It’s a beautiful, slightly overcast and chill morning in Pilanesberg National Park In North West Province, South Africa. Basil, me and my lucky hat got up at 2:30am to be here and it’s been a long uneventful drive but I’m hoping this chill weather will bring the animals out longer into the day and normally I’d be faced with harsh sunlight at that time, but with this slight flat overcast I’m hoping the light will still be good and I’ll be able to photograph much longer into today, than I had expected. I’m sitting here with a few beautiful Hippo. Looks like a mother and a calf In a lovely sort of dammed off portion of the river and it’s always worth sitting around and waiting because I haven’t seen anything for the last 20 or 30 minutes. And I’m not losing out on staying here and waiting with these two. and seeing what happens because quite often They’ll make lovely rumbling sounds in the water lot’s of snorting They’ll stick their eyes up above the water and wiggle their ears and, sometimes if we’re lucky they’ll get up and do a big yawn for the camera which is great It’s the Green Season at the moment and the rain has fallen recently and that means two things, the grass has come up, it’s lovely and succulent and there’s water in little puddles and potholes all over the reserve. And that means that it is difficult to find wildlife because they’re spread out, there’s abundant food abundant water. They don’t need to congregate near these waterholes that we’d normally find them at in winter. Mankwe dam lies at the heart of the Pilanesberg. It’s a low lying area that’s formed by this ring of volcanic rocks. The Pilanesberg is actually an ancient volcano and it’s attractive to animals because of the plentiful water supply and the good grazing on its banks and the lovely open areas of grassland. It also has a really productive bird hide that’s well worth visiting. I’m in the middle of a herd of breeding elephants. which is a little bit nerve wracking. But so far I’m ok. The problem with these guys is they sneak up behind you while your watching watching the one in front and you don’t realise suddenly there’s a big elephant looming in your rear view mirror that you didn’t know about and you’re stuck. You can’t go forwards or backwards. They are walking down the road at the moment So I am sort of at the front of the herd. I’v just got one car parked behind me blocking my escape. And a couple of, well actually three, rather large elephants on my right that are sort of interacting with each other. Eating and being a bit frisky generally, so I’m probably gonna have to reverse very shortly. It only takes one angry elephant to ruin your day and these elephants in Pilanesberg Have a bit of a reputation for doing just that. Sort of resting their trunks on cars, rolling them over or just sitting on them and squashing them. So it’s as well to be careful. Luckily Basil Is a pretty large vehicle and quite tall with a rooftop tent. Pretty much as big as a medium sized elephant so is a little bit more difficult to to intimidate, I guess from an elephants point of view than some of these little city cars like a Polo or a Jazz or something. Those are the ones that normally get sat on. It’s really beuatiful up here on top of the hills in the Pilanesberg There’s lovely candy floss white clouds in this hazy blue sky at the moment and a beautiful cool breeze washing through these green, green grasses up here and it’s FRESH and it feels WONDERFUL, so summery. This long hot afternoon is drawing to a close. It’s 4:30pm, it’s still hazy but very bright and I don’t think the lights going to be good until very near closing time at 7pm And that’s too late for me. I’ve got a long drive home and I can’t afford to stay that long. So, I think I’m heading south now towards the exit gate, slowly and I’ll see what I can see but I think I’m on my way home.