Text and photographs: Ranger Liam Henderson

Driving back to MalaMala Game Reserve after two weeks on leave, rangers can expect to get the tingle of excitement just as they descend the Schoemanskloof pass into the Lowveld of Mpumalanga. It is around this time that the thoughts and wishes start, like for a child who knows that Christmas is coming. What gifts will Mother Nature spoil me with this time around?

The excitement grows as you hit the dirt road leading into the reserve. The ever-familiar sound of dirt beneath the tyres and the rejuvenating smells of the bush prompt you to roll down the windows and switch off the radio. We don’t ever know what to expect, but our hopes remain high, sound in the knowledge that MalaMala always delivers!

The following six photos, taken during my recent six week-shift, showcases what I mean. I hope you enjoy them.

Here are my 6 best photos that I took during my 6 weeks hope you enjoy them.

1. Monkeys

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With winter in full swing, a family of vervet monkeys warm themselves in the morning sun.

2. Wildebeest

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A lone male wildebeest silhouetted against the morning winter sky.

3. Lion

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A member of the Gowrie coalition stops to listen to the sounds of rutting impala in the distance.

4. Owl

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A Verreaux’s eagle-owl perches in the woodlands along the Sand River. The pink eyelids make this bird of prey an interesting, if not humorous, bird to come across in the evening.

5. Cape hunting dog

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A Cape hunting dog snarls at another member of the pack. There is no love lost between these animals.

6. Leopard cub

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A sighting I will struggle to forget. The Lookout female’s cub warms herself on a granite rock before the winter evening chill sets in.