Elephant Plains Safari: Salayexe Intimidates Hyenas …
(All images photographed from Villiers’ computer screen)
Niel Cillie Reports:
This morning we went out to find Salayexe and Tiyane, her newly named cub. We heard last night that they had a duiker kill and all hopes were that they would still be with the remains. We found Salayexe exactly where we expected her to be, with the kill stashed in a smallish tree – probably because of the hyenas that were present when she made the kill, and she must have quickly hoisted it to the first convenient spot.
Salayexe was relaxing on the ground next to the tree, which was great for us because if she had climbed into the thick, shrubby tree she would have been impossible to photograph.
We spent about an hour an a half with her, photographing her from different angles, and as she moved around.
Then some Spotted Hyenas arrived, and they prowled around, trying again and again to approach. She growled menacingly at them, which kept them at bay – for a while – until they decided to approach from yet another angle. The snarling was really impressive – not only to intimidate the hyenas, but it also reinforced how dangerous wild animals can be …
Having spent most of the morning with Salayexe we took a slow, entertaining ride back to the Lodge.
This afternoon we headed to the east to the Styx Lionesses that reportedly had all eight cubs out in the open.
We stopped along the way at Treehouse Pan to photograph a huge herd of elephants that arrived at the water. They were drinking, splashing, playing, and scratching themselves on the trees around the pan. There were also two old ‘dagga boys’ (buffalo) at the dam.
Unfortunately when we reached the area we could see them playing boisterously at the bottom of a deep inaccessible gulley. So we put our cameras down and enjoyed the cavorting cubs through our binoculars, and simply enjoyed the sighting.
We were extremely lucky to spot and photograph a Bronze-winged Courser, a rare nocturnal bird, on the way back to the Lodge, and back at the Lodge everyone is out photographing the African Barred Owlet that seems quite content with our presence and cameras.
Tomorrow we may start again with a visit to Salayexe …