LIVE UPDATE: Chilling with Nchila…

At Close Quarters


Yesterday, after spending the morning showing our guests some post-processing and digital photography techniques, we had a light lunch and headed out on drive. It was a warm afternoon and we decided not to head straight to the Nkuhuma Pride and their buffalo kill. Instead we decided to explore Buffelshoek.

Once on the road, we received a call from a landowner about some Impala alarm calling close to his lodge. We started to make our way in that direction and bumped into a reasonably large breeding herd of elephants at Jacana dam. We had a brilliant encounter with them as they lined up photogenically for our guests and walked in single file past our vehicles. Although we are on a Big Cat Safari, we never pass up an opportunity to photograph the amazing scenes the bush presents to us.

We carried on towards the area the Impala had been alarming and soon located a female leopard we have not yet seen, Nchila- Nsele’s daughter. She posed beautifully on a termite mound before playfully making her way to a nearby dam. We followed her and positioned and repositioned our vehicles to capture her drinking from various angles, maximising the stunning afternoon lighting conditions.

She then carried on her way, delighting our guests as she hopped into a Marula tree to investigate a Hammerkop’s nest. She pleasingly looked over her shoulder with the golden light glinting in her eyes. Spectacular! Everyone bagged some special images of her.

We then headed to Kobus’ dam for a celebratory sundowners before making our way back to the lodge. We capped off our drive with a stop in at the buffalo kill. The Nkuhumas began feasting shortly after we arrived, and watching them interact was fascinating. One of the cubs had climbed almost completely into the buffalo’s chest cavity, amusing our guests. Having had another incredible afternoon in the bush, we headed back to the lodge for a hearty dinner and discussion of the day that was.

This morning we decided to explore some different areas in the north east parts of our traversing area. It was a beautiful morning to be out on drive as the sun came up through the trees. We stopped to get some great backlit shots of some antelope in the morning light before heading to a nearby dam. When we arrived, we took the opportunity to alight from the vehicles to photograph hippos on our bellies at eye level. A first for many of our guests.

We then heard some moneys alarm calling nearby and quickly followed up. We managed to track down male leopard Gijima. He was very nervous around the vehicles and, after trying to follow him for some time, we decided to let him head off on his own.

Two of the Birmingham Males had apparently made their way to the Nkuhuma’s kill during the night and we headed there to see them. As we arrived, the females had just arrived back on site from a morning drink at the Djuma waterhole. This sparked some growling from the lions as they sized each other up at the kill. The trees around the kill were now filled with lurking vultures which gave the scene a new eery feel to it. After taking some images of the lion interaction, we decided to head back to the lodge for a hearty brunch and some one-on-one post-processing sessions with our guests. Later we will be heading out on our final afternoon game drive of this Safari.

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