Mashatu Photo Safari Part 2

26th June 2016
The following morning it was my groups turn to spend the morning in the Underground Elephant Hide, the hide is about a 30 minute drive from Tented camp and we arrived just after it was starting to get light.

I really enjoyed the hide, it has a great view of the waterhole and a great low angle as well, there is enough room to move around and to comfortably set up camera equipment for about 5 photographers.

Shortly after we arrived various birds started to arrive at the waterhole for a drink, Spurfowl, Grey go away Birds, Waxbills, Firefinches and a whole variety of others species, we also had a couple of visits from Meyers Parrots, beautiful parrots that waddled up to the waters edge to slake their thirst.

Later on in the morning we practiced our in flight photography on the doves that flew in for a drink and that took off again trying to capture them in flight, more missed images than successful ones , but every once in a while the Doves flight pattern and your timing works together.

Our time in the hide flew past and before we realized it was 9-30 am and time to leave, unfortunately for us the Elephants had not come for a drink this morning, the group from the morning before had about 300 Elephants come and drink at the hide and the following morning the next group of photographers had about 100 Elephants came for a drink at the hide, we were just unlucky !

On our way back to the camp we received a call that a Leopard had been found so went over to have a look, it was a beautiful female Leopard and she was steadily walking in one direction as if she had to get somewhere, we followed the Leopard for about 30 minutes as she weaved her way through the shrubs and grass photographing her as she went, we also tried a few High key images of her.

Finally the Leopard went and lay down in a thick patch of shade in a small ditch and we decided it was time to leave her and head off for breakfast and some more Lightroom training.

That afternoon we set off again, we found a herd of impala close to the road and as the herd started to move off past the front of the vehicle we used this opportunity to try some panning images of them.

After the Impalas we made our way towards the Hyena den, photographing some birds and more Impalas along the way, once we arrived at the Hyena den we watched as the pups suckled and the adults sleepily watched us, one of the pups walked up to another sleepy female and briefly greeted her with its nose before heading down into the den for the evening.

After leaving the Hyenas we got news that a family of 5 Cheetahs had been found, Mom and 4 sub Adults, we headed over to the Cheetahs as quick as we could and just as the sun had set we arrived where the Cheetah were resting, by now the light was gone and we tried a few panning images of the Cheetah as they moved towards a small hill where they lay down for the night, it was also time for us to head back to the camp for our dinner.

The following morning we left camp early and headed towards where we had left the Cheetah the previous evening, along the way we saw a couple of Black backed Jackals trotting along, the sun was not up yet and it was a great opportunity to try some panning images on the Jackals.

A short distance along the road we were surprised to find a Lioness with a Baby Elephant carcass, the Lioness had only eaten a small amount of the elephant and we found out from our Guide that the Baby Elephant had been seen the night before without its mom and its tail missing, it had been attacked by some Hyenas but had managed to get away and either it died in the night or the Lioness had caught it !

We spent quite some time with the Lioness and her Elephant meal before heading off towards the Cheetah again, while we were driving along one of the riverbeds we found a female Leopard moving along the riverbank, what a great find ! We stayed with the Leopard as best we could as she weaved along the river and the riverbank, every now and again she would cross over a clearing and we would furiously photograph her as she moved, eventually the Leopard moved into a thicket and we decided to continue our drive toward the Cheetah.

By now the Cheetah had been found by some of the other guides and we went to join them at the sighting. The Cheetah were not very active and they stuck close together, eventually laying down in a bunch not doing too much.

By this time it was getting late in the morning so we headed back to camp, along the way photographing a nice big herd of Impalas as they stood watching us.

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