From the photographic hide at Mashatu. Botswana

We arrive at the hide
Sitting in a photographic hides demand a lot of patience.
They are not the type of place that you go to
 if you are looking for one specific species.
Rather, they allow you a time of quiet reflection,
where watching and waiting is the name of the game.
This Helmeted Guinea Fowl was part of a group
 that was first to arrive on the morning we were there


This Impala ram was quite skittish and took his time coming to get a drink.
And with good reason, given the fact that currently there is not much drinking water available.
This makes the lives of prey species even more dangerous,
as the predators often hide in the tree line near water.


This Cape Turtle Dove does not normally attract a photographers attention.
However, it seemed to be glaring at the herd of Impala ewes, who had usurped its drinking space.


And our patience is rewarded!
The first elephant family arrives
They arrived so silently that they were less than 2m from the water when we spotted them.
This was probably as they came in from behind the hide.
Later, many of the family groups came to drink directly in front of us.


When a part is greater than the whole.
Elephants lend themselves to this kind of up close photography.
Whether it is a foot in the mud…


Or water gushing from the tip of a trunk…
Both are equally as photogenic as the whole


As the morning heated up, so more and more ellies came to slake their thirst.


A moment of respite from the parade of elephants that had almost taken up residence here.
A Cape Turtle Dove leaves as this Wildebeest takes an opportunity to slake his thirst.


They don’t really need to wipe their noses…


One of the many families leaving.
I have been at other waterhole hides where the interaction between families
 can get rather noisy and sometimes even aggressive.
That was not the case on this morning.
Each group was respectful and as one family drank,
the next patiently waited their turn.
Fun fact #221: Elephants move so silently as they are actually walking on tip-toe.


You don’t need a DSLR with an impressive lens.
As the wild life is so close, a cell phone camera will work equally well.
(I took this image with my cellphone)
“Wait for me”…
This little elephant had gotten a fright when a bird took off close by.
It decided that being close to Mom was a better idea,
and took off in her direction.


An African stand-off?
Elephant v Warthog…
Persistence paid off and the warthog eventually got to have a drink.


A family trio enjoying a quiet drink.
If I closed my eyes, I would neither have heard this huge animals arrive or leave.
Save for the splashing of the water and the occasional deep rumble,
they are able to move with the stealth of a Ninja.
Quite a feat given their size.


In the shadow of giants…
The Quelea seemed to fly in swarms between to trees on the far side of the water.
They occasionally stopped to have a quick drink


Time for a pedicure…
Or at the very least a foot soak.


“Up close and personal”…
Fun fact #452: There are 40000 muscles in an elephant’s trunk!


There is a tiny terrapin in the foreground.
It was drinking the water stirred up by the elephants
as it was possibly cleaner that the standing water.
It did get very close to the elephant on the right,
but “large & little” did not seem to be bothered by each other


There is something almost spiritual  about being this close to the largest land mammal on the planet
The early days of digital photography?
I remember buying one of these 2 mega-pixel cameras when I entered
the then new exciting world of digital photography back in the early 2000’s.
Today, most cell phones have 16-18 mega-pixel capabilities.
Rogers helping photographer Janet Kleyn out of the hide.
This was after our epic photo-shoot at this hide.
They both had to be careful as there were three elephants standing just a short distance away.
Many thanks to Janet for a memorable morning…
and in my case 100’s of images.
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My first pair of “vellies”…
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One of my problems is often lack of battery power
 if I have been using the camera on my phone.
I have tried many “powerbanks”,
but the majority drain before they can fully recharge my device.
This is where this Powerbank has the edge…
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