Brilliant Sightings in Blistering Heat …

Wim Shares His Day from Elephant Plains on the Sabi Sand Photo Safari:

Whew! What a hot day! No rain, just baking, sweltering heat … clear blue skies with temps reaching mid 40s.

Unsurprisingly our morning started fairly quietly – the animals all hid under cover to escape the heat of the sun. But when they visited the waterholes we could photograph them as they rushed to reach the waters edge and also the lovely reflections in the water as they drank thirstily. There were elephants, impala, kudu, and a stream of others.

We checked around for leopard tracks and when we received a call about a female leopard we made our way there to find her. The cat was feeling the extreme heat as she sheltered under a leafy bush in a dried riverbed. Not the best position for winning photography but everyone was pleased to see her and at least everyone came away with some reasonable shots.

We returned to the Lodge for a session on flash photography.

The afternoon was even hotter as we set out and when we saw the elephants swimming, splashing, mud-bathing in the waterhole next to the Lodge the activity looked really inviting. We could almost picture ourselves in there with the herd, splashing and cooling down! Our low angle photography of the herd turned out exceptionally well.

When a herd of buffalo arrived we tried to approach them to use the same low angle photographic techniques, but they were feeling hot and a maybe a little irritable – they were skittish and simply did not want us to venture too close.

Just then we received a call about a leopard cub. It was the cub of the leopard we saw in the morning. The cub was on a large termite mound close to where we saw the mother in the morning. The little one was a little anxious so we gave her time to settle down. She moved around the mound, first on one side, then the other, as she tried to get comfortable.

The sun was low in the sky when we received another call. Two lionesses had been spotted not far from our current position. Knowing that they would take advantage of the slightly lower temperature to head to a waterhole for a drink, we made our way to a good position for viewing and photography. Sure enough, the two lionesses visited a small dam together for an evening drink.

We were still with the lionesses when we were notified about a male leopard. When we found Hukumuri he obligingly walked past our vehicle as he patrolled and scent-marked. We were able to pull ahead for walk-by photos, and he actually walked right next to us six or seven times.

When we all had superb images safely in our cameras we let him be and returned to the Lodge where we shared amazing stories, gloated over our sightings and our full memory cards all through pre-dinner drinks and then as we enjoyed our dinner as well.

Hoping for rain that may bring slightly cooler conditions in the morning – we can hope …