Celebrating the seasons with Annabelle Venter

Ti Melen – The African castle in the capital
May 5, 2017
More ways to spend the days
May 9, 2017
Ti Melen – The African castle in the capital
May 5, 2017
More ways to spend the days
May 9, 2017

Text and Photographs Annabelle Venter

| Main photo: Hundreds of black-winged stilts feed in Fischer’s Pan in eastern Etosha during March.

I seem to be permanently tuned into the bushveld TV station, always watching what the weather is doing (my British ancestry could just be responsible for that too), but most importantly – what is happening outside in nature. Did I just hear the distant rumble of thunder, or see the first European bee-eater of summer?

M y nature-loving parents introduced me early on to the endless pleasures of connecting to the natural world and wildlife photography now helps me record the changing seasons, with special attention given to detail, colour, big cats and elephants. It’s a passion I fortunately share with my husband and each year is carefully planned around capturing seasonal happenings.  It’s often said that Namibia has just two seasons – wet and dry – but there is much more to that than meets the eye, if you know where to look. Let the journey begin!

Gloriosa superba flowers in orange January splendour in the Mahango National Park.
In September we often make the pilgrimage to the Zambezi River to photograph the mating rituals of the southern-carmine, as they arrive to the nest. Here two males battle it out, making for a wonderful photographic opportunity.
By early December the birds are already raising their chicks. The swallow-tailed bee-eaters are feeding their young and this provides hours of photographic entertainment!
Two male lions have their giraffe meal interrupted by a heavy December rainstorm and engage in some bonding before taking shelter under nearby bushes.

The cycle of life continues, waiting for spring again and those first acacia flowers. Each year brings new discoveries and delights that you didn’t notice last year!

Elephants are particularly desperate for water during this dry time and visit the waterholes in the late afternoons. Great dust clouds accompany them and you just need to sit and wait.
Annabelle Venter (7 of 9)
While heading home in the golden sunset hour in Etosha we came upon this leopard that had discovered a dead wildebeest (it probably died of anthrax). An opportunistic cat, a leopard will seldom pass up the chance of a free meal.

All too soon the green turns to grey and eventually yellow grass covers the landscape once more. Pickings are lean in winter and all must find food wherever they can.

Annabelle Venter (5 of 9)
Space at the waterhole is limited and the game is wary. A group of young lions practice their hunting skills at Jakkalswater in August.
Annabelle Venter (1 of 1)
My favourite Etosha leopard daintily strolling between the yellow Acacia nebrowniis that flower only in August, when everything else is dull! What better way to depict both the animal’s habitat and the seasonal changes than this?

Desperately dry and already warming up, spring starts early in Namibia, with flowering acacias waking the landscape from its winter slumber in August.

Nature photography for me is a balance between capturing animals in seasonal context as well as ringing the seasonal changes up close.

A Capetonian by birth, I’ve lived in Namibia for almost 30 years.

I trained as a nurse and midwife, then later threw in a BA degree for good measure and now devote my time to capturing the beauty of Africa through wildlife ceramics, photographs and words.

I’m also a Birth Photographer, specialising in the labour and birth itself.

I love the Cape south coast, fynbos-covered mountains, large riverine forests, Mozart and pink lilies (and perhaps a dry pink wine to go with it all!).

The goal of my endeavours is to raise awareness of the natural beauty that surrounds us daily, be it an innocent newborn baby or the first wild flowers of summer.

I’m an Instagram addict because I want to fill my day and yours with beautiful images!



This article was first published in the Travel News Namibia Autumn 2017 issue.

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