Black and White: My Favourite Wilderness Moments

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I’ve been fortunate enough over the last few years to have visited a number of Wilderness Safaris’ camps. Upon returning from another magical safari last month, I thought about the highlights of the last few years, and having tried my hand at a new interest – black and white photography – I have selected my top monochrome images for this post. These memoires will stay with me forever.

Lion Cub
This lion cub was relaxing with her mother and two siblings. Our guide at Vumbura Plains noted that they had not eaten for a few days. The lioness was hurt during a scuffle with two male lions that are new to the area and had not been able to hunt. We can only hope that she returns to full health or that she reunites with the rest of the pride as soon as possible.
Vumbura Plains - 2017

Misty Giraffe

In general, and in my opinion, giraffe do not always make for the most exciting of photographs, but the combination of the mist and the dark colours of this male giraffe made for a magical black and white memory.
Vumbura Plains - 2017

Early Morning Surprise
Golden light is the key for great wildlife photographs. However, on a cloudy day, black and white can improve your shots remarkably. On this specific early morning game drive we were not blessed with golden light, but it may just have played a role in this very special sighting. Well after sunrise this fellow was still up and about. Porcupines are normally very skittish, even at night when they are more comfortable. We spotted him 50 metres up the road and he slowly walked up to the front of the vehicle, sniffed around and then made his way into the bush. We were able to follow him for another few minutes as he walked alongside the road before disappearing.
DumaTau Camp - 2017

Leopard on the Bridge
Prior to this sighting it had been a while since I had a decent sighting of a leopard, my favourite wild animal. During our last evening drive at DumaTau we decided to settle in for sundowners at one of the specially built bridges crossing the Savute Channel. As we came around the corner this beautiful young male inquisitively looked at the water below for a few minutes before he stood up and walked a few metres past the vehicle. My heart was pumping with excitement, the cherry on top.
DumaTau Camp - 2017

Am I Seeing Double?
During an afternoon game drive at Chitabe Camp in 2013 these two beautiful elephants, clearly not too happy with us passing by and disturbing their early dinner, made for a beautiful sighting. The wide-angle lens I used creates the impression of being in the middle of the action.
Chitabe Lediba - 2013

Am I still Seeing Double?
Although very common in the northern parts of Botswana, a red lechwe sighting is always special. I love the symmetry of these two male lechwe looking straight at the camera.
DumaTau - 2017

Desert Giraffe

I printed this photograph on a 2.5 x 1 metre canvas that hangs on our bedroom wall. I love the texture of the Hoanib River embankment with this giraffe seemingly floating on top. Our stay at the Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp ranks as one of the top three safari camps that I have visited in the last 15 years.
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp - 2015

Desert Queen
Another very special sighting at Hoanib. I was fortunate enough to host Dr Flip Stander, the protector of these unique lions, for dinner a few years ago while he was in Johannesburg. This sighting was made even more special when I spotted Dr Stander keeping a watchful eye on this lion.
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp - 2015

Desert Scavenger
Our visit to Hoanib was completed by another special sighting. The camp manager, Clement, took us out for a last morning game drive. During our stay this was our third sighting of a brown hyaena, but this was the first one that decided to stick around for a while. It was a very interesting 30 minutes watching the interaction between this fellow and another well-known scavenger, a black-backed jackal at an elephant graveyard.
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp - 2015

Spot the Hyaena
When you travel to Desert Rhino Camp you have high expectations of seeing a rare black rhino, but seeing a spotted hyaena is just as special. With 99% of the area covered by rock, one would not expect much wildlife, but it is fascinating how such a large variety of species survives in these very harsh conditions.
Desert Rhino Camp - 2015

Follow The Leader

One can spend hours at a waterhole in the Hwange National Park with the consistent flow of wildlife in and out of the area. Here, smaller herds of elephant kept on coming and going for most of the day, yearning to quench their thirst on a hot day in October.
Little Makalolo - 2016

Up the Tree

Wild dogs in general only make for good photographs if they are busy hunting or playing. This one was getting restless after a long nap and decided to have a walkabout. It came to standstill, scanned the tree, spotted the tawny eagle, gave it one look and moved off to find a new spot to continue with his afternoon siesta.
Little Makalolo -2016

Speed King

On an afternoon game drive we came across two cheetah getting restless after a long hot day. The two brothers, in typical cheetah behaviour, walked from termite mound to termite mound hoping to spot some easy prey. They were very relaxed and we stayed with them for long while, before the sunset forced us to leave them behind.
Savuti Camp - 2013

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By Carel Loubser

Carel is the digital manager at Wilderness Safaris. Even though he spends most of his time in the office he believes “a bad day in the bush is much better than a great day in the office”. With a B.Comm in Tourism Management and extensive experience working for a small tour operator in South Africa, his interest in website development and optimisation led him to his current venture within Wilderness Safaris. Over the years he has visited a number of destinations within southern Africa, allowing him to express his love for Africa’s natural beauty, bird- and wildlife through his interest in photography.

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Kate Collins  May 31, 2017

Great photos Carel! Really enjoyed your reflection.

Chris Roche  May 31, 2017

love the porcupine! and the reflection on 5 years of Wilderness Safaris travel ...

Monica Jooste  May 30, 2017

Stunning blog, a really enjoyable read and great photography.