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Early morning in the Sabie Sands Game Reserve, this Tawny Eagle was resting on a branch when it suddenly took off and was clearly on the lookout for a potential meal.
Tawny Eagle -Aquila rapax
The Tawny Eagle is a large bird of prey, capable of reaching 16 years of age. It breeds in most of Africa, both north and south of the Sahara Desert and across tropical southwestern Asia to India. There is a huge variation in their plumage colour, ranging from blonde to tawny brown. They are versatile raptors, eating anything from dead elephants to termites. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family, Accipitridae.
Nikon D5 with Nikon VR80-400mm f4.5 – 5.6G lens with Nikon 1.4 x Teleconverter, effective focal length 550mm, 1/1000 sec @ f9, ISO 3200
Photograph by Trevor Woodburn
Mid-day on the Skeleton Coast, this family, part of a 45,000-strong seal colony, was perched on a rocky area near the sea, engaged in heated discussion.
Cape Fur Seals - Arctocephalus pusillus
Cape Cross seal colony, located on the Skeleton Coast in Namibia, is one of Southern Africa’s largest Cape Fur Seal colonies, home to some 80,000-100,000 seals. Cape Fur Seals are the largest of the fur seal species, and can live up to 21 years of age. They are named for their thick pelt, as unlike true seals which have only a thin covering of hair, Cape Fur Seals have a thick layer of short, soft fur, which is protected by a layer of longer, harder hair. The top layer gets wet, while the bottom layer stays dry. The bottom layer, in addition to the fat formation under the skin, provides the seals with excellent insulation against the cold Benguela current of the Atlantic Ocean. Nikon D5 with Nikon VR80-400mm f4.5-5.6G lens with Nikon 1.4 x Teleconverter, effective focal length 550mm, 1/2000 sec @ f14, ISO 2000
Photograph by Trevor Woodburn
This Bass was found maintaining station under a ledge out of the strong current on the north-east undersea ridge on Aliwal Shoal. This individual is territorial and although wild, has had exposure over time to divers and eye’ d me as I slowly approached, the dome of the camera to its eye. The ledge provides protection and also a base for the Goldies and Cleaner wrasse to approach the bass and eat the parasites and algae that might be growing on its skin. Whilst it is very large it doesn’t have teeth like sharks do but rather a large mouth that it sucks food into and then crushes and swallows.
Potato Bass or Grouper - Epinephelus tukula
The Potato Grouper, also called the Potato Cod or Potato Bass, is a native fish to Australia, Indian Ocean and Asian countries. It can reach a length of 2.6m and can weigh as much as 110kg. Mainly found in deep reef channels and seamounts, in current prone areas. Juveniles may be found in tide pools. Feeds on reef fishes, skates, crabs, and spiny lobsters and is considered to be exceedingly territorial and very aggressive towards intruders. Vulnerable to spear fishers but also hand fed by divers in certain areas, although potentially dangerous to the inexperienced. Nikon D300 Nikkor 10.5mm f2.8 Fisheye lens, 1/80th sec @ f11, ISO 200, Sea & Sea Housing and Two Sea & Sea YS250 strobes on ¼ power. Taken on scuba at 20m at Aliwal Shoal, South Africa.
Photograph by Andrew Woodburn
Early evening in the Hoanib region of Namibia, a breeding herd of elephants was moving along a ridge of sandy rocks when a baby elephant decided it was time to play. He slithered down a slope and appeared to challenge the female elephants to try and “catch him if they could”. The females chased after the baby to try and discipline him but were unsuccessful in their chase.
African Elephant - Loxodanta
The African Elephant is a genus comprising two living elephant species, the African Bush Elephant and the smaller African Forest Elephant. Loxodanta is one of two existing genera of the family Elephantidae, the other being Asiatic Elephants. The name refers to the lozenge-shaped enamel of their molar teeth. African Elephants are the world’s largest land animals and can weigh up to 7 tons in weight. Elephants roam across much of sub-Saharan Africa, but face increasing threat from poaching, habitat loss and conflict with humans.Nikon D5 with Nikon VR80 – 400 mm f4.5 – 5.6G lens with Nikon 1.4 x Teleconverter, effective focal length 360mm, 1/800 sec @ f13, ISO 3600
Early morning in the Ngala Private Game Reserve, a concession within the Kruger National Park, this white lion cub was found affectionately rubbing his head against two lionesses.
White Lion - Panthera leo
White lions are not albinos, nor a different species of lion. Their condition is known as ‘leucism’, a rarity where a recessive genetic mutation causes the lion’s coat to vary from near white to blonde, rather than the common tawny. Interestingly, their skin and eyes retain their natural pigment. A cub is born white only if both of its parents carry the recessive gene, as such, there are instances where there will be a mix of classic tawny lion cubs and white cubs born in the same litter. Nikon D5 with Nikkor VR80 – 400mm f4.5 – 5.6G lens with Nikon 1.4 x Teleconverter,effective focal length 112mm, 1/800 sec @ f16, ISO 2200
Early morning in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, this young hyena pup was resting in the warm morning sun but had a keen eye open for potential danger.
Spotted Hyena - Crocuta crocuta
The Spotted Hyena, also known as the laughing hyena due to its giggle-like vocalisations, is native to sub-Saharan Africa and the largest animal in the Hyaenidae family. It has a widespread range, with numbers estimated between 27,000 and 47,000 individuals. The Spotted Hyena is the most social of the large carnivores, it can live in groups consisting of up to 80 individuals and demonstrates complex social behaviours. Nikon D5 with Nikon VR80-400mm f4.5-5.6G lens with Nikon 1.4 x Teleconverter, effective focal length 550mm, 1/800 sec @ f16, ISO 18 000
Early morning in the Damaraland region of Namibia, this Desert Black Rhino was enjoying the rays of sunlight while grazing on the toxic bush found in that area.
Black Rhinoceros - Diceros bicornis
Some of the world’s last remaining black rhinos still roam freely in the barren wilderness of the desert regions in Namibia. The black rhino has a beak like upper lip, pointed and flexible, which it employs as a grasping tool. Horns are extremely variable in size and shape, the front horn is thinner and usually longer than the rear horn. Thanks to persistent conservation efforts across Africa, the total number of black rhinos grew from 2,410 in 1995 to more than 5,000 today. To protect black rhinos from poaching and habitat loss, the WWF is taking action in three Africa rhino range countries namely: Namibia, Kenya and South Africa. Nikon D5 with Nikon VR80-400mm f4.5 – 5.6G lens with 1.4 x Teleconverter,effective focal length 550mm, 1/640 sec @ f13, ISO 1600
Late afternoon in the Skeleton Coast Nature Reserve, Namibia, this African Wildcat, looking remarkably like a domesticated cat, emerged from the bush and slowly approached our vehicle. As it got nearer, it showed its long fangs, leaving us in no doubt that it was, in fact, a wild cat.
African Wildcat - Felis lybica
The diminutive African Wildcat is often overlooked in favour of its more impressive feline cousins. What it lacks in size and strength, it more than makes up for in stealth and success. It is the wild prototype of a tabby cat, distinguished from the domesticated version by longer legs, a more upright seated posture, and reddish earmarked translucent ears. Wildcats live wherever rats and mice thrive.Nikon D5 with Nikkor VR80 – 400mm f4.5 – 5.6G lens with 1.4 x Teleconverter, effective focal length 185mm, 1/640 sec @ f10, ISO 5600
Late afternoon in the Ngala Private Game Reserve, a concession within the Kruger National Park, this family of leopards, comprising the mother and two sub-adult cubs, was enjoying themselves playing on the trunk of a large fallen tree.
Leopard - Panthera pardus
The leopard is one of the five extant species in the genus Panthera, a member of the Felidae. It occurs in a wide range in sub-Saharan Africa, and small parts of Western and East Asia. The leopard’s skin colour varies between individuals from pale yellowish to dark golden with dark spots grouped in rosettes. Its belly is whitish and its ringed tail shorter than its body. The pattern of rosettes is unique in each individual. Leopards are the embodiment of feline beauty, power and stealth, being long and low slung, with short muscular limbs.Nikon D5 with V80 – 400mm f4.5 – 5.6G lens with 1.4 x Teleconverter, effective focal length 165mm, 1/640 sec @ f8, ISO 18 000
The Radiated Tortoise is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful tortoises. This baby was making its way as best as possible across a river bed of water rounded stones which was a feat to observe as some stones were bigger than it was. I lay down to be at its level and that was punishing enough for me with the stones providing an incredibly uncomfortable base for photography, the tortoise seemed unconcerned and with an exhibition of tortoise tenacity continued its herculean task.
Radiated Tortoise - Astrochelys radiata
Growing to a carapace length of up to 41cm and weighing up to 16kg , the Radiated Tortoise is a species in the family Testudinidae. Although this species is native to and most abundant in southern Madagascar it can also be found in the rest of this island, and has been introduced to the islands of Réunion and Mauritius. It is a very long-lived species, with recorded life spans of at least 188 years. As Radiated Tortoises are herbivores, grazing constitutes 80–90% of their diets, while they also eat fruits and succulent plants. A favorite food in the wild is the Opuntia cactus, commonly known as the prickly pear. These tortoises are classified as critically endangered by the IUCN, mainly because of the destruction of their habitat and poaching. Nikon D70 Nikkor 105mm f2.8 Macro lens, 1/100 sec @ f20, ISO 200. Taken in Madagascar
The group of remoras hitch a ride underneath this ocean-going Manta Ray as it glides in to a coral reef where cleaner fish live and wait to remove the parasites and ocean growth from the manta. They are gentle creatures and will often approach divers in order to satisfy their curiosity. Divers can interact with them near cleaning stations like this one under a set of guidelines. They are so big that when they swim overhead it’s as if a cloud has blocked the sun, they move like a magic carpet in the water with unparalleled grace and speed.
Manta Ray - Manta Birostris
Manta Rays are large rays. The larger species, M. birostris, reaches 7m in width, while the smaller, M. alfredi, reaches 5.5m. Both have triangular pectoral fins, horn-shaped cephalic fins and large, forward-facing mouths. Mantas are found in warm temperate, subtropical and tropical waters. They are filter feeders and eat large quantities of zooplankton, which they gather with their open mouths as they swim. However, research suggests that they are actually deep sea predators, feeding on fish and other organisms that inhabit areas of the sea between 200–1,000m below the surface. They are listed as vulnerable, threats include pollution, entanglement in fishing nets, and direct harvesting for their gill rakers for use in Chinese medicine. They are protected in international waters. Nikon D300 Nikkor 10.5mm f2.8 Fisheye lens, 1/160 sec @ f10, ISO 200, Sea & Sea Housing and Two Sea & Sea YS250, strobes on ¼ power. Taken on scuba at 27m at Amazon dive site off Tofo, Mozambique
This phalanx of storks was getting ready to roost, enjoying the last rays of the African sun in the famous Kruger Park in February. They have migrated south and therefore are not nesting but will forage for frogs, fish, insects, earthworms, small birds and mammals daily before heading north for the European summer. They created this iconic African sunset image, adding their unique silhouettes to the setting summer sun during a sunset game drive.
Yellow-billed Stork - Mycteria ibis
Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long, stout bills. Storks dwell in many regions and tend to live in drier habitats. Storks tend to use soaring, gliding flight, which conserves energy. Storks are heavy, with wide wingspans, and their nests are often very large and may be used for many years. Storks were once thought to be monogamous, but this is only partially true. They may change mates after migrations, and may migrate without a mate. Storks’ size, serial monogamy, and faithfulness to an established nesting site contribute to their prominence in mythology and culture. Nikon D7000, DX format, Sigma 150-500mm f5-6.3 APO DG OS lens @ 500mm, 1/640 sec @ f7.1, ISO 100, -0.3EV. Taken near Olifants Rest Camp, Kruger Park, South Africa.
In Raggie Cave, a natural rock overhang with a depth of 18m, ragged tooth sharks rest while swimming in holding patterns or float together while pumping water through their gills. They are fairly tolerant of divers during daylight since they tend to hunt during the night. This allows divers who don’t threaten them to sometimes remain among them whilst the sharks swim overhead. This shark swam right over my head and the camera, allowing for an upward view into its mouth, showing the impressive array of teeth. The added element is the little fish staying out of harm’s way below the shark’s belly.Spotted ragged-tooth shark / Sand tiger shark - Carcharias taurusThis shark has many different names including sand tiger shark, grey nurse shark, spotted ragged-tooth shark, and is a species of shark that inhabits subtropical and temperate waters worldwide. They dwell in the waters of Japan, Australia, South Africa, the Mediterranean and the east coasts of North and South America. Despite its fearsome appearance and strong swimming ability, it is a relatively placid and slow-moving shark with no confirmed human fatalities. It is the most widely-kept large shark in public aquariums owing to its tolerance for captivity.
Nikon D300, Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye lens F2.8, F9 @ 1/50th sec, ISO 200, Sea & Sea Housing and Two Sea & Sea YS350 strobes on ¼ power. Taken on scuba at 18m at Aliwal Shoal, South Africa
Around midday in the Masai Mara National Park, this East African Rainbow Lizard suddenly appeared from a crack in the rocks to pause for a few minutes in the sun, showing off his brilliant range of colours. A small piece of grass protruded from his mouth giving the impression of him taking a smoke break.
East African Rainbow Lizard – (Kenyan Rock Agama) - Agama lionotus-
One of the most versatile lizards in Kenya, this species is of the family Agamidae. These lizards are best known for the shockingly bright colours sometimes adopted by the dominant males. Most of the time agama lizards are pretty inconspicuous creatures that are brown or grey in colour. However, when mating season rolls, around, the males turn brilliant shades of red and blue to catch the attention of their female counterparts. This unique quality has earned them many nicknames from “Rainbow Lizards” to “Spiderman Lizards”. They are relatively small, averaging about 12-18 inches in length, and because of their distinct colouration, they are sought after and kept as pets around the globe.
Nikon D5 with Nikon VR 80-400mm, f4.5 –5.6 G ED lens with Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III 1.4x, effective focal length 550 mm, 1/800 sec @ f13, ISO 500
When diving, it’s quite easy to find Nemo, when you pass over a coral reef they will find you if you come too close to their home. You will know as the largest of the pair, the female, may actually charge you and even take a small bite at you, quite a surprise if you aren’t ready for this diminutive ball of energy, far smaller than a human. These two share their anemone home and can be seen taking protection among the stinging tentacles and getting ready to charge my camera dome port.
Twobar Anemonefish / Clownfish - Amphiprioninae -
Clownfish or anemonefish in the wild, form symbiotic mutualisms with sea anemones and are unaffected by the stinging tentacles of the host anemone. The sea anemone protects the clownfish from predators, as well as providing food through the scraps left from the anemone’s meals and occasional dead anemone tentacles. In return, the clownfish defends the anemone from its predators and parasites. Clownfish are small-sized, 10–18cm, and depending on species, they are overall yellow, orange, or a reddish or blackish color, and many show white bars or patches. Clownfish are found in warmer waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans and in the Red Sea in sheltered reefs or shallow lagoons.
Nikon D300 Nikkor 10.5mm f2.8 Fisheye lens, 1/30th sec @ f18, ISO 200, Sea & Sea Housing and Two Sea & Sea YS250,Taken at 18m on scuba at Sodwana Bay, South Africa
Late afternoon in the Grumeti region of the Serengeti National Park, a troop of Colobus monkeys were found foraging in a very large tree. Suddenly this magnificent specimen took to the air and leaped across to a further branch.
Black and white Colobus - Colobus guereza
Large, shaggy black and white monkey with a grim expression. Sturdy, pot-bellied frame, hind legs longer and stronger than forelegs, with large feet, hands with a stub for a thumb. Their mantle hair and tails are believed to act as a parachute during long leaps. They live in troops of 8 to 15 individuals and can live to 20 years in the wild. They have been reported to eat concrete as well as unripe fruits, flowers, bark and soil. They have an incredible four-chambered stomach, allowing them to process foods that would make other primates sick. Babies are born with an all-white fur coat. They are still hunted for bush meat and their incredible fur.
Nikon D5 with Nikon VR 80-400mm, f4.5 –5.6 G ED lens with Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC – 14 E III 1.4x, effective focal length 550mm, 1/1600 sec @ f13, ISO 1800
Mid-morning in the Masai Mara National Park, this Zebra plunged into the Mara River together with other Zebras and Wildebeest as part of the annual migration river crossings. As the Zebra plunged into the river the resulting splash almost completely enveloped the Zebra.
Plains Zebras - Equus Quagga
African version of the horse. Portly built, weighing around 250kg. Striping varies geographically and individually. Horse-like angulates built for speed and endurance.
Nikon D5 with Nikon VR 80-400mm, f4.5 –5.6 G ED lens with Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC – 14 E III 1.4x, effective focal length 550mm, 1/2500 sec @ f18, ISO 3600
Big eyes move around underwater almost like a cloud of interested youngsters, swirling with little energy as can be seen in the background whilst those with more courage come up in a group to get a good look. They were quite accommodating, allowing me to join the school provided I didn’t make sudden moves or exhale vast amounts of noisy bubbles. I love photographing these fish, when you first see them they look like a school of black and silver fish, but when the strobe lights them up the black turns out to be vivid red, a perennial crowd pleaser contrasting with the cool blues of the water. When beginner divers see the photos they ask where the bright red fish were since they only saw black and silver ones.
Crescent-tail Bigeye - Priacanthus hamrur
Priacanthus hamrur is a reef-associated species, living in tropical marine waters on outer reef slopes, rocky areas and in lagoons at depths of 8-250m. The body of the Crescent-tail Bigeye is relatively deep, strongly compressed laterally. The eyes are very large and red (even in case of silver livery). The body of these fishes go through various phases of color, and may vary from orange to entirely red or silver, or silver with broad six red bands.
Nikon D300 Nikkor 10.5mm f2.8 Fisheye lens, 1/400th sec @ f11, ISO 200, Sea & Sea Housing and Two Sea & Sea YS250 strobes on ¼ power. Taken on scuba at 25m at manta reef, Tofo, Mozambique
This stingray was found free-swimming across the reef surface in deep water and its natural curiosity brought it over to my camera. It was quite calm and resembled a magic carpet as it gracefully glided in towards me with undulations of its disk. They are gentle creatures and will often approach divers in order to satisfy their curiosity. The eye is quite visible in the photo as it gives me the once over, investigating this strange scuba creature blowing bubbles and certainly not exhibiting the grace of a creature perfectly designed for life in the ocean.
Smalleye Stingray - Megatrygon microps
TThe Smalleye Stingray measures up to 2.2m across. Rare but widely distributed, it is found in the Indo-Pacific from Mozambique to India, and to northern Australia. This species may be semi-pelagic in nature, inhabiting both deeper waters and shallow coastal reefs and estuaries. It is characterised by a diamond-shaped pectoral fin disc much wider than long, a tail that is broad and flattened in front of the spine but whip-like behind, and large white spots over its back. The very wide shape of the Smalleye Stingray differs from that of most other members of its family, and may reflect a mode of swimming from bottom dwelling to mid water journeys.
Nikon D300 Nikkor 10.5mm f2.8 Fisheye lens, 1/50 sec @ f10, ISO 200, Sea & Sea Housing and Two Sea & Sea YS250 strobes on ¼ power. Taken on scuba at 25m off Tofo, Mozambique
Very early morning in the Ngorogoro Crater, Tanzania, a flock of East African crowned cranes flew past. The straw-yellow crowned feathers were neatly blown back by the wind creating an unusual perspective.
TEast African Crowned Crane / Grey – Crowned Crane - Balearica regulorum
TThe East African Crowned Crane is a slate grey colour with an elongated neck and body. The primary and secondary feathers are dark grey with chestnut markings. The cheek patches are bare, with white at the bottom and a small red patch on top. A distinctive crane with long golden crown feathers.
Nikon D5 with Nikon VR 80-400mm, f4.5 – f5.6 G ED lens with Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III 1.4xeffective focal length 320 mm, 1/1600 sec @ f11, ISO 400
Late afternoon in the Grumeti region of the Serengeti National Park, this Lioness was found moving her cubs from their den to a new more secure one situated within a thick clump of bushes.
Lion - Panthera leo
Call of the African Wild, King of African Carnivores. Lionesses are low slung but large and powerful, weighing around 125kg. When prey is plentiful, Lions spend 20 hours out of 24 conserving energy, becoming active in late afternoon; hunt most actively early and late at night and for a couple of hours after daybreak. Lions can become active at any time, day or night, hungry or gorged, so that when easy opportunities to catch prey present themselves, they react immediately and take advantage. Lions kill and often eat all other carnivores, including Leopards and Cheetahs, but rarely Hyenas. Lion cubs tend to be woolly with greyish, spotted coats when born, changing to an adult coat by three months of age.
Nikon D5 with Nikon VR 80-400mm, f4.5 – 5.6 G ED lens with Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III 1.4x, effective focal length 550 mm, 1/1250 sec @ f14, ISO 2800
Early evening on Mnemba Island, Zanzibar, this baby turtle hatchling successfully managed to emerge from the sand nest amongst over one hundred other siblings to navigate its way down to the beach to finally reach the sea, despite toppling over several times.
Green Sea Turtle - Chelonia mydas
The green turtle is a large, weighty sea turtle with a wide, smooth carapace, or shell. It is named not for the colour of its shell, which is normally brown or olive depending on its habitat, but for the greenish colour of its skin. Green turtles, like other sea turtles, undertake lengthy migrations from feeding sites to nesting grounds. To nest, females leave the sea and choose an area, often on the same beach used by their mothers, to lay their eggs. They dig a pit in the sand with their flippers, fill it with a clutch of 100 to 200 eggs, cover the pit and return to the sea, leaving the eggs to hatch after about two months. The most dangerous time of a green turtle’s life is when it makes the journey from nest to sea. Multiple predators, including crabs and flocks of gulls, voraciously prey on hatchlings during this short scamper.
Nikon D4S with AF Nikon 24 – 120mm, 1.4 G ED lens at 120mm 1/320 sec @ f6.3, +0.3 EV, ISO 10000
Very early morning in the Ngorogoro Crater, as the dawn broke, a ray of light reflected off the wings and bodies of a large number of beautiful pink Lesser Flamingos.
Lesser Flamingo - Phoeniconaias minor
The Lesser Flamingo has a white and crimson plumage with a dark red bill and long stilt-like legs. These beautiful birds are common and make a distinctive “honk-honk” sound. They live nomadic lives across shallow freshwater lakes, salt pans and estuaries.
Nikon D5 with Nikon VR 80-400mm, f4.5 – 5.6 G ED lens with Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III 1.4x, effective focal length 550 mm, 1/2000 sec @ f13, ISO 2200
Mid-afternoon on a river bank in the Grumeti region of the Serengeti National Park, this magnificent Nile Crocodile was found displaying its large powerful body and ferocious teeth while at the same time showing off its exquisite and beautiful scales on its body and legs./p>
TNile Crocodile - Crocodylus niloticus
The Nile Crocodile is common in many parts of Africa. Like all crocodiles, the Nile Crocodile is a quadruped with four short, splayed legs, a long, powerful tail, a scaly hide with rows of ossified scutes running down its back and tail, and powerful jaws. The nostrils, eyes, ears are situated on the top of the head, so the rest of the body can remain concealed underwater. The Nile Crocodile is the largest crocodilian in Africa, the male crocodile usually measures 3.5 to 5m long, but very old mature ones can grow to 5.5m or more. Typical Nile Crocodile weight is from 225 to 500kg, though large males can range up to 750kg in mass. Their mouths are filled with a total of 64 to 68 cone-shaped teeth.
Nikon D500 with Sigma 150-600mm, f5 – 6.3 DG lens with Sigma Teleconverter 1.4x TC – 1401 for Nikon, effective focal length 700 mm, 1/3200 sec @ f11, ISO 22800