Elephant Plains: Cats on the Prowl

Andrew Reports from Elephant Plains: Cats on the Prowl

We set out this morning searching for tracks – any predator tracks, and saw plenty of general game as we searched for spoor all the way to Big Dam. A beautiful mist hung over the water, tinged by the rising sun, and perfect for photography. When a couple of elephant bulls wandered onto the scene, it was as though that was exactly what we were waiting for to complete our images. 

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Then a large breeding herd of elephants arrived. I know we have seen plenty of elephants here but this herd had the cutest baby one could imagine. It was performing, running around, and then focussed on us. Trunk flying in all directions, the tiny tyke charged us, then realised what it was doing and scuttled away in fright. It was the cutest encounter ever with an elephant.

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Hearing that a cheetah online casino had been spotted in the East we headed there, and found a beautiful female with two one year old cubs. They started sort of hunting … well, actually they simply darted after a waterbuck. Then the mother spotted a couple of Steenbuck, and some serious stalking started.

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When the cubs joined in the action things really fell apart. The mother had managed to approach to within about 30 meters, when one of the cubs exuberantly tried to approach from a different direction. By some coincidental accident of fate, the two buck started to run directly towards the mother cheetah.

Maybe there were just too many moving parts, but the Steenbuck managed to zig-zag through the cheetahs, to escape into the bush.

This afternoon our trackers found leopard tracks and soon we caught up with Salayexe.

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We photographed her doing a walk past and were still busy when a duiker crossed the road ahead of us. Salayexe was off like a streak of lightning, and the two disappeared within a few seconds.

It was already sunset when we heard that the large Breakaway Pride of lions were not far away. Four lionesses and nine subadults were in the best possible position for spotlighting, and our side-lit and backlit images were exactly what we wanted. 

Tomorrow is our final day here … so off to the lions at first light …