Simbavati Photo Safari 12 - 16 June part 2

06th July 2015
We started the second half of our SImbavati Photo Safari with a late afternoon visit to the Local Hyena den, we found 2 Hyenas lying in a dried up water hole close to the den and after some time they moved up to the den site with us following closely behind.

When we arrived at the Hyena den we counted about 4 to 5 adult and sub-adult Hyenas around the dens entrance and after getting into position about 5 minutes later the first of 2 tiny little Hyena pups appeared, they were quite small and tiny little black balls of fur !

For the remainder of the afternoon until the sun had set we spent with the Hyena family, what a amazing sight to see all the Hyenas interacting with each other, their intricate greeting rituals and the clearly visible dominance hierarchy between the young pups, we watched the pups play and interact with the rest of their extended family, what a amazing sighting and afternoon.

Eventually we left the Hyenas and went for a drink at a close by waterhole, just as we stopped at the water we saw a Sharpes Grysbok come out of the vegetation , it walked to the waters edge and had a drink, I have not often seen these small antelope and never photographed one drinking before, in the low afternoon light we managed to get some images of this shy Antelope before it darted off into the bushes.

When we arrived back at camp we photographed a Barred Owlet in the parking area using a spotlight before we headed off for dinner.

The following morning we headed South again, we found a large herd of Buffalo and got some images of them in the beautiful morning light.

Along the way we also photographed some birds and general game as well as a few young Nyala.

It was getting late in the morning so we started to head back to the lodge, along the way we found a herd of Elephant feeding in the along the edges of the dry riverbed and a large herd of Giraffe that were sparring with each other in the riverbed, eventually the Elephants and Giraffes met up in the river and after a brief standoff the Giraffes made way for the Elephants to pass.

A few moments after leaving the Elephants and giraffes our Tracker spotted a dead antelope that had been hoisted up into a tree on the edge of the river, we made our way closer and saw Ntima Male Leopard closeby, he was walking back to his kill in the tree. After getting out of the river and finding a route to the tree we found that the Leopard was already there and that he had climbed the tree to start feeding.

For the next 40 minutes we watched the Leopard feeding and plucking the fur from his Bushbuck kill, we tried various shooting techniques and the use of fill flash to capture the scene, eventually we left the Leopard still up in the tree and went off for some breakfast.

That afternoon we decided to go back to the Leopard and his kill up in the tree, we wanted to get there in the late afternoon light to try and photograph him with the sunset colours in the sky, unfortunately for us he climbed down the tree moments before we arrived so we photographed him as he rested at the base of the tree.

After our evening drink we searched for any signs of nocturnal animals but we did not find any so we headed back to camp for the last night of our Safari.

The following morning we got up a bit earlier than Normal to get to Ntima and his Kill in the pre dawn light, on our way there we spotted a Leopard in the distance as it disappeared into the Thickets on the edge of the river, we were unsure which Leopard it was so we carried on to where the Kill had been left in the tree the night before.
When we arrived at the tree we saw that Ntima was sitting at the base of the tree and his kill was gone ! it had been stolen presumably by the Leopard we had seen earlier that morning, Ntima decided to climb up the tree for one last look for his kill and after a brief sniff around the tree tops he decided it was time to go, we got a few great images of the Leopard as he climbed down the tree in the pre dawn light.

We decided to Follow Ntima as he moved along the dry riverbed, he walked along the edge of the river while we drove along in the riverbed, every now and again he would stop to scan the river, at one point the Leoaprd walked up onto a big rock in the riverbed and we photographed him as he stood proudly on top of the rock, we also tried a few panning images as he walked along in the early morning.

Eventually we had to leave Ntima as he walked along the riverbed, we spent the rest of the morning searching for any sign of Lions but with no luck, by now it was time to head back to the Lodge for breakfast and to say goodbye to everyone, it had been a great 4 days of photography with great guests and some wonderful sightings.


Photo comment By Sandra Sheridan-Kingsbury: i am overcome with awe and joy to be able to see these creatures in their own lives and habitats. These shots are amazing. They make me feel as though I've been transported into Africa, the wonderland of excitement and adventure. Thank you so much.

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