LIVE UPDATE from our #BigCatPhotoSafari to Sabi Sand, South Africa.
By Specialist Photographic Guides Villiers Steyn & Lance van de Vyver.
Yesterday afternoon we set out on a rather warm afternoon in the search of some leopards. Almost 150m from the gate we found some leopard tracks which led into a large open piece of ground called Quarantine. We spent the next hour or so trying to find the leopard who we believe was in the block hiding in the long grass. Our trackers even tried to track the leopard on foot, without any success. We gave up and stopped past the hyena den, but the den was inactive other than a lone female.
As the sun began to set and whilst we were admiring some ground hornbills, one of our guests spotted a leopard lying just off the road in the grass. On closer inspection we identified her as Tlalamba, a young female. Although she was lying down she was alert and raised her head often. She then got up and began moving swiftly down the road, ears back and tail up. She ran straight towards a troop of baboons who were calling angrily at her. At this time, we decided to leave the sighting and turn off our spotlights so as not to put her in danger. We photographed a giant eagle owl before making our way back to the lodge for our final dinner together.
This morning was the last drive for the majority of our guests. We headed out and straight to the hyena den in the hope of seeing the small pups. This time, we were lucky, two tiny black pups were outside the den. We managed to take some incredible images of the small black fluff balls before they reentered the den.
After leaving the hyena den we wanted to try and find the Hukumuri male leopard. Instead we found some female leopard tracks. We tracked these for a large distance and we eventually caught up with Thandi. She was being her usual evasive self and sticking to the thickets as she moved. However, she eventually jumped onto a fallen tree and posed beautifully for us- well worth the effort in tracking her. After spending some further time with her as she moved through the lush bush, we decided to head back to camp. This afternoon we welcome another group of guests to Djuma.