BY TREVOR MCCALL-PEAT & VILLIERS STEYN
This morning we headed out and drove towards the Manyaleti boundary in search of some lions. We soon found some tracks that were made early the night before. We followed the tracks and soon found some very fresh ones. A few minutes down the road, we found them, 3 lions walking towards us. They moved onto a large termite mound and posed beautifully for us. Shortly thereafter, they headed into some longer grass and contact called, lifting their heads above the grass, this made for some stunning images. We then found a zebra carcass nearby, it had been injured by lions about two weeks ago. Something had killed the weak animal and had eaten part of it during night.
We then received a radio call of a female leopard very close nearby and headed to her. We soon found her as she criss crossed in the bush, hunkering down low as she moved, in an attempt to avoid a large herd of impala nearby. This allowed some spectacular photographic opportunities for our guests.
The radio then came alive, a few vultures were arriving at the zebra carcass. We headed back there just as a large contingent of vultures were arriving. Like planes taxiing into a runway, they arrived one after the other. We could hear the air in their wings as they flew in. They hissed and fought and frantically ate whatever scraps they could. Our guests got some amazing images of white backed, white headed and hooded vultures. We then headed back to the lodge for a hearty brunch.
After a great Lightroom and Photography for Beginners session, we had some down time and lunch before heading out on drive. It was very warm and humid and we decided to check some waterholes. We soon found some Daga Boys resting in a pan and got some great images of them.
Heading off from the buffalo, and, as if out of nowhere, one of our guests spotted a leopard in a tree. Wow! It was a young female called Xongile. After resting in the tree for a short time, she came down and started moving around confidentiality through the bush. She went into a dry riverbed and we followed her along. Our guests were really pleased with the photographic opportunities and images they managed to take.
After sundowners we headed back to the lions from this morning. They had found the zebra carcass and dragged it into a drainage line. This made viewing them difficult but we could hear the cubs growling and fighting over the bones. All of a sudden the entire pride began roaring! The sound reverberated through our bodies as we sat in silence enjoying the experience. This was the perfect end to a truly magical day on Big Cat Safari in the Sabi Sands.