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 made our way to the east to potentially find a leopard that this group of guests had not yet seen. One of our vehicles searched the central part of Torchwood whilst the other searched the southern part. By pure luck, we bumped into a female leopard lying on the shady side of a termite mound. On closer inspection it turned out to be Kuchava, one of Thandi’s offspring.
Kuchava is a shy leopard and we approached her cautiously. She was very close to our southern boundary and we only managed to spend a few minutes with her before she crossed south. Our guests did manage to get a few shots of her as she sat on the termite mound with gorgeous back light.
Moving further east, we bumped into a spotted hyena and grabbed a few portrait shots of it in golden light before we moved on. We also found a Bataleur Eagle drinking and got a few images of it before it took off.
Our decision to go to Lilly Pond, to photograph hippos, was richly rewarded as we found 3 hippos splashing in the small waterhole. Everyone got onto their bellies to get some sought after eye-level shots of the hippos as they yawned, blew water off their nostrils and flicked their ears. Our Specialist Photographic Guides were on hand to assist guests with trying new techniques to get some slow shutter speed shots and freezing motion images.
This morning we drove north to follow up on some male leopard tracks. We followed up on some impala alarm calls unsuccessfully before heading to the Avoca male lions nearby. We managed to get some great walk-by opportunities of the three males, as they moved through Buffelshoek before we continued our search for leopards.
One of our vehicles went south east and bumped into Kuchava as she crossed south again. A fleeting glimpse. Our other vehicle then found Tingana male leopard. It was late in the morning. At this stage, the photographic conditions were not ideal in the harsh sunlight. Nevertheless it was a great sighting and something that we will follow up on this afternoon. We made it back to camp late in the morning for brunch and will be heading out for our final afternoon drive later today.