Best Big Cat Photo Safari

Africa Geographic: The winners of our Best Video Clip 2018 competition

The time has come to announce the winners of our Best Video Clip of 2018! With over 350 videos clips entered, the judges had a tough task of watching and selecting some brilliant clips showing the best African wildlife has to offer. We selected a staggering 131 video clips that we felt displayed Africa at her best, and each stood a chance of winning one of two prizes.

Two prizes of US$500 each are up for grabs – one going to our overall winner (determined by the AG judges), and the other to our ‘Audience’ Favourite (decided by the public, via voting).

So without further ado, here are the winners and the highly commendable runners-up!

2018 BEST VIDEO CLIP WINNER

• Dry season crowds at an Etosha waterhole, Namibia © Pieter Botha

Comment from the judges:
This exceptional clip is what ‘slow safari’ is all about – no drama or viral events – just Africa’s wildlife doing its thing. Etosha’s waterholes at the end of the dry winter season are often very busy, but even seasoned safari-goers will be amazed at the sheer volume of wildlife gathered to drink in this clip.  

TWO HIGHLY COMMENDABLE RUNNERS-UP

• Five lions fighting in Kruger National Park, South Africa © Jennifer Kucherawy

Comment from the judges:
This brief, powerful clip goes to the core of what big male lions are all about. Far from the dignified Disney characters we were misinformed about as kids, male lions are tough, stoic warriors with a fierce drive to spread their genes, dominate territory and beat the often insurmountable odds of survival in Africa’s wild places.

• Leopard mother and cub playing at Londolozi Private Game Reserve, South Africa © Nick Kleer

Comment from the judges:
This clip has a ‘cuteness alert’ warning label! This tiny leopard cub tests mom’s patience with boundless energy, sharp teeth and rodeo-style antics. Hunting and fighting skills are honed during these important early days, and the cub will move onto stalking insects, birds and other small creatures before being coached onto larger prey species.

2018 AUDIENCE FAVOURITE – as judged by the public

Elephants taking a mud bath © Matrishva Vyas (9163 votes)


Congratulations to our winners and to the highly commendable runners-up! And thank you to all who entered, it has been an honour judging your fantastic video clips and sharing them with our worldwide audience.
Best Big Cat Photo Safari

Nose-to-nose with one big cat!

 

A lioness on the prowl in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

 

Written, and photographs, by Jane Ludlow

This particular sighting happened on our yearly excursion to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa. During the night we had heard lions roaring, so when morning came we were quick to get out onto the sandy roads to try and locate them.

The roads up in the northern Kgalagadi are very narrow and very sandy! The grader routinely does a good job and the result is sandy ridges on either side of the road and –  relatively speaking – a sunken road.

After only ten minutes of driving we found two lionesses stalking a herd of wildebeest. The lionesses had positioned themselves so that one of them would flush the herd of wildebeest and hopefully get them to run towards the other lioness.

Now as mentioned earlier we only saw these two lionesses and were definitely not aware of any other cats around…

A lioness on the prowl in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

The lionesses positioned themselves so that one of them would flush the wildebeest towards the other © Jane Ludlow

Well, since I kept trying to get a good shot of a potential killing I needed my husband, Jim, to reverse a little bit to avoid the camera from focusing on the bushes between us and the lioness closest to us. So he did – very, very slowly – and I was supposed to say “when” when the vehicle got into a position that provided the perfect shot.

The “when” did not come, so Jim kept reversing one centimetre at a time.

Meanwhile, to my utter surprise, I found myself looking not at the closest lioness anymore, but straight into the amber-yellow eyes of a young male lion sitting on the sand ridge half a metre from my face! Jim continued reversing and the lion and I had ample (very ample) time to really look at each other nose-to-nose. He was close enough to lick the window!

Close up of a young male lion in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Up close and personal with the young male lion © Jane Ludlow

Jim, who by this time had got tired of reversing, stopped and he too saw what I was looking at, rolled up the window and asked why in a million years I did not react?!

I think my gut feeling said “Do not move” and since the lion must have had a similar gut feeling we just continued to look at each other for what seemed like forever!

Luckily I managed to get one shot of him before the window was up. I think the photo says it all!

Funnily the lion must have had some excitement too. He dashed over to who I think was his mom, and started nuzzling her as if to get comfort. She, being fully intent on the hunt, just sent him off to a position that would form a triangle and thus augment the chances of a kill. After a few minutes, though, he made a whelpish move which alerted the wildebeest who immediately took off…

… and so did we!

The male lion in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

The lion in position to help with the hunt © Jane Ludlow

Source: Africa Geographic