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 received information that a coalition of two male cheetah had crossed the south eastern boundary of our traverse in the morning and decided we should follow up on this information. Our trackers very quickly found the cheetah tracks and we then followed them for over 2 hours. It seemed the cheetah used the cool weather to walk throughout the day and covered a vast distance. The tracks eventually disappeared on some very hard ground close to the Kruger / Manyeleti boundaries.
Just as the sun began to set, we had an amazing elephant sighting at Khaya Manzi where a small breeding herd was playing in the mud. The adults did head stands to loosen some mud whilst the youngsters climbed all over them. It was fantastic to watch. The whole herd then retreated in single file after the matriarch gave a warning trumpet. On the way home we saw a Vearraux’s Eagle-Owl and some bush babies.
On this very misty morning we left camp and followed up on the wild dogs from yesterday to see whether they had crossed back into Djuma. No tracks were found and we went to Plan B- the Torchwood lion pride. On our way east however, we heard some impala alarm calls and followed up. We then spotted a female leopard moving through the grass.
It was Thandi and she was in hunting mode-stalking a duiker nearby. We watched her from a distance until she gave herself away and the duiker disappeared in a flash. Thandi then proceeded to move determinedly through the bush, marking her territory as she went. We followed her and took every opportunity we got to get some images of her.
After spending an hour with her, we lost Thandi in a very thick Tamboti grove and decided to go for coffee at Buffelshoek Dam. Everyone enjoyed the company of some hippos and took some shots of the smaller creatures around the dam. After coffee we followed up on some male leopard tracks but were unable to find it. A Bateluer eagle provided some photographic opportunities as it flew over us before we made our way home for brunch.