LIVE UPDATE from our Big Cat Photo Safari to Sabi Sand, South Africa.
By Specialist Photographic Guides Villiers Steyn & Lance van de Vyver.
A new group of guests arrived at Djuma yesterday for their 4 night #BigCatPhotoSafari. After a light lunch and briefing from our Specialist Photographic Guides, the group set out on drive. The initial plan was to follow up on the lions in the north but the bush had other plans for us. Shortly after leaving camp, we received a call that Thandi was close by and headed in that direction. When we arrived, Thandi was lying in the grass and her cub Tlalamba was visible but lying on some thick grass. She eventually joined her mother and the two aloe-groomed for some time.
After waiting patiently we were rewarded with a spectacular sighting. Thandi climbed a fallen tree nearby and posed beautifully for us. Soon thereafter, Tlalamba joined her on the tree trunk. We then enjoyed the next hour, as the sun was setting, with mom and cub on the log together. Tlalamba was very playful and climbed all over her mom. At one stage she was lying on her back on the log, chewing mom’s tail and looking towards us.
What a sublime start to this safari. A major advantage of our #BigCatPhotoSafari is the lack of commercial lodges on our traverse. Our vehicles spent the entire afternoon with Thandi and Tlalamba alone and did not need to leave the sighting once to allow other vehicles a chance to enter the sighting (because there just were not vehicles around). This allowed our guests ample opportunity to take numerous images and our Specialist Photographic Guides the time to assist guests to get their dream images. After the light had faded, we decided to leave the leopards to relax and headed to Buffelshoek Dam to celebrate our sighting while a hippo splashed below us.
During the night, we heard lions calling and planned to follow up on the Talamati Pride and Avoca Males first thing this morning. Heading north, we checked up on the kill from yesterday but discovered that it was finished and the lions had left. Following their tracks, we found that the Avoca Males had joined the pride in the night. After some expert tracking we found the three Avoca Males. They were stationary in the grass.
The morning light was fantastic and, when the lions began to become active, we were able to get some great close up and portrait shots of the three. Our guests were ecstatic as the big cat sightings had already been amazing.
We headed towards First Rock for coffee and had three very rare / unusual sightings on the way. One of our vehicles spotted a Caracal- an extremely rare sighting in the Sabi Sands. Unfortunately, it was just a fleeting glimpse and we were unable to take any images of it. Our other vehicle had an amazing sighting of two warthog boars having an extremely violent territorial battle. This was a very intense and unusual sighting but provided fantastic photographic opportunities. Everyone was in awe of this sighting. We then also saw two honey badgers running through the bush. After a great coffee stop on First Rock, we headed back to camp for breakfast.