Mashatu Photo Safari Part 1

17th June 2016
We arrived on in the Afternoon at Mashatu after a long drive from Nelspruit, the scenery at Mashatu is spectacular and I immediately liked the reserve, it was my first visit here and the group was looking forward to the next 4 days of Wildlife photography.

After getting settled into our rooms and then setting up all the brackets for the vehicles we set off on our fist afternoon drive, we had a quiet start to our safari and apart from a few antelope we saw a very fat Lioness sound asleep in the patch of grass ! After our sundowner we headed back to the camp for a great dinner in the Boma.

The following morning was quiet cold and we all wrapped up in beanies, gloves and thick jackets, the Wildlife was out and about this morning and we started the morning photographing a small herd of Zebra, the white grass and the colorful Mopani leaves helped set the scene.

A short while later we spotted a herd of Elephants feeding along the edges of the Mopani thickets, the sun had just come up and we had beautiful morning light across the entire scene, by using a variety of focal lengths we captured all aspects of the Elephants as they slowly fed.

After leaving the Elephants we stopped to photograph a small herd of Eland, as we approached the females started to trot away but the big Male stood quietly watching us, he was a real monster ! He confidently walked from bush to bush feeding not in the least concerned by us, a short distance away a lone male Impala stood alert.

We then decided to head off to the Hyena den that was not too far away, stopping to Photograph a troop of Baboons along the way.

At the Hyena den there were 3 very sleepy adult females and their pups, some of the pups were quietly suckling and one individual ran off into the den, only to re-appear a few moments later peeping at us.

We decided to leave the Hyenas and have a coffee break, shortly after leaving the Den we spotted the yellow form of the Crimson breasted Shrike, this was only the second time in 23 years of birding that I had seen one, it hopped around on the ground in the open and we all man aged to get a few images of it.

We stopped for a break and some coffee at a lookout point over one of the riverbeds, most of the surface water had dried up but there was still a patch of water below us and it wasn’t long before a couple of Elephants joined us for a morning drink.

On the way back to the camp we bumped into another 3 herds of Elephants as they were making their way to a nearby waterhole for a drink. Back at the camp we had a wonderful brunch and then we worked on some of our images and did some classes in Lightroom.

Later on in the afternoon we headed out on drive again, we spotted a couple of Ground Hornbills searching through the grass for a meal, it was the perfect opportunity to try some High Key shooting.

After the Hornbills we tried our hand at photographing a Lilac breasted roller and then a short while later we tried some panning images on a small Journey of giraffe.

Later on in the afternoon we watched as a large flock of Red-Billed Queleas were flying in to roost for the night, the large numbers of birds was quite amazing to watch and the late afternoon light shining through their wings was quite beautiful.

After our drinks break we headed off back to the camp happy with the images we had captured for the day.

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