Leopard – and Lion Hunts …

Dawie’s News from Elephant Plains on the Tusk Sabi Sand Photo Tour:

Another busy day awaited us when we left the Lodge this morning. During the night repeated Lion calls not far away could be heard and when we set out before sunrise, we tried to locate them first. We drove around for a while, but as we could not even see a single Lion track we moved on.

Everyone wanted to return to the Hyena den again because our previous visit and photography time at the den was cut short when we received the call about the Leopard. We arrived at the den and were pleased to see that there were about ten hyenas around. The adults lazed and moved very little while the pups and youngsters gambolled and played and chased each other and tried to interest one or other of the adults in a game from time to time.

From the den we went southward and there we found Leopard tracks. We searched and were rewarded with a lovely sighting of one of the young female Leopards. She was hunting and we watched as she hunted through the riverbed, went up and down banks and through open areas. It was quite late for hunting activities and although she persevered and even stalked a herd of Impala, her efforts all ended without a kill.

Back at the Lodge we had breakfast and our last Lightroom session with these guests, being their final full day on this safari.

When we headed out this afternoon we decided to return to the female Leopard. She was looking quite thin and hungry, and we hoped that she would continue hunting in the late afternoon. On the way to the Leopard we stopped to photograph a herd of Elephants with young babies at a waterhole – and then the same two Rhinos that we saw previously.

We spent a lot of time with the Leopard as she searched the riverine area for Duiker or Steenbuck. Eventually she perched on top of a termite mound. Her interest was captured by a Scrub Hare that sat in front of the mound. She watched it until it ran away.

We left her to go in search of Lions. We found two Lionesses that we photographed before but the males were nowhere to be seen. The two cats were played and rolled around. The interaction was amazing to watch and every now and again they stopped to contact call the males.

Then the two Lionesses spotted some Impala and they immediately focussed on them and started to stalk them. Ears flattened and bellies to the ground they crept up to the herd. But just as they neared the Impala they were spotted and every member of the herd disappeared in a split second. The Lions went to lie down and we left them to sleep.

As we drove slowly back to the Lodge our Guide And Tracker spotted a beautiful Barn Owl in a tree right next to the road. These Owls are usually rather shy, but this one sat quietly, staring at us, and allowed us to take hundreds of photographs. We continued until it was very late and we had to return to the Lodge.

The group is hoping that their last game drive in the morning will be a exciting as all the others have been, and we will looked forward to the arrival of our new arrival TuskPhoto guests …