Sabi Sand Elephant Plains Safari: Tiyane Hunts Again …
Ben Reports from Elephant Plains at Sabi Sand Game Reserve …
(Images from the back of Brendon’s Camera)
We left the Lodge early again after coffee and rusks, and set out in search of one of the leopards we have seen in the past days. The morning was fairly quite so – maybe because it was overcast as very dull again, so we concentrated on general game until we received a call about a leopard.
We arrived to find a female leopard in a tree, and quickly identified Tiyane. She soon came down from the tree and we photographed her against the grey background, and used flash to highlight the beautiful young cat.
Then she started stalking something in the long grass. We couldn’t see what it was because the grass is more than a meter tall, but we could follow her movements as we glimpsed the top of her head and back. Her prey eventually turned out to be a Common or Kurrichane Buttonquail when the bird flew up out of the grass when she leaped at it.
Tiyane then retired to a termite mound where she rested for a while before traversing some more tall grass to climb a tree. And there she settled down on a comfortable branch to sleep.
We departed and next found a pride of lions.
Three lionesses were watching the antics of their six or seven month old cubs. They were moving along, occasionally through grass, but then the stopped and flopped around for a while. One of the lionesses sat up and gazed intently at something that we could not see. We looked and looked and realised that a small herd of kudu was very close by when we heard them barking at the lions.
Then action! One of the lionesses suddenly jumped up and sprinted after the the kudu, but they managed to get away. The lionesses settled down again. They engaged in some mutual grooming before they looked as though they were going to sleep for the middle of the day.
This afternoon we decided to find Tiyane again, and although we found her tracks, she remained elusive.
But we did encounter a White Rhino and stopped to take photos in the late afternoon light before deciding to return to the lions from the morning.
The lions were still there, but they were still fast asleep. As darkness arrived, they started to wake up, and we were able to get some pretty good shots with the help of our spotlights. The mutual grooming resumed, with plenty of head rubbing. Then they scratched trees, and exhibited typical lion behaviour after waking from the afternoon slumber.
The photos of the lions licking one another, grooming, head rubbing and so on turned out very well with the central area of the image lit up and surrounded by darkness.
Now we are back at the Lodge and ready for our dinner under the stars. Tomorrow we may like to start with a visit to the lions again …