One thing I love about African safaris is that you never know what’s around the corner. All you have to do is sit back, relax… and “expect the unexpected”. This is when real magic happens and you’re in for a treat.

At times however, the “unexpected” turns out to be overwhelming. The following African wildlife pictures illustrate some of those rare moments caught on camera.

Enjoy and share the fun! 😉

Curious cheetah greets tourists

© David Horsey

Karibuni Africa! The expressions are priceless! 🙂

Here’s what Elephant Pepper Camp had to say about the extraordinary encounter:

Last week, our guests were treated to a rather unusual and exciting game drive. A female cheetah and her four cubs jumped aboard one of our vehicles for a lie-down. One little cub was particularly inquisitive and had a good old look at everyone, before the family headed off to pursue other adventures…

Usually very shy, the cheetah in the Mara North Conservancy (Masai Mara, Kenya) are in fact very relaxed around vehicles, although we have to admit this is the most relaxed we’ve seen them! Thank you David Horsey for the brilliant images.

The great escape

Poor impala surely seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time! 🙁

This unusual behavior is hard to explain unless you understand the context! Hannes Lochner shares how the whole scene unfolded right before his eyes:

Here an unlucky impala escapes 7 wild dogs, jumped in a pool and swam across, only to be stopped by angry hippos, tossed around, but the story has a happy ending! Hippo & Wild Dogs 0 Impala 1!

Elephant uses car to relieve itch

This could easily be mistaken with a VW ad, yet it is not! Unfortunately for this couple, the elephant found the quickest form relief was their car.

Armand Grobler, a field guide and lodge manager in South Africa’s Pilanesberg National Park, snapped this amazing photo.

“I was doing ethology (the study of animal behaviour) at the time, so I had a basic understanding of what was going on,” Grobler explains. “The elephant was presumably on musth, which is a time [when] an elephant male has an excess amount of testosterone, turning even the calmest Dumbo into a raging bull.”

Luckily however, despite the bull being in a bit of a frisky mood, Grobler points out that it displayed no signs of aggression and seemed to just be using the car to relieve the itching. Elephants will often use logs, overhanging branches or rocks to ease an itch or to help remove parasites (though there hasn’t been much research into the use of cars for this purpose!).

Grobler adds: “We were unsure of what to do in the situation when the elephant made contact with the car, and when the car was being crushed, we feared for the lives of the driver and passenger but our efforts were very limited as to what we could do.”

“The two passengers in the car, male and female, both in their late 20’s or early 30’s, were not harmed, only badly shaken up. They were both in shock but happy to be alive.”

Read the full story here.

The lion gardener

“Mfuwe Lodge recently had an unexpected vacancy for a gardener”, stated The Bushcamp Company on Twitter.

Feel like joining Simba’s team? 😉 Send your CV and cover letter to Simba will personally choose the best – and most “appetizing” – candidate! Good luck! 🙂

Image by Johan W. Elzenga.

Think twice before “drinking”

Appearances can be deceiving, and this thirsty bull elephant is about to find out why!

Whilst quenching his thirst during the heat of the day, one bull elephant discovered to his cost that he was sticking his nose in where it wasn’t wanted…and that his choice of drinking den wasn’t quite as empty and innocent as it first appeared..!

Fortunately, even a fairly large, sharp-toothed crocodile is no match for a fully grown bull elephant, and it was definitely a case of biting off more than it could chew..! With an ear piercing trumpet the elephant simply blew his nose and dislodged the offending reptile, with little damage…other than to his pride perhaps.

Caught in action by Mfuwe Lodge Manager Ian Salisbury.

Tug of war at Londolozi

Nick Kleer’s life as a trainee ranger at Londolozi suddenly took on a new dimension on the morning of 29 January 2015! Here’s an extract of his amazing encounter that will leave him in bewilderment for years to come:

“We approached the water hole and I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were six hyenas circling in anticipation with their tails up at the water’s edge, with a clearly stressed herd of wildebeest just behind alarming at the scene unfolding in the water. There, about knee deep in the water, stood a female wildebeest with a massive crocodile firmly attached to her nose. In the background the sawing sound of the male leopard we had been looking for echoed through the nearby Maxabeni drainage line. The wildebeest, who quite understandably was under considerable stress, was struggling to break the grasp of the fierce and hungry reptile. Jumping and splashing around, she slowly headed deeper into the dark water. Meanwhile the hyenas continued to circle the edges of the dam hoping to grab hold of the struggling mammal. All the while a single female hippo had been watching from across the dam. What happened next was something nobody could have seen coming…”

Full account here.

I’m out of here!

While the above leopard appears to be on the run, Lets Kamogelo explains it was totally relaxed as the scene unfolded:

We followed this leopard for most of the morning as she was hunting and eventually she went up a tree to rest. As she was still up there a breeding herd of elephant came and fed just around the tree. The leopard never saw that as a threat as she came down close to one of the cows.

Nikon D7000, Nikon Lense 70-200 mm f/2.8, 1/2000 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800

Competing for stripes

John Lyall is one lucky Governors Il Moran Camp customer as he captured moments that most safari enthusiasts could only dream of!

“There was an exciting sighting recently when two crocodile were seen with the carcass of a zebra on the bank of the Mara River. The smaller of the two crocodiles quickly receded back into the river, and as soon as it had gone a male leopard then materialized from the long grass on the bank above and started to compete with the one large crocodile for the meal. The leopard tugged away and snarled, all the time the crocodile did not give in, after a few minutes, only when the leopard released his grip the crocodile swung around and took the complete remains of the Zebra back into the river. The leopard appeared shocked that the crocodile moved very quickly complete with meal.”