Sabi Sand Photo Safari: An Entire Morning and Evening with Salayexe – and then a Kill…

Ben Reports from the Sabi Sand Photo Safari at Elephant Plains:

(Photos from back of Ben’s Camera)

Another stupendous day awaited us when we set out this morning for our morning game drive.

It all started when we found a herd of giraffe on the airstrip close to the Lodge. They looked quite magnificent against that early sunrise-red sky and we were able to capture some outstanding shots as the animals walked along sedately. We used flash to illuminate the giraffes against that beautiful background … fabulous!

We were still photographing the giraffes when we heard that Salayexe had been spotted and we dashed off to meet up with her. We remained with the lovely leopard for most of the morning. She was patrolling her area, sniffing bushes, scent-marking, and walking along doggedly to cover her entire territory.

It was really special to spend almost the whole morning with Salayexe as she went about her catlike business, and we only left her when it was time to return to the Lodge.

This afternoon we headed out to follow up on reports of a male leopard that we heard about during our lunch break. We searched for quite some time and although we didn’t find him, we did come across a large male White Rhino that came down to a water-hole for a drink. We photographed him with his reflection in the water, and because he had a number of Oxpeckers on his head we also did a lot of close-up shots, especially when they flew around whenever anything disturbed them.

We searched for the leopard again, but gave up when our second vehicle called to say that they had located Salayexe again.

We joined them and arrived in time to see her watching something very intently. It was a Scrub Hare. She hunted it and then suddenly she went for it and caught the hare right in front of us. It was all over in a flash! Then she carried the hare, and we were close enough to get full-frame head shots as well as body shots.

Salayexe then proceeded to eat most of the hare, and she was almost done when a hyena approached – clearly interested in her catch – and she escaped up a large Jackalberry tree. We photographed the few remnants of the kill while Salayexe, up in the tree, started a long grooming session – and only when satisfied that she had done a thorough job, she came down the tree again. We photographed her descent from the tree and realising that it was time to return to the Lodge we came back for dinner.

Our final game drive for this group takes place tomorrow morning, and we are all hoping against hope that the luck we have experienced in the last days holds yet again, and that we have plenty to share with the new arrivals expected by lunchtime …