One of the Clarendon male lions lying on his back at the end of a hot afternoon.

Photography: A Radiant Summer

Text and photographs: Joe Welman

The first rains fell at the end of October of last year signaling the beginning of the rainy season and ending the terrible drought. The drought was the worst we had experienced in almost three decades, but was brought to its knees in spectacular fashion by some of the most electrifying thunderstorms you can imagine.

The animals seemed to rejoice. The cubs from the Eyrefield pride were joyfully running up and down termite mounds during the first morning-rain. The buffalo herds dispersed immediately as drinking water became abundant.  Pioneer plant species heroically pushed through the earth’s surface a short couple of days later. These plants rooted the topsoil, created shade and by doing this improved conditions for the successors.

It is now three months later and the grass stands tall at waist level. Numerous wildflowers are blossoming as if to celebrate the miracle of life itself. The zebra herds have returned and so has the wildebeest.

The dawn chorus comprising of both resident as well as migratory birdsong starts early every morning as if to urge the sun on to make an appearance. Once the sun has risen the sound of singing cicadas follows, the conclusive indication that it is in fact summer.

A lightening storm.

A lightening storm.

 

The Eyrefield pride with a buffalo kill they had made during the first bit of rain we received in late October.

The Eyrefield pride with a buffalo kill they had made during the first bit of rain we received in late October.

 

Temperature and moisture drive the reproduction processes of insects. Termite alates emerge in their tens of thousands on hot days that are preceded by heavy rains.

Temperature and moisture drive the reproduction processes of insects. Termite alates emerge in their tens of thousands on hot days that are preceded by heavy rains.

 

An exuberant impala lamb with its mother in the late afternoon light. Impala births are synchronized in late spring to ensure that at least a part of the lamb population will survive.

An exuberant impala lamb with its mother in the late afternoon light. Impala births are synchronized in late spring to ensure that at least a part of the lamb population will survive.

 

A young elephant bull enjoying a midday bath.

A young elephant bull enjoying a midday bath.

 

A lioness from the Marthly breakaway pride sporting a very regal pose next to our airstrip. A Clarendon male can be seen sleeping in the background.

A lioness from the Marthly breakaway pride sporting a very regal pose next to our airstrip. A Clarendon male can be seen sleeping in the background.

 

A golden coat strikes a strong contrast against the green grass.

A golden coat strikes a strong contrast against the green grass.

 

“Supermom”. The Island female recently gave birth to a healthy looking cub. Here she can be seen crossing the Sand-river on her return to her den site, presumably after a hunt.

“Supermom”. The Island female recently gave birth to a healthy looking cub. Here she can be seen crossing the Sand-river on her return to her den site, presumably after a hunt.

 

One of the Clarendon male lions lying on his back at the end of a hot afternoon.

One of the Clarendon male lions lying on his back at the end of a hot afternoon.

 

Bushveld signal grass at sunset(left). Black-bellied bustard surrounded by Feather-top chloris grass(center). African foxglove(right).

Bushveld signal grass at sunset(left). Black-bellied bustard surrounded by Feather-top chloris grass(center). African foxglove(right).

 

The Tamboti female at days end.

The Tamboti female at days end.