mainland only at two places in South Africa. (Betty's Bay & Boulders Beach ). The Boulders Beach area was established as a breeding colony of African Penguins in 1985, with two pairs nesting. By 1992, 158 pairs were breeding here, and the numbers have been increasing steadily since then, at a rate of almost 17% per year. The penguins in this area are unusually tame and are exposed to more threats because of their close proximity to humans. Even though they allow you to approach within feet, they should be given lots of space and respect. One evening I was very upset to see two children running after a few penguins and chasing them into the water. What was worse? The parents were watching and didn't say anything!

In September 2010, the African Penguin was listed as endangered under the U.S.A Endangered Species Act. African penguin populations, which breed in Namibia and South Africa, have declined by 95 percent since preindustrial times.

Roughly 4 million penguins existed at the beginning of the last century. The total population fell to 200 000 in the year 2000; ten years later, in 2010, the number was estimated to be only at 55000. If this decline is not halted, the African Penguin is expected to be extinct within 15 years.

If you're planning on visiting the area, I highly recommend staying at the Boulders Beach Lodge where you'll have penguins right outside your room providing comic relief :-) I was thrilled to open my door each morning and to be greeted by curious penguins and their babies.

One evening after dark I was sitting on the ground around the patio area speaking with my husband on skype, when one of the adults decided to come over and investigate. I moved out of the way to give him some space but made the mistake of leaving the computer on the ground. He walked right over, hopped onto the keyboard and began pecking at the image on the screen. My husband was laughing in the background while I was trying to figure out how to get him away without getting bitten and before he cracked the screen or crapped all over the keyboard. That would have been a real mess to clean up!

Be prepared before booking your stay that you might not get much sleep. The penguins are loud and will wake you up hours before sunrise. Plus you'll hear them running up and down the courtyard at night, chasing after the parents so they will regurgitate fish for them. Still...who needs sleep anyway? It's an experience you don't want to miss.

Color

Color by Megan Lorenz
Color, a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

Beach Huts
St. James Beach, Cape Town

Sep 20, 2011

Color

Color by Megan Lorenz
Color, a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

Beach Huts
St. James Beach, Cape Town

Downtime

Downtime by Megan Lorenz
Downtime, a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

Taking a break from photography at the top of Table Mountain.

Cape Town, South Africa

I See You

I See You by Megan Lorenz
I See You, a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

Ostrich
Cape Point Nature Reserve, South Africa

Sep 19, 2011

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park by Megan Lorenz
Kruger National Park, a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

Waiting for Kingfishers and Lions to show (which they did!)... I figured I'd take a couple of landscapes since it's such a beautiful area.

Showing Your True Colors

Showing Your True Colors by Megan Lorenz
Showing Your True Colors, a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

Lilac-Breasted Roller
Kruger National Park, South Africa

Sep 18, 2011

Mouthy

Mouthy by Megan Lorenz
Mouthy, a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

Female Impala
Kruger National Park, South Africa

Gentle Steps Of A Giant

Gentle Steps Of A Giant by Megan Lorenz
Gentle Steps Of A Giant, a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

Elephant
Amboseli, Kenya

Sep 16, 2011

You Have My Attention

You Have My Attention by Megan Lorenz
You Have My Attention, a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

Yellow-Billed Hornbill
Kruger National Park, South Africa

Sep 15, 2011

I hear everything!

I hear everything! by Megan Lorenz
I hear everything!, a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

Kudu
Kruger National Park, South Africa

Sep 14, 2011

Sep 12, 2011

Heart Of A King

Heart Of A King by Megan Lorenz
Heart Of A King, a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

Young Styx Male
Sabi Sands, South Africa

Alone since being kicked out of his pride, his life isn't easy. However, so far he's been smart in avoiding the dominant males and I hope he will still be around on my next visit.

I saw him quite a few times while I was staying at Nkorho and even watched him follow a large group of Buffalo before trying his luck and jumping onto the back of one. Unfortunately it was a failed attempt and the herd turned on him and chased him away. Amazing that a young lion would attempt to kill such large and dangerous prey without any help but he's been very successful in the past and hopefully that will continue.

Sep 11, 2011

Bush Beauty

Bush Beauty by Megan Lorenz
Bush Beauty, a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

Steenbok
Kruger National Park, South Africa

Sep 9, 2011

Mohawk Madness

Mohawk Madness by Megan Lorenz
Mohawk Madness, a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

Crested Barbet
Olifants Camp
Kruger National Park, South Africa

Ok...I'm only going to say this once and then I'm never admitting it again.

I'm a birder.

Sep 8, 2011

Duma

Duma by Megan Lorenz
Duma, a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

Right place at the right time.

I watched as this Cheetah made her way through the long dried grass of the mara plains, pausing a few times to survey her surroundings. She reached the road and I was in awe that I had such a beautiful cat right beside my open window. I could have reached out and touched her. After a moment she walked around my vehicle and disappeared into the grass. It was moments like these that made me wish I never had to leave.

Who Are You Calling Odd?

Who Are You Calling Odd? by Megan Lorenz
Who Are You Calling Odd?, a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

Topi
Masai Mara, Kenya

Sep 7, 2011

Who You Calling A Secretary? Office Assistant Please...

Secretary Bird
Masai Mara, Kenya

I Did All The Work...Let Me Eat!

I'm finally back home and looking forward to a few days of sleep before I have to get my butt in gear and catch up on my work, editing, client sessions and lead a few Nature's Photo Adventures local workshops.

Cape Town, Joburg, Sabi Sands, Kruger National Park, Amboseli, Lake Nakuru, Masai Mara, Nairobi. Phew...I'm tired! I stayed in a total of 12 places over the 5+ weeks, took 8 flights totalling more than 50 hours in the air and experienced more than I'd ever imagined.

As much as I enjoyed the trip, it's always nice to get home. That's especially true after seeing a few of the Townships in South Africa and the general state of living conditions in small towns across Kenya with "homes" that had corrugated metal walls or mud, outhouses and litter covering the ground everywhere. Also if you saw the traffic in Nairobi, you would never complain about rush-hour again!! I'm really happy I didn't get stuck in that mess :-)

Sometimes you forget how lucky you are to have a nice home, hot showers, lights that go on with the flick of a switch, a vehicle, paved roads and the ability to go out and buy whatever you need and have many options on where to shop. It truly was an eye-opening experience.

Sep 5, 2011

Possession Is 9/10ths Of The Law

Please see previous post for description.

Lion With Kill
Masai Mara, Kenya

Sep 4, 2011

Death In The Air

Death In The Air by Megan Lorenz
Death In The Air, a photo by Megan Lorenz on Flickr.

It will be interesting to go through my sightings log after I return because at this point I've lost track of the number of lions I've seen in South Africa and Kenya...I do know that it's over 50. Each encounter has been special to me but there have been a handful that will stick out in my memories of Africa.

There's nothing like watching an adult male tearing apart a wildebeest within 10 feet of the road. The females who did all the work...waiting for their turn to feast along with three of their older cubs.

Then a small breeding group of elephants join the scene along with a black-backed Jackal who you can tell really wants to steal just a small piece of the prize but there's no way he's going to go up against this strong pride. Instead, he paces back and forth and continuously sniffs the air....

The adult elephants are unnerved while the younger ones are curious and don't seem to realize the danger they could be in.

Luckily for them, the male is happy with his meal and has no interest in the newcomers as long as they don't get in his way. It would be foolish of him to go after such a well-protected baby.

One lioness is tired of waiting and is watching the male carefully. As soon as he stops eating and lays down 5 feet from the wildebeest, she takes the opportunity and starts to feed. The male leaps to his feet and angry roars fill the air. The female retreats with a few cuts from his long claws and makes her displeasure known by snarling at the male before joining the cubs.

His meal is beginning to bake under the hot Kenya sun. (How can something smell so bad when it's only been dead for a few hours?! Glad I had Vicks Vapor Rub so I could enjoy these moments.)

He decides to drag the wildebeest down a small ditch, across the road right in front of my vehicle leaving a blood-soaked trail and up the hill on the other side to an acacia tree that will provide shade so he can have a nap before resuming his meal. He needs to take several breaks on the way up, panting heavily. It's a hot day with no clouds and even though much of the wildebeest has been eaten....it's still heavy and awkward.

His pride follows him up the hill but at a distance. They will have to wait their turn, he's not in a sharing mood.

Elephant & Jackal
Trans-Mara, Kenya