LIVE UPDATE from our Big Cat Photo Safari to Sabi Sand, South Africa.
By Specialist Photographic Guides Villiers Steyn & Lance van de Vyver.
Yesterday afternoon we left camp and within 10 minutes we found a female leopard on a half eaten bush buck carcass. She was in a marula tree.
She chuffed to her cub who appeared from the bushes and then climbed down to join the cub. They greeted on the side of a termite mound and then ate some meat scraps on the ground.
We looked back to the tree and saw another leopard. It was a male and he was up the tree in a flash and now busy feeding on the carcass.
The female and cub moved closer and the male leopard looked over at them and growled, in the golden light. It was a really special sighting and our guests had opportunities to capture all manner of different images of the three cats.
We decided to leave the leopards and check if the lions had possibly crossed into our traverse during the day. To our collective jubilation we found them. They were resting up on a dam wall, in perfect golden light.
We spent the rest of the evening with them and, first, managed to get some eye level shots of them as they sat on the dam wall. They all got up and then walked straight towards us in the most spectacular light imaginable. We were able to loop around and attempt, a few times, to get a shot of the three of them in a row as they walked towards us.
Suddenly our tracker noticed some lionesses approaching from a distance. There were only two, and, when the males realised this, all hell broke loose. A massive fight erupted and the males had a very good go at one another.
The two winners paired up with the females while the loser was left alone to lick is wounds. We then had ample time and opportunity, as the sun had set, to capture some side and back-lit images using spotlights.
What a spectacular drive. We all headed home with sore arms and fingers from holding cameras and taking images (not to mention all the fist pumps).
This morning we headed out and decided to try find wild dogs. We had heard that some dogs were denning close to our northern boundary. We drove in that direction and within 20 minutes of leaving camp we bumped into four wild dogs.
They were on a mission and we followed as best we could. We managed to get ahead of the dogs and had them running right up to us in the road.
The dogs headed into some thick bush and we could no longer follow and decided to move on. We drove onwards and soon bumped into a lion in the road. Followed by more lions. It was the Talamati Pride and the biggest lion from the Avoca coalition.
We spent the next 90 minutes with the lions, without any other vehicles around. They walked down the road towards us, lay up on termite mounds and were very active.
At one stage a female got agitated with her pride mates and then attacked the male. The lions had swipes at each other and it was epic to watch and capture. We also had a special moment where a lioness lay up on a termite mound with a marula tree as a back drop.
After the amazing morning, we stopped for coffee at Three in a Row Pan and celebrated before making a slow journey back to camp for breakfast. If our luck continues, who knows what we may see next.