LIVE UPDATE from our #BigCatPhotoSafari to Sabi Sand, South Africa.
By Specialist Photographic Guides Villiers Steyn & Lance van de Vyver.
It was a really hot day in the Sabi Sand yesterday and many different species came to the waterhole to drink, including various herds of elephant which was fantastic. We headed out on drive and within 5 minutes we spotted Hosana with an Nyala lamb which he had killed. He had eaten half. A hyena showed up and Hosana bolted up a tree but unfortunately dropped his kill which the hyena ate up. When more hyenas arrived, Hosana leapt out of the tree and we got some shots oh him doing so.
We went north and on the way saw a lovely elephant herd who were extremely relaxed around us. At Buffelshoek dam we saw two hippos emerge from the water and a Saddle-Billed Stork. The stork caught a fish and two frogs in front of us, which it clean and greedily devoured.
We then found 5 rhino together and as we were about to start photographing them, we heard that there were 5 lions at Khaya Manzi Dam and headed there immediately. When we arrived we found two Avoca males and 3 Talamati pride females. One of the Avoca males was lying perfectly on the dam wall of the smaller Lilly Pond. This provided excellent photo opportunities.
The sun began setting and the lions became active. The light was superb. We got photos of the lionesses and males drinking. We then used spot lights to get some front, side and back-lit images. We even managed to position the vehicles with a male lion lying in front of the water with a beautiful purple sky behind. A truly spectacular afternoon/evening. We left the sighting in awe.
This morning we headed out and decided to check the hyena den. On the way, we found some lion tracks and followed up on those, but were unsuccessful in locating any lions. Unfortunately, the hyena den was inactive, possibly due to the large buffalo herd nearby. We spent some time with the buffalo in the early morning light before moving on to try and locate the lions.
On our journey, we found an African white-faced owl and two Bateleur eagles. We spent some great time with a rhino and her calf before moving to green pan. There, we photographed some red-breasted swallows swooping about while a spotted hyena lay in the water to keep cool.
After some lovely bird sightings, we left green pan and found a hyena chewing on some impala in the road. We believed it to be a wild dog kill from the morning. We confirmed this and followed the tracks as they headed east. Taxon, our guide, said that they had found the dogs in a drainage line, in a Tamboti thicket, a few weeks ago and thought it was worth checking that area again. To our collective surprise, when we got into the area, the wild dogs were lying in the exact same spot as a few weeks earlier.
They were already settling in for the day but we were able to get a few images of them as they raised their heads and looked at us. It was fantastic to add these rare carnivores onto our sighting list. We then made our way back to camp for breakfast.
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