Thursday, June 23, 2016

Olifants River Game Reserve Revisited

Michael and Jonathan - Thursday

A river runs through it
After a busy time with Crimefest and our launch in the UK of Deadly Harvest, I got back to a stack of exam papers to mark.  I couldn't see any reason to sit in chilly Johannesburg doing that, so I headed up to the bungalow I share in the Olifants River Game Reserve with my friend Jonathan Everitt who is a keen photographer.  The trip was motivated as a quiet place to mark, and a research trip to discover more about the rhino poaching industry.  You don't want to hear about the former and there will be more about the latter in a future blog.  In the meanwhile, I invite you just to enjoy our trip with us. Jonathan took all the pictures.

It's a bit crowded out here

The focus of  the African bushveld in winter is water and in a drought year even more so.

The view from our deck across the river - I did have a few distractions from work... 

Elephants join the parade
Impala at the water
As the river dries, a few plants claim the last moisture

Away from the river, it's the waterholes that are the focus of life.

Male kudu
He's been digging in the mud with his horns

Terrapin  (freshwater turtle) just out of the muddy pool
White rhino
Red billed oxpecker. Oh, yes, there's a female kudu underneath it
Juvenile bataleur eagle
Red crested korhaan.
A beautiful bird and amazingly well camouflaged!
Lilac breasted roller
Brown hooded kingfisher

Pretty dry out here

The cactus-like Nabooms were in flower and attracted some smaller game.

And it was full moon as a bonus

White backed night heron in the moonlight


  1. Absolutely beautiful! How can you stand to return to "normal life" after spending time there, Michael??? Thanks for all the photos, Jonathan.

  2. Michael, this is just what I needed today! I particularly love the photo of the impala drinking. My David took a similar one on our first trip into the bush. Like Jonathan's, it shows some of the herd drinking and others watching in all directions behind the vulnerable drinkers. I wish humans had the same unerring instinct to watch each others' backs.

  3. I always love your posted photos, especially of the birds. They inspire me to take some of my own, though over here at this time of year on Mykonos I fear they'll all be of loons.

    1. Yes, you frequently capture close-ups of a loon, but you also frequently get shots of the Double-Breasted Sidekicker in the background, not an easy feat even for professional nature photographers.

    2. Yep, you're a true bird watcher.

  4. Thanks, everyone.
    I'll pass on compliments for the photos to Jonathan. Indeed, drinking is a dangerous time for animals, and having someone looking out for you is important. Of course there are the dangers of crocodiles ahead of you as well...
    As to coming back, well it's hard, but it does have compensations. I think of them later. And good luck with those loons, Jeff!

    1. Some of the more troublesome ones seem to be migrating this way from the Pacific Northwest. :)