Past Safaris

Savuti & Chitabe – August 2010

This safari took us to just two camps. We began at Savuti for 4 nights, and ended off at Chitabe Lediba for the last 3 nights. We chose to spend longer in each camp, in order to spend quality time with photographic subjects. There were just three guests on the trip, and serious photography was our mission. We used just one vehicle, which meant we were able to maximize our mobility. We also took picnic lunches with us, and stayed in the field all day, or the camp would set up lunch for us in the bush.

During our time at Savuti we enjoyed some spectacular elephant viewing. Perhaps the most powerful sightings took place all during one morning when we managed to see and photograph three different herds crossing the channel, each time towards us, which was ideal for photography. One herd in particular just ignored the presence of our vehicle. After coming out of the water they almost surrounded us as they dust-bathed and socialized amongst themselves.

Early one morning we found the young male lions from the pride known as the Selinda pride. This coalition is five males strong, and they appear to be establishing their territory to the east of Savuti camp. Although these males are still quite young, their numbers and size make them seriously intimidating for other male lions already. We had just the one sighting.

We also spent time with a female leopard and her cub, and saw one of the wild dog packs that is in the area waking up one afternoon with their pups.

At Chitabe Lediba we had a quiet first afternoon, which was followed by intense action the next day. First we followed the two resident male lions on a territorial patrol. They chased a leopard up a tree, crossed a shallow channel, and got chased by a bull elephant before going to sleep.

Next we followed a pair of young cheetah, a male and female, that had recently left their mother. They almost managed to catch an ostrich, then an impala, and finally we lost sight of them when chasing a steenbok.

On our way to our lunch in the bush on one of the days we found a young male leopard and we spent an afternoon viewing him. He climbed several trees, and checked out some birds, moving into good places for us to take pictures just before sunset. The next day we found him again, very hungry by then, and unsuccessfully hunting impala, mongooses, and squirrels. He would climb trees to scan for prey, and then move quietly on. Eventually he found and killed an African wild cat. To read more about this event and see images, follow this link to my weekly blog http://www.africageographic.com/blogs/?p=535 This wasn’t enough, and he then climbed the tallest tree I have ever seen a leopard climb, to catch and eat a vulture chick right in the top of the tree. We spent a lot of time with this leopard, and he presented us with some great photo opportunities, climbing low trees and termite mounds often.

This trip was characterized by powerful sightings and we came away with some good pictures, and new-found respect for one particular young male leopard’s patience, agility and resourcefulness.

About the Author:

I am a guide and a photographer, with a deep interest in all things to do with nature. I am based in Cape Town, South Africa, but travel often to wild places whilst leading photographic safaris, and enjoying the outdoors.

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