Ross is deeply rooted in the African bush, having grown up in Zimbabwe.
A keen photographer, Ross has often represented Singita and received many awards, had articles published in magazines and contributed images to organizations for fundraising purposes. As Singita’s resident photographer, he has the scope and passion to elevate safaris and to create an unforgettable experience for each participant.
He seems uncannily intuitive when it comes to animal behavior and when he teams up with a tracker they ‘read’ the bush and deliver uniquely sensory adventures that keep guests craving more. Ross believes that observers can see clearly how special each species is when watching them interact in the wild and he favors overcast, rainy days as these often surprise with feline activity.
His favorite sighting was seeing a female leopard causally walking past his vehicle, gently carrying an 8-week-old cub in her jaws.
After guiding for several years, there is wish list that starts to grow on what you would like to see or experience whilst being in the wild on a daily basis. I am privileged to have the opportunity to work daily in the bush, whether its sharing my love and passion for the bushveld with guests or taking a leisurely walking trail on my own. In my capacity of being the resident photographer for Singita, it has afforded many opportunities. The safari wish list is endless, whether it is adding to a bird list, seeing an elephant up close or a nocturnal creature like a honey badger – there is a thrill of ticking sightings off the list.
I started my career at Singita in the Kruger National Park. I loved the area; it was wild, full of surprises and pure remote wilderness. When I started guiding in the area, general wildlife viewing was plentiful with a strong abundance of lion that dominated the area as the main predator. There were a few leopard sightings that were reported, particularly that we were able to identify; however they were slowly habituating to the vehicles as we explored the remoteness of the area. The leopards soon realized that we were not a threat and as the guides maintained a comfortable distance from the elusive predators, this enabled being able to recognise certain individuals or watch behavioural indicators that would warrant maintaining a distance or permitting a closer view.
Living ‘bush’ allows us to watch the ebb and flow of nature taking her natural course with the circle of life. It is such a privilege to experience the unique feeling that we are a small part of an animal’s life. Over the last seven years working at Singita, I have watched leopards come and go in various Singita regions, true to the peak and trough of leopard populations in the wild.
The lions have been extremely active this month. The Mhangene pride is growing in size and they are gaining numbers, as there is a constant change within the pride families.
Shortly after killing a zebra, the Othawa pride along with the three cubs were chased off by the older male coalition, Matimba brothers. The three females moved swiftly away from the area, with the young cubs and it was quite the sight with the lions moving across the grasslands, as their tawny colouring blended perfectly into the surrounding area.
The Schotia female has unknowingly moved her mother from her residing territory and settled down in a perfect portion of wilderness. Watching her raise her two cubs has been emotional as we all are rooting for both the cubs to survive, as this is not always the norm.
An extremely rare sighting occurred this month with the next one only happening in eight year’s time. A phenomenon that would have been seen in only a few counties this time, a well known sight to some, the blood moon. The occurrence of Earth and the moon being in perfect alignment for the shadow to be cast over the moon leaving it with a reddish color for over three hours during the total eclipse.
Recently I had a very fortunate experience watching a female leopard move her cubs for the first time towards a stashed away impala carcass, which was a fair distance away from her den-site. As soon as the cubs are approximately three months old they are often introduced to feeding on carcasses. This is a risky prospect as the cubs would be exposed to the scavenging species such as hyena that could easily kill the young leopards.
As the summer fades into the autumn season, the cooler morning temperatures and soft breezes in the evening along the seasonal river courses remind us of the yearly change taking place. Through the summer we have been fortunate enough to watch the innocence of young members of various species play out in the wild and on some occasions been witness to them being delivered.
Is there really an isolated moment that would sum up an entire safari experience? What would yours be?
I have thought about this on a few occasions. We have the ability to freeze ‘one moment’ that could be considered the isolated experience that will stick with us forever. It is hard to imagine that only one moment would be singled out, generally with most stories there are a number of elements that make up an unforgettable experience.
With the jolly season upon us, we cannot help think the wildlife think the same about a muddy bath or the downpour of rain. As we watch them frolic in the mud for various purposes there is enjoyment within their actions.
We have a name! Last month we were deliberating on a fitting name for the Hlaba’Nkunzi female’s young son.
Some rangers and trackers wanted to keep the tradition of a Shangaan name that most of our leopards have been given, while the staff who have seen him in the lodge areas on a frequent basis wanted his name to be of a more familiar term as he is so frequently seen at both the lodge and staff village.