Londolozi Photo Safari - Day 1 & 2

01st June 2015
It is always great to host a Photographic Safari at Londolozi, this time was no exception. I hosted Alex and Oxsana from the Ukraine on a 5 day Specialist Photographic Safari at Londolozi’s Pioneer camp on behalf of Van Bommel Safaris from the Netherlands.

Both Alex and Oxsana are experienced photographers and have travelled to many of the worlds great Wildlife photographic destinations, Alex wanted to do some low light and Spotlight photography as well as improve his flash photography, the big cats were our main focus so after a brief introduction and checking their camera menu settings and a focus calibration we were ready to start.

The first Afternoon we set off and headed North, the Tsalala pride had been found that morning so we went to see if we could find them again, it wasn’t long before Nick and Mike our ranger and tracker team found them sleeping in a dry riverbed. After some maneuvering we got into the riverbed and took a few images, the Lions heard something in the nearby bushes and they jumped up to investigate with us following closely behind. The next 10 minutes we followed them through the bush before they finally settled in a small clearing, the sun had set and everything was perfect for some creative shooting using the vehicles spotlight.

We started off with some side lighting and after a few test shots and some instruction both Alex and Oxsana were getting great images of the Lions as they rested in the clearing.

The lions moved around a bit and we repositioned our vehicle, this time we tried some backlighting, again after a few test images and a bit of guidance Alex and Oxsana were taking their first ever backlit Lion images. We spent the next Hour with the Lions trying a variety of different shooting options before finally returning back to the Lodge.

The following morning we went searching for a Leopard, it wasn’t too long before the Piva Male Leopard had been found and we were watching and photographing him as he moved and scent marked, it was tough going trying to get a great images of him as he was constantly moving through the bush. At one point he stalked some impala and nyala but they were alert to his presence and they sounded the alarm.

We stayed with the Piva male for the rest of the morning until finally he lay down under the shade of a Raisin bush watching a herd of Impala in the distance, by now it was quite late and we headed back to the Lodge for some breakfast.

That Afternoon we again went in search of Leopards, after a huge effort in tracking the Piva Male we were unable to find him, he had managed to elude us ! At dusk we found a couple of Kudu on a termite mound with a beautiful pink sky behind them, we managed to get a few images of them before they moved off the mound and continued their feeding.
We searched for any sign of Leopards into the night but eventually we had to admit defeat and we returned back to camp for a wonderful Boma dinner.

The following morning we set off early to once again search for a Leopard, we went past the Hyena den and we photographed a adult female Hyena as she walked towards us starting the days activities,we also photographed a few Impala in the morning light.

A bit later on we found the Mashaba female leopard but she was on a scent marking mission , a small flock of Helmeted Guineafowl also spotted the Leopard and they all ran closer shouting an alarm at the predator giving away her position to all the animals in the close vicinity, finally after some time we lost sight of her when she moved down into a thickly wooded drainage system.

It wasn’t long before one of the other rangers had found the Mashaba young female Leopard, she had caught a impala the night before but had unfortunately lost her kill to the local clan of Spotted Hyena’s. When we got to the sighting the young Leopard was watching the Hyena eat her hard earned meal.

After some time the Leopard watched as the Hyenas slowly walked off from the remains of her kill and she saw a opportunity to salvage some of her meal, she snuck in closer and grabbed the remains of the Impala kill and started dragging it to a Jackalberry tree she had chosen. One of the Hyenas saw this happening and came charging back to grab the meal from the young Leopard, the Leopard was not about to loose her kill a second time and this time the ran with the Impala remains and jumped up into the Jackalberry tree with the Hyena in hot pursuit.

Everything had happened so quickly and we were obscured by a patch of vegetation that we were unable to get any pictures of this chase. We moved our vehicle into position and took some images of her in the tree, safe from the Hyenas where she could feed in peace. After about a hour the Leopard went to sleep in the tree and we went back to the Lodge for our own breakfast.

For More information on Londolozi Specialist Photographic Safaris have a look at the video

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