Simbavati Photo Safari 16 to 20 September part 1

25th October 2015
I hosted a group of South African photographers at Simbavati for 4 nights, I had hosted them before on a previous Safari so it was great to see them again.

I briefly confirmed all their settings and menus were correct on their cameras before we set off on our first drive, the Tshukanyana Male Leopard had caught a Impala the day before and he had put his kill in a tree close to the camp so we went to have a look at him.

The Leopard was resting in the shade in the late afternoon and occasionally he would snarl at a Hyena that was close by, we captured some great facial expressions of the Leopard as he showed his dissatisfaction at the Hyena’s presence.

After spending some time with the Leopard we moved on and photographed some general game and then ended our drive at the dam where we had a great sunset and we also photographed a group of Buffalo weavers as they were making their way to their nests for the night. We finished up our drinks and headed back to camp for dinner.

The following morning we went back to see if Tshukanyana was still at his kill, when we arrived we found him moving off away from the kill with the head of the Impala and to our surprise we saw that Argyle Junior female Leopard was up the tree feeding on the kill !

We decided to follow Tshukanyana, he moved through the thickets until he found a suitable spot to devour the Impala head, after about 15 minutes he had finished eating the head and he started to walk back to the kill with us following behind.

When we arrived back at the tree with the kill Argyle junior female was still feeding on the kill, a young Hyena was at the base of the tree picking up the scraps of meat that were dropped by the feeding leopard. Tshkanyana lay down in the river bed about 30 meters away from the kill and he snarled at the Hyena and Argyle junior feeding up in the tree but he did not go closer.

Argyle junior in the mean time had eaten her fill and she climbed down the tree and trotted away down the riverbed, The Hyena found a Impala leg that had been dropped at he was chewing on the leg while Tshkanyana climbed up the tree to see how much of his kill was left, there was only scraps left so he ate the little he could before having a nap up in the tree, we decided to move on and we left.

A short distance down the road we photographed a young giraffe with its mom, the baby giraffe was trying to eat the young leaves of a Acacia tree and didn’t seem to be having much success! We then got a radio call that a few Wild dogs had been found so we went over to have a look.

By the time we got to the dogs they were settling down for the day, the Adult asleep in the shade but the 2 pups were a bit curious and they briefly came out to look at us, we left the dogs when they all went to sleep and headed off to the lodge for Breakfast.

The afternoon drive started great with a wonderful sighting of a Male Rhino, he was standing in a clearing with the afternoon light perfectly on him, we spent quite some time with the rhino trying various photographic angles and we also tried a few High key images of him, while at the Rhino we heard that Nkanye female Leopard had been found barely 500 meters away from us so we immediately went to go and have a look.

Nkanye was attempting to stalk a Steenbok but she ran out of cover and the Steenbok saw her and darted away, we followed Nkanye as she walked through the bush until she eventually stopped to observe a herd of Impala in the distance, by this time it was quite late in the afternoon and the sun was starting to set behind Nkanye, this provided some nice backlight and it also turned the grass a golden color, using a bit of fill flash we captured great images of this beautiful Leopard, we eventually had to leave the Leopard and we headed off to look at the local Hyena clan that were close by.

The Hyenas were lying on the edge of a small dam, a few pups were suckling on a adult female while another Hyena played a bit in the water, it was great watching the interaction between the Hyenas, we also photographed a Hammerkop that had come to feed on the waters edge, after the Hyenas we headed off to have a drink and then back to the lodge for dinner.

The following morning was cloudy and overcast, we photographed a couple of Waterbuck as they fed in the riverbed and then we heard that Tshukanyana had been found again, this time had caught a duiker that he had hoisted up into a tree and the local Hyena clan were at the base of the tree.

When we arrived at the sighting we saw Tshukanyana up in the tree with no less than 7 Hyenas at the base, all watching the Leopard intently ! Tshukanyana did look a bit uncomfortable as the tree he had chosen to hoist his kill was not a comfortable one !

We spent some time with the Leopard trying various ways to expose and photograph him, we did some overexposing, we tried a few silhouette images and also fill flash to balance the exposure with the white sky behind him.

After leaving the Leopard in the tree with the Hyenas below we found a herd of Elephants, they were on the move in the cool cloudy morning, it was ideal light to try some slow shutter speeds and a bit of panning, we moved alongside the Elephants and slightly ahead of them and then we waited for them to walk past us when we then tried our panning images, some of the images came out OK.

Back at the Lodge after our drive we photographed a pair of Barred Owls sitting next to the pathway, they were used to seeing people walk past so it was a great opportunity to photograph them.

We also found the nest of a Golden Tailed Woodpecker next to one of the rooms, we set up our cameras and it wasn’t long before the Male bird returned to feed the chicks, it was a great opportunity and we got a few nice images of the him.


Photo comment By drienie: Whow what can you say Brilliant Andrew.
Photo comment By Danie van Wyk: Beatiful photos!!
Photo comment By Graham Turner: Thanks I enjoyed these shots , sitting at home on a dull dreary morning as only England can provide

Leave a comment

Your Name
Your Email
Your Comment
No info required here, please press the button below.