Elephant Plains Safari: Lions and Wild Dogs! Leopard and Elephants!

News of the Day from Villiers:

(All images from back of Villiers’ Camera)

 

Hooray!! Today arrived – our return to Elephant Plains! And wow! The world is looking quite spectacular after the recent late but very welcome rains.

As you can imagine, the mood here was upbeat and expectant as we enjoyed our meal together followed by a short briefing before we set out for our first game drive …

… and whew! Where do I even begin to describe the most incredible start we had to our safari – an afternoon of wonder.

So let me start where we set out on a cool, overcast afternoon. Almost immediately we came across a small herd of Buffalo at Rhino Pan, followed by quite a number of Buffalo as we continued our drive.

We headed to another of the camps, following up on information about a leopard that had been spotted in the camp. We wondered if it could be Tiyane, and headed that way to check for tracks leaving the camp.

While the trackers searched we watched to Hippos giving each other a go in a waterhole amid snorts and grunts and wide-open mouths.

Then we received a call that a Leopard had been seen back at Rhino Pan so we quickly turned around and headed there, to find Nsele, the one-eyed Leopard lying in the fork of a large Marula Tree.

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She was clearly visible, and what the sighting extra special was the arrival of a herd of Elephants – and they proceeded to walk right under – yes, right under the almost slumbering Leopard. We all quickly took dozens of images with Elephant and Leopard in one frame.

We spent some time with Nsele and to our delight she decided to get up, gave an almighty yawn before she jumped down from the tree – right in front of us. Of course every action was accompanied by barrages of camera clicks.

From there we traveled east to where some of the Tsalala Lion Pride of were seen this morning. We found four of the pride – three young males with a female lying in a large open area close to their Buffalo Kill from yesterday.

As we stopped the Lions were lying down and to our amazement we heard Wild Dogs Calling repeatedly. The ‘whoo-whoo-whoo’ sound echoed across the bush. So the dogs were close by according to the sound, and the Lions lifted their heads to listen intently.

And before we could take another breath the Wild Dogs dashed right into the clearing. The Lions were up in a flash and started to approach the intruders, whereupon one of the dogs gave a loud warning bark, and the dogs heeded the call to retreat and left the clearing as quickly as they had arrived – leaving the Lions watching quizzically and with great interest as the canines disappeared …

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We remained with the Lions to capture some spotlight shots, with rim lighting and side-lighting –

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– to complete a day that had us almost having to pinch ourselves to confirm that we had seen Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo, Lions and Wild Dog, – all on our first drive! Whew! Tomorrow ? …