Sunday, June 15, 2014

2014 LIONS & LEOPARDS of Mala Mala - June

The first of this seasons Lions and Leopards of Mala Mala photo safari has just ended. We also did the two night Forest Camp extension for African Reptile and Vulture Photography.

Our three nights at the Big Cat Reserve was very eventful with the Lions on a Buffalo kill and the two Cheetah brothers, Floppy and Hunters bringing down a young Waterbuck. The two seasoned Leopards, Jabula and Bagheera were still on form for the night photo shoot.

Then it was off to the Kruger National Park and 4 nights at Satara in central Kruger.
We spent a lot of time sitting patiently at the remaining waterholes and Girivana and Nkaya pan were both very productive. We spent the entire day at Nkaya pan and animals came and went like clock work. A Saddle Billed Stork kept us entertained in the quiet times as she continuously hunted in the pan for Platanas (african Clawed Frogs) Special treats were a beautiful Male Lion with one of the biggest manes I have seen in the Kruger, Rhino, Elephant, Impala, Zebra, Warthog, Wildebeest and Kudu, to name just a few.

The Sweni Bird hide was productive too with a Goliath Heron that showed off his hunting skills right in front of the hide.

Our final stop was three nights at Mala Mala. We began with a sighting of a Leopard and her cub in a tree with a kill. Later on that evening a male leopard arrived and stole the kill.

The Eyrefield pride successfully caught a young male Nyala on one of the night drives. Great bird photography, a rare Sable Antelope and the Newington and the Airstrip Male leopards were some other highlights.

On our final night we witnessed the Bicycle Crossing Male Leopard chase another male leopard at full speed through the sand river where they briefly fought, the "Bike" was the clear victor and chased his counterpart, who we believe was a younger male, off into the night !

On our final morning drive we soon found the Eyrefield pride on the airstrip, we followed them on a brief unsuccessful hunt and then they made their way down to the river and crossed at the perfect place for us to get some Lions in the river photos !! what a great ending to a magical safari..

Many thanks to the staff at Forest Camp, Tshukudu and Mala Mala and to Stefan our guide at Forest Camp, Deon and Matt, our rangers at Tshukudu and to Brendan, our ranger at Mala Mala for looking after us and getting us into great positions for some wonderful photo opportunities.

Thanks also to mum - great food again in the Kruger :) and a huge thanks to Becky, all the way from Whidbey Island - Washington State - for joining us on this photo safari, it was a fantastic trip !

Here are some of the photos - enjoy !!

Flat Rock Scorpion - courtesy Becky Bolen

White Backed Vulture 

Puff Adder


Jumping Spider on Boomslang

Green Mamba

Black Mamba

Snouted Cobra

Lioness on Buffalo Kill - Big Cat Reserve

Male Lion - Big Cat Reserve

Bagheera the female Leopard - Big Cat Reserve

Floppy the Male Cheetah - Big Cat Reserve

Jabula - Big Cat Reserve

Young lions - Big Cat Reserve

Lion - Big Cat Reserve

Jabula - Big Cat Reserve

Bagheera at the night shoot - Big Cat Reserve

Young Lioness - Big Cat Reserve

Male Lion - Big Cat Reserve

Cheetah brothers with Waterbuck kill - Big Cat Reserve

Ntombi facing up to two Rhinos - Big Cat Reserve

Ntombi - Big Cat Reserve

Portrait of King Cheeta - Big Cat Reserve

Zebra at Girivana - Kruger National Park

Kudu - Kruger National Park

Zebra drinking - Kruger National Park

Zebra - Kruger National Park

White Rhino - Kruger National Park

Cape Buffalo - Kruger National Park

Male Waterbuck - Kruger National Park

Female Saddle Billed Stork - Kruger National Park

Blue Wildebeest - Kruger National Park

Warthogs drinking - Kruger National Park

Wildebeest and Saddle Billed Stork - Kruger National Park

Male Lion at Nkaya Pan - Kruger National Park

Impala Drinking - Kruger National Park

Zebra drinking - Kruger National Park

Zebra Nkaya Pan - Kruger National Park

Cape Buffalo - Kruger National Park

Male Elephant - Kruger National Park

Impala running - Kruger National Park

Giraffe - Kruger National Park

Purple Roller - Kruger National Park

Crocodile and Jacana - Kruger National Park

Goliath Heron with fish  - Kruger National Park

Giraffe drinking - Kruger National Park

Juvenile Martial Eagle - Kruger National Park

Bateleur Eagle - Kruger National Park

Young Leopard - Mala Mala

Leopard in tree at sunset- Mala Mala

Leopard sleeping with moon in background (double exposure)- Mala Mala

Young male Lion of the Eyrefield pride- Mala Mala

Brown Snake Eagle- Mala Mala

Sable Antelope- Mala Mala

Barred Owl- Mala Mala

Lilac Breasted Roller- Mala Mala

Roller dive bombing Pearl Spotted Owlet- Mala Mala

Roller and Pearl spotted owlet- Mala Mala

Newington Male Leopard- Mala Mala

Airstrip Male Leopard- Mala Mala

Bushbuck- Mala Mala

Bicycle Crossing Male Leopard- Mala Mala

Bicycle Crossing Male Leopard- Mala Mala

Spotted Eagle Owl - Mala Mala

The Eyrefield Pride thinks about crossing the Sand River - Mala Mala

Warming up in the sun before deciding to cross - Mala Mala

Making their way across the Sand River - Mala Mala

One of the adult Lionesses looks up river - Mala Mala