Simbavati River Lodge 25-28 July

14th September 2015
I hosted Reinhard from Switzerland on a Photo Safari at Simbavati River lodge, it was the first time that Reinhard was in Africa and he was super excited to photograph African Wildlife for the first time.

After an introduction and briefing and setting up Reinhard's camera we headed off on drive.

The first animal we found was a Bull Elephant feeding on the edge of the Mopani’s, it was a great way to start as the Elephant was only interested in feeding and this allowed us time to settle into the Photography and get some good images.

One of Reinhard’s dreams was to see and photograph a Leopard so when we found Argyle jnr Leopard a short while later was super excited and he managed to take his first ever photos of a Leopard.

Argyle jnr was stalking a bushbuck in a small drainage line so it wasn’t the best view of her as she slipped in and out of cover but it was a good sighting of this Leopard.

After Leaving the Leopard we continued our drive into the evening, we found a couple of Spotted Hyenas prowling the night, by using the Spotlight and shooting in Manual mode we got a couple of images of them before they disappeared, continuing their search for a meal, we also decided it was time to head home for our own dinner.

The following morning we set off and within a short time we found a herd of Elephants feeding in the riverbed, we went closer and spent some time with them as they moved along the edge of the river feeding, a Young cow and her calf walked closer and they fed together close to us allowing us to get some lovely images of them together.

While we were at the Elephants we got a call on the radio that a small pack of Wild dogs had been found so we left the elephants to go and have a look at the dogs.

When we arrived at the Dogs they had just finished eating a Duiker that they had stolen from a Leopard, the Leopard had run away and the dogs were still agitated and excited so they set off at a fast pace to try and find the Leopard again, unfortunately for us the dogs ran through a Mopani thicket and we were unable to follow them ! We did however manage a few images of them before they disappeared.

By now it was quite late in the morning so we headed back to camp for Breakfast and a session of Lightroom.

That Afternoon we set off and immediately found a small herd of giraffe, we spent quite some time with the giraffe, there was a big bull and a few females as well as a youngster, we got some great images of them as well as the baby suckling from its mom.

After spending quality time with the Giraffe we photographed some impala and other general game before going to see a solitary Lioness that was stalking a herd of buffalo, when we arrived the Lioness was lying on a termite mound a few hundred meters from the buffalo, the sun had just set behind her so we got ourselves into a good position to photograph the Lioness with the golden colours of dusk behind her, we exposed for the sky and used a bit of fill flash on the lioness and got a few images before she set off tracking the herd of Buffalo, at this point we left her to stalk the buffalo and we headed back to the lodge.

The following morning we set off in search of another Leopard, we wanted to improve on our sighting from the first afternoon.

At one of the dams we photographed a African Darter in the morning light, we were shooting into the sun and the Darter made a good silhouette against the water and it converted very nicely into black and White.

Later on we found and photographed a lone bull elephant as he was feeding on some Mopani trees.

We then got a radio call that Nkanye Female Leopard had been found close by, we rushed over and saw Nkanye just as she crossed over a small clearing and headed into the thickets, she was in stalk mode and we soon saw what she after, a small herd of Impala not too far off.

Nkanye Stalked past us on her way to the Impala and we got some good images of her as she walked by, it was the best opportunity we got to photograph her as after that she used the bush as cover to get close to the Impala so we left her to hunt in peace and we headed back to the Lodge for Breakfast.

That Afternoon we tried a bit of Panning on a herd of impala with some interesting results !

We also spent some time with a small herd of Elephants before heading off to have a look at a Male cheetah that had been found nearby, the cheetah was not very active and he spent most of the time sleeping, he did briefly sit upright to scan the surrounding bush before he lay down again.

By now it was getting late and we headed off to a nearby dam to photograph the sunset, at the dam a small flock of Guinea fowl flew past and we used some fill flash on the birds as they flew past us to roost.

The following morning was our last and although we wanted to photograph another lion or Leopard the bush did not co-operate and we spent time photographing some birds we found at a river crossing, after more searching it was time to head back to the Lodge and say our Goodbye’s.

We had gotten some good images and Reinhard had more Safari to look forward to in another destination and he was looking forward to it with his new found Wildlife photographic Knowledge.

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