A month in Ruaha & Serengeti Nat Parks- Tanzania. Pt 2

Joined
Feb 11, 2008
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176
Location
Palm Cove, FarNth QLD- AUSTRALIA
My apologies for such a long break in posting Part 2,

No excuses other than have been busy with trips to TZ recently and return again to Grumeti, Western Serengeti & Namiri, Central Serengeti to document the migration in 2 weeks time.


"Out on a limb"

6.19am and the 3 yr old male leopard known as "Moyo" climbs a tree to a beautiful golden hour sunrise, opportunities like this happen very rarely and was thrilled to capture him in such a commanding pose and soft golden light.
Ruaha Nat Park- TZ.

Nikon D850
Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8E FL VR + 1.4tcIII
f/4
1/1000s
ISO640@ 100mm.

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"Drinks break"

After dining out on a zebra this lioness and her 2 x five week old cubs took time out for a drinks break on their way back to the safety of their kopje (rock outcrop) home.
Gol kopjes, Serengeti- TZ

Nikon D850
Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8E FL VR + 1.4tcIII
f/9
1/1250s
ISO1250@ 280mm.

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"Pelvic eye"

A lioness tucks into the pelvic bone of a zebra the girls had brought down @ dawn.
Gol kopjes- TZ


Nikon D850
Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8E FL VR + 1.4tcIII
f/8
1/1600s
ISO560@ 280mm.

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"Is that you dad?"

A pair of 6 month old lion cubs gaze open mouth as they see in the distance what appears to be the pride male and their father approach......indeed it was :)
Ruaha Nat Park- TZ


Nikon D850
Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8E FL VR + 1.4tcIII
f/8
1/1000s
ISO720@ 280mm.

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"Panic in the herd"

A Thompson's & Grants Gazelle frenzied panic as a pair of Cheetah are sighted.
Slow pan: 1/20s capture.
Namiri plains, Serengeti- TZ


Nikon D850
Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8E FL VR + 1.4tcIII
f/25
1/20s
ISO64@ 280mm.

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"Caracal female.........36 yrs in the making"

Achieving any sort of quality image of a Caracal (apart from long distance blurry streaks ) has always been very high on my list and one reason why I chose to visit Namiri Plains, an area up until 3.5 years ago soley devoted to cheetah research and off limits to the public.

If you are prepared to put in the hours there is a "possibility" to sight this highly skittish cat here.

So on my first afternoon and before I had unpacked, we heard via a transfer guide who witnessed a "small yellow cat" (even he wasn't sure exactly what it was ) single handedly bringing down an adult Thompsons Gazelle , WOW!!

Dropping everything, I raced off to the location some 20 mins away, fortunately positioned close to the road, we were fortunate that she was still on the kill and due to her protective nature, she wasn't going to relinquish her prize for anyone!

We garnered her confidence with a polepole (Swahili word meaning slowly) approach and being on an incline switched off the engine and gradually closed the distance by ever so slowly rolling our vehicle closer, by the end of the shoot we were within 10 feet of her, just amazing how trusting she was of us.
I'd never seen anything like it and my guide Partena's best ever Caracal encounter by a country mile.

To see a Caracal is fantastic enough, but one that was on a kill and such a spectacular prize at that was pure freakish luck and timing. As told to us, she was hiding in a thicket and pounced on the Thommie that never knew what hit it, such an accomplished and skilled feat!
As dusk grew closer she left the kill, we then approached and confirmed that it was indeed hers by the claw marks on it's back and bite marks around her throat, backing away allowed a solo Hyena in to snatch the prize and could see that the gazelle was pregnant evidenced by a advanced fetus.
What an afternoon, and to think that this was just the first of 4 Caracal sightings during my 2 weeks here.

Approaching 2.00pm, light was far from optimal, and with the kill tucked away in heavy grass/cover it was challenging to get a clear view. I do like her beautiful and almost turquoise eyes look of contempt here.
Namiri plains, Serengeti- TZ


Nikon D850
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f/7
1/1250s
ISO640@ 240mm.

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"On the road again"

Two of 6 mature males that make up the Vumbi pride make there way down the road back to the girls after their night patrol on the open grasslands plains of Namiri, Central Serengeti. I love the symmetry in their stride & tails!


Nikon D850
Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8E FL VR + 1.4tcIII
f/11
1/2000s
ISO10000@ 280mm.

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"If I play dead......I might just surprise them!"

A female cheetah "plays dead" in the hope she might catch the approaching Gnu by surprise........not a chance! It does appear that way but actually I've caught her half way through a roll over :)
Namiri Plains, Central Serengeti-TZ.




Nikon D850
Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8E FL VR + 1.4tcIII
f/6.3
1/1600s
ISO640@ 280mm.

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"Sabre-tooth grimace"

Poised in a splendid Sycamore fig a young leopardess looks down and displays her best Sabre-tooth impression (indicating a submissive grimace/pose) as she had been caught out snacking on Ghost's (male leopard) warthog kill. I suspect this pair were mating recently.

Ruaha NP- TZ


Nikon D850
Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8E FL VR + 1.4tcIII
f/5.6
1/250s
ISO110@ 175mm.

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"The end of the dry"

A herd of elephants on trek to water as huge thunder clouds loom large, signalling the end of the long hot dry season that afternoon in Ruaha Nat Park- TZ.


Nikon D810
Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 G2
f/16
1/1000s
ISO320@ 36mm.

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"Heads up"

A vigilant Hyena spots my presence as the clan tuck into a zebra that had died of natural causes. Early morning, Gol Kopjes, Central Serengeti- TZ.


Nikon D850
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f/9
1/2000s
ISO1250@ 280mm.

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"Vidimbuni pride male"

A magnificent dark maned male from the Vidimbuni pride sits atop a termite mound for a more commanding view whilst on early patrol on the grassland plains of Namiri,
Central Serengeti- TZ.


Nikon D850
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f/7
1/2000s
ISO640@ 280mm.

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"Tai Chi cheetah"

A very relaxed sub adult female cheetah approaches my vehicle, lies down to commence her "Tai Chi" session under an early evening sky on the open plains of Namiri/Serengeti. Her mother was also just feet away. Such a treat!


Nikon D850
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f/9
1/1000s
ISO3200@ 120mm.

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"Pride male @ dusk"

The Sematu pride male stirs as the last vestiges of light exstinguish.
Namiri Plains, Central Serengeti- TZ.


Nikon D850
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f/4
1/200s
ISO5600@ 280mm.

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"Caracal @ dusk"

Namiri plains, Central Serengeti- TZ


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f/5.6
1/1000s
ISO2200@ 280mm.

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"Coalition"

A coalition pair of bros relaxing out in the open grassland plains of Namiri- TZ


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f/7
1/2500s
ISO400@ 170mm.

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"Coming home"

Mum and her 2 x five week old cubs are on their way back to the safety of their kopje (rock outcrop) home.
Namiri plains- TZ.


Nikon D850
Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8E FL VR + 1.4tcIII
f/8
1/1600s
ISO560@ 280mm.


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"On alert"

Under dawn light, Mum has spotted something in the distance and the cubs, feeling some tension rally around her, turns out it was one of the pride males returning from a night patrol.
Namiri Plains, Central Serengeti-TZ



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f/9
1/800s
ISO1000@ 280mm.

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"Bull ele sunset"

A young bull elephant plays with his drinking water beneath a beautiful pink hued sunset in Ruaha's Nat Park- TZ


Nikon D850
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f/4
1/400s
ISO1800@ 280mm.

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"Ruaha Wild Dog"

On the last of my 14 days in Ruaha Nat Park and after much searching we found the "Mdyona Ju" pack on early morning patrol.



Nikon D850
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f/5.6
1/1600s
ISO4500@ 280mm.

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Cheers
Marc
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2009
Messages
1,287
Location
Ontario, Canada
Thanks for sharing these. Outstanding stuff and I am hopeful someday I will get to experience similar. Absolutely wonderful. The windblown mane is very unique.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2009
Messages
6,800
Location
Alaska
Real Name
Dan
This is a crazy good set of images. I couldn't begin to pick a favorite though if pressed I'd maybe narrow it down to one of the leopards or one of the elephantscapes. I've never had a burning desire to shoot Africa but this sort of display gives me pause to reconsider. Really top flight work accompanied with supporting text. Thanks for sharing.
 
Joined
Apr 13, 2008
Messages
149
Location
TN
Oh my! All are amazing. Thanks for sharing, africaddict.
 

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