Up Close and Personal Wildlife Moments

Another hot, adventure-filled month has come and gone, and as the year draws to an end, we’re always filled with feelings of gratitude as we look back at some of the magic of Nambiti Hills. Being a ranger means we get to interact with enthused wildlife fanatics from around the world on a daily basis: that’s you, our guests! PLUS… we get to show off our wild back yard filled with some of our most favourite animals.

Here’s a recap of this month’s adventures with some up close and personal moments.

Rock Python
Up close and personal… is not really something you want to be when you come across this Rock Python. Thank heavens for a super-sized zoom lens that allowed us to capture this intimate shot.

Elephant Feet
Those toenails! Somebody needs to take a trip to our magical Zolile Spa for an African Revitalising Foot Ritual.

Is it a tree? Is it a branch? No… it’s a beautifully silhouetted portrait of a Kudu ; weary of our presence and on the look out for danger.

Bird of Prey
Soaring high up in the cloudy skies on an impressive wing span, this over-sized bird of prey almost goes unnoticed.

Elephant Tusk
The iconic simplicity of a tusk and wrinkled skin. You can’t see it in its entirety, but you know what it is!

Ranger: Iris

The Dance Off


Have you ever been to the ballet?
I haven’t. But I witnessed something the other day which made me feel like I was right there, front and centre, at my very own personal show.

A young lioness unknowingly walks right into the path of her crinkled challenger. They both stop and stare at each other for what feels like forever. The lioness takes a step forward… and the show begins as the two dance around each other in a cloud of dust.

It was not an aggressive scene, nor a playful one. Just two passers-by showing off their moves, putting their best foot forward and maybe a little bit of bravado too, before strutting off in opposite directions as if nothing had happened.

It’s moments like these that I’m thankful I had my camera with me. Because without this special scene caught on camera, no one would have believed me.

Ranger Iris

Flocking to Nambiti Hills

Brown snake eagle 2

Upon arrival, guests are collected from the car park and brought via ranger to the lodge, where our team of smiley, happy faces await. Us rangers are the ones who collect the guests, so we’re the ones who get to see first hand how their mood changes from one of stress, city-thinking and work work work… to a happier place as we head through the lodge gates.

Martial Eagle

Martial Eagle

Welcome drinks are served and guests familiarise themselves with their surroundings, lounging around the reading room or sitting out on the deck watching the animals in the distance. While all this time, the mood continues to transform as they unwind and kick-off some of that everyday stress. And how could you not, when the sound of cars and alarm clocks and urban ‘noise’ is quickly replaced with a chorus of birds singing so loudly and so beautifully that you forget you even came from the city. That’s what I love about this place. That the smallest of birds can have the biggest impact.

Secretary Bird

Secretary Bird

While winter causes some bird species to migrate, the warmer winter we’ve had this year has spoilt us with a colourful variety of birds that sing and play and dance around the lodge. We’ve spotted fork tailed drongos, crested barbets, martial eagles, secretary birds, brown snake eagles, speckled mouse birds and glossy starlings, to name only a handful.

It’s the first thing you hear in the morning – we call it the Nambiti Hills alarm clock, and the last thing you hear at night – a soothing bedtime lullaby. And it puts an end to the perfect day.

Ranger: Kelwan

Speckled Mouse Bird

Speckled Mouse Bird

Fork-tailed Drongo

Fork-tailed Drongo

Capped Bull Bull

Capped Bull Bull

Pops of Colour

Elephants at dusk

When I think of the bush or safaris and game drives… one of the first things that comes to my mind, is the idea of camouflage. We spoke about it a while back when Reggie admitted he loved the whispered cheers of his guests when he was able to point out an animal so cleverly hidden in the earthy canvas.

Camouflage is an amazing tool, helping the animals to blend into their surroundings so that you can’t tell where the Buffalo ends and the mud begins…
Buffalo at Nambiti Hills

But what I love, is the reverse of this.
When everything you see is one tone, one shade, one canvas… and there, sitting quietly in the middle of it all, is the most beautiful Pop Of Colour. Whether it’s a brightly coloured bird, a speckled brown giraffe or a striking sun setting against a dark grey background, I always try to capture these “pops” on camera. Here are some of our latest finds. Enjoy.

Ranger Kelwan.
Birds at Nambiti Hills
Guinea Fowl at Nambiti HIlls

Black & White


There’s something about a picture, captured in black and white, that adds a sense of nostalgia. As if, frozen in time, this was a moment with meaning.

Today’s morning spent out on the lodge was particularly successful and filled with meaningful moments. As a passionate and enthusiastic wildlife photographer, I am always looking for opportunities to capture special moments as well as to use the time out there developing my style and, if I’m honest, becoming friends with my camera.

The more time I spend surrounded by beautiful scenery and a wealth of animals big and small, the more I am reminded of the fact that the perfect pictures – the ones of a lion kill or a charging elephant herd, are not the only “great” pictures you can take.


For me, those hectic blink-and-you-missed-it moments are stressful. Yes, there are times when you do catch the shot of a lifetime and it was well worth it. But personally I prefer, or if I may say so, I am better at taking pictures where I am quiet, and present, in the moment: a mom and her infant walking along a river bank, unaware of my pointing lens; a sleepy face waking from a sun-filled afternoon nap; a light snack from a low lying bush or a quiet drink on a humid day; a lonely bloom adding a pop of colour to an otherwise khaki background…


These are the moments that say “I’ve been to Nambiti Hills and I’ve see the real beauty of it all”. It’s about capturing the moment, and experiencing it too. Close-ups, abstract objects, sunsets, horizons, bugs and flowers… no matter the subject, share your pictures with us. We’d love to see what caught your eye, and your heart, during your stay at Nambiti Hills.

Keeping capturing those moments. Until next time.

Ranger – Iris