Dawie Shares from Elephant Plains on the Tusk Sabi Sand Photo Tour:
(Photos from back of Dawie’s Camera)
It was cool when we left the Lodge before sunrise and what a wonderful day lay ahead for us.
Because we have experienced so many really fabulous leopard sightings on every game drive, the guests were ultra keen to try and find Wild Dogs. When we heard that dogs had been spotted close to one of the boundaries. We checked thoroughly but could not see dogs or tracks. But there was a very photographable herd of elephants and we simply had to stop and capture many shots.
Our second vehicle felt like a visit to the hyena den, and once again the clan put on a very busy and entertaining show as they played, chased one another and tumbled around. Then a huge commotion erupted. Elephants bellowed, screamed, and made a massive fuss. They trumpeted loudly and we all dashed there to see what the problem was. The elephants were really very upset.
The confrontation and huge to-do was between elephants and hyenas. We could not work out why the hyenas would retreat for a short distance and then return to taunt the already furious elephants. The pachyderms responded with loud trumpeting and many charges, causing the hyenas to retreat – but not far away before they came back again, and again, and again. What an experience that was. The excitement, noise, flying dust, furious elephants and the behaviour of the hyenas kept us there, wide -eyed and fascinated.
After the drama we decided after all to return to the female leopard that we saw with the kill yesterday. We arrived to find the kill almost gone. The leopard fed for a while and then came down from the tree to rest peacefully on a nearby termite mound.
Back at the Lodge we decided to do some bird photography, to capture some of the many species that flitted around, especially those that were drinking and bathing In the many little pools. The Blue Waxbills were particularly popular with their lovely bright blue colouring.
When we set out this afternoon we were very undecided about which direction to take. We decided split up and to call each other if we saw anything really worthwhile. We have been so spoiled here, and didn’t even bother to return to the leopard again. Instead we photographed elephants, buffalo, and rhino as well as Plains animals including kudu, giraffe, impala and zebra.
The second vehicle actually did go past the leopard. And there they had some great action. A Yellow-billed Kite spotted the kill and swooped in to grab what it could. The leopard was up in a flash, and up the tree in a single bound, where she angrily sent the raptor off. It took off into the sky and disappeared.
Meanwhile we found a male leopard stalking impala. The lovely golden setting sun was fabulous behind the action, and our photographs turned out really well. He managed to creep very close to his prey and we were ready for the next step. But the impala got wind of the predator and with an alarm call they bounded off into the distance. So the leopard start his evening patrol as he walked about, marking bushes and mounds. We remained with him as long as we could before we returned to the Lodge.
Tomorrow morning is the final game drive for this group so we may try once again to locate the Wild Dogs …