Sabi Sand Photo Safari: A Leopard Kill in One, Two, Three Seconds …

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

Well, after our amazing day yesterday, we were extra keen to get going this morning. The calm, predawn mysterious darkness enveloped the world around us as we set out from the Lodge after steaming hot coffee and rusks.

What a day awaited us … starting almost immediately –

About ten minutes after leaving the Lodge we spotted some Bushbabies (Galagos) in a tree. They were jumping around, playing as they leapt from branch to branch. Then we noticed that one of them disappeared into a hole in the tree. We waited for a while and sure enough, her head popped out again … we used our spotlights to capture images of the adorable little creature peeping out from her hiding place. What a special sighting!

We picked up some leopard tracks and followed these, zig-zagging through the bush as the tracks led us in all directions. While doing this we stopped now and then to photograph hyenas and numerous elephants as well as plenty of giraffe and other game. Maybe we took so long photographing all the game that we never actually caught up with that leopard.

Then came the afternoon … a wow!

First we followed some fresh leopard tracks, but we were interrupted by a call alerting us to two lionesses with two small cubs. We found them out in the open, basking and playing in the warm afternoon light. We spent a wonderful time with them as the cubs tumbled over the adults, worried them, fell around with each other and gave us so much to capture … every moment seemed more endearing than the previous as cubs and lionesses interacted, with many playful taps, and plenty of licks.

We moved from there to a pride of twelve lions – a Birmingham male accompanied by five adult lionesses and five cubs. The cubs were about five months old.

We heard of a leopard in the vicinity and found her without too much fuss. Out came our spotlights for all the different lighting angles that we could manage. Back-lighting, side-lighting, front-lighting … we did it all.

Then she moved along and we realised that she was starting to hunt. She was very quick and before we knew it she chased and caught a Scrub Hare. It was all done in a flash. She posed beautifully for us with her kill, and we remained with her until it was time to return to the Lodge.

As you can imagine, everyone is beyond delighted with another outstanding day … and hoping that our luck hold for our final full day with this safari group tomorrow …