The Big Five – and A Strange Warthog Trespasser at Elephant Plains …

Brendon’s News from the Sabi Sand Photo Safari:

It was cool and drizzly as we left the Lodge this morning, and we all thought that oh dear, it is one of those days when the animals remain sheltered and out of sight.

We were wrong.

Shortly after leaving the Lodge we found a lone lioness. She was walking around hither and thither, contact calling all the time, trying to locate her pride. We thought it could be the female that was mating recently and having separated from the male she was trying to rejoin her pride. We followed her as she called and called, going here, then changing direction, trying this way, then that.

Eventually she went to stand on a small termite mound where called for several minutes. Again and again she called. Suddenly she dashed off to a bush about five meters from the mound where she grabbed a baby impala. She had spotted the little animal while calling and was not going to miss the chance of a quick meal. Lions are truly opportunistic hunters. She took her kill to a thicket where she lay down to consume her meal.

When she completed her meal the big cat resumed her quest to find her pride. We followed her until she disappeared into a dense thicket and we could no longer keep up with her.

We went in search of the male lion, and while we were trying to find his tracks we bumped into a single male rhino, and soon thereafter we found elephants and then buffalo. So we were well on our way to marking off the Big Five for the day … only a leopard still to be spotted.

So the bush surprised us again! Having expected a dull morning because of the weather, we ended up enjoying a busy, exciting and varied time.

This afternoon was still quite cool and overcast, but there was no drizzle. We visited the hyena den where we were totally taken aback when a warthog appeared and actually went right into the hyena hole in a termite mound. He went right in! Naturally the resident hyenas objected furiously and gathered around the hole, venting their anger. We expected the warthog to emerge and to bolt from the scene, but no – he remained in the hole! He had chosen his sleeping quarters for the night and the hyenas could fuss as much as they pleased, he had no intention of leaving. The hyenas were very confused that the warthog was cuddling up with their hyena pups in the den but they could do nothing about it! A strange situation indeed!

We heard that a leopard had been spotted in the east. We found a female leopard walking steadily and then noticed that she was following a hyena. She moved as though she had a purpose in mind. Ahhh … that was why … she picked up a baby impala and quickly dragged it up into a tree. She clearly had thought that the hyena was on its way to pinch her kill, and she followed to retrieve it.

We remained with the leopard and her kill until after sunset when our flashes and spotlights came out and we could capture the scene with the gradually changing sky as a beautiful background.

Against all our early expectations, we ended up having another outstanding day here at the Sabi Sand Reserve, and we have more to look forward to …