Brendon’s News from Elephant Plains: the Big Five on One Drive
We have been so lucky with leopards in the southern areas that we tried there again this morning. And our luck held …
We quickly found Lamoela, a handsome male leopard, lying comfortably in the road. He gave us enough time for some decent photography before he got up to stroll down the road. We kept up with him, cameras clicking, until he crossed into a neighboring territory.
We turned around to photograph some of the elephants we had passed earlier, and then found a herd of about thirty buffalo. The surrounding areas are pretty dry at this time of year, and as there are a quite a few dams here, large numbers of game, including large herds of buffalo, arrive in search of water.
We haven’t seen many rhino around, so it was a special treat to find two together just before we returned to the Lodge.
We heard that lion tracks were discovered earlier, and we went straight to that area this afternoon, but no sign of the lions. Then a call came through that Tingana (a male leopard) was lying next to a waterhole. We shot through there and arrived just as he got up. We followed him to a termite mound where he posed beautifully for us, draped on the side of the mound. When he felt that we had filled our memory cards sufficiently, he eventually got up and left.
We returned to the waterhole where a very old buffalo bull, with massive, gnarled, worn-down horns covered with mud relaxed in the warm sun.
A message came through that a rhino was in the area, and was possibly heading to the waterhole for a drink … so we waited. After about ten minutes the rhino appeared and walked across the dam wall, at eye level with our vehicle, and with an orange tinged sky as a backdrop. He looked superb! The he came directly towards us, to drink close by. His reflections in the still water as he stood next to the dam created a fabulous picture. So this was really a fabulous rhino sighting.
As we left the scene we found a herd of elephants with a number of youngsters play-acting, running around, and pushing each other in fun.
Well, we thought, as this is our final afternoon drive, maybe we will be lucky enough to find Salayexe and her cub.
We searched and …
Yes! There was the cub, all alone, lying in the road. And within seconds protective mom was there, too, and the two started to walk down the road. The cub seemed determined to trip up his mom as he grabbed her feet, tumbled around under her, and chased her tail.
We heard that two Styx Lions were close by, and left Salayexe and Cub to complete our Big Five Sightings.
Two lionesses were out hunting in the increasing darkness, and although they went in and out of some rather thick bush, we managed some great shots whenever they were in the clear.
For our final game drive in the morning, we would love to see Salayexe and her cub one more time …
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