Sabi Sand Photo Safari at Elephant Plains: Turmoil and Smells at the Elephant Carcass …

Hendri Reports from Elephant Plains at Sabi Sand Game Reserve …

(Images from Hendri and from back of Brendon’s Camera)

When we left in the early darkness this morning it was quite surprisingly hot and humid. We bravely headed straight to the elephant carcass from yesterday, hoping that the stench would not be too awful. We arrived to find about seven hyenas eating, but the overpowering smell was so gross that we didn’t linger.

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Instead we went in search of Thandi and her cub. We found the two leopards walking down the road, not far from where we left them at their kill yesterday. We all captured some great images of the two as they strolled, quite unfazed by our vehicle.

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We thought it may be worth our while to try the elephant carcass again. I mean, how bad could it be – and just for a few minutes, we decided. When we arrived, one of the hyenas was carrying the tail of the elephant, very pleased with his prize as he looked for a secluded spot to hide it from his mates.

A large number of White-backed Vultures just about covered the carcass, surrounded it while those with less luck looked on, hoping for a chance to get in there. There was movement everywhere!

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To add to the picture of turmoil, there was constant interaction between the hyenas and the vultures, with hyenas sending flocks of birds into the air, then vultures sending hyenas scurrying away. Each lot returned again and again to continue feeding and squabbling!

This afternoon we decided to try and find Salayexe. Both our vehicles followed her tracks but without results.

Then, before sunset we spotted a leopard in a tree with a kill. It turned out to be the Ingrid’s Dam leopard – a young female, and she had a duiker kill. We positioned our vehicles to photograph the leopard with the vibrant colours of the setting sun behind her.

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That was very successful, and when she came down from the tree we quickly drove to the nearby water-hole, hoping that she was heading that way for a drink. Yes! That is precisely what she did and again our photos were quite remarkable. And when she went to lie down we used the spotlights for front-, side-, and back-lit shots.

Finally the leopard got up, had another drink with lovely reflections in the water, and disappeared into the bush.

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We returned to the tree with the kill, hoping that she was headed that way, but no! This time we were unlucky and although we waited until it was time to return to the Lodge, she did not reappear.

 

But in the morning we will probably start with a quick check to find her because her kill is still up in that tree …