The plan was to travel to the southern part of the Serengeti to photograph the calving season of the Wildebeest. In March the Savannas of the southern Serengeti are full of lush grass and millions of wildebeest graze there and get their calves. Later they begin the great migration to the Masai Mara, following the rain.
Not so this year! Since December, it has virtually not rained and the savannas are extremely dry. And so the animals are further north in desperate search of water. Empty planes instead of millions of Wildebeest!
Almost a day's journey to the north, I then still find a herd. Dramatically the bleating of young calves who lost their mothers in the dust of the dry earth and wander around. The only water they find is brackish and salty. And so they move on to the north, in the search of water.
As a wildlife photographer I'm used to be flexible. And so, instead of photographing Wildebeest, I take pictures of Big Cats - which certainly has its charm! There is more than one pride of lions in the park, but they are hard to find. Much patience is needed and long game drives. But it is worth it. The lion king is majestic and the cubs are really playful.
In the Serengeti, it is rather rare to find lions in the trees. What at first looks like a leopard, turns out to be a lioness. She has apparently escaped from the Tsetse flies. Stoically she spends almost all day on the same branch.
The elegance of cheetahs always fascinates me. I am lucky, to see many different cheetah mothers with their cubs. Be it in the side light of the setting sun or after a successful hunt. The lower two pictures show a mother with her three very young cubs. She keeps them at a great distance, and only thanks to my long lens I am able to photograph them.
To discover a Leopard in a tree is a always a highlight. Often they are only found, because the drivers spread the message via the radio. While the female on the first two images just makes Siesta , the strong male has brought a hunted wildebeest-calf to safety on the tree. Lions often steal the prey from Leopards.
Besides the fascination of the Big Cats, there are always beautiful sunrises and sunsets and much more. I can photograph the Zebra Baby and the Elephant Family in the almost "empty" Ngorongoro Crater. Where normally Jeeps line up around an animal, I can observe a huge herd of elephants for nearly an hour without even a single car coming close. A very unique experience.
In addition to mammals, the feathered inhabitants of the savanna are always nice too. The Lilac-breasted Roller poses in the sun and a Crowned Crane feeds in the immediate vicinity without fear.
Although the ultimate goal of the journey - to photograph the migration - has not, or only partially been successful, the beauty of the landscape and the wildlife in Africa attracts me more and more. In June I travel Botswana and the Kalahari with a side trip to Simonstown in South Africa.
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