I have had the recent privilege to begin my work cycle with a five night Photographic Safari, that took myself, my tracker Life, and my two guests to the most remote corners of the property. We spent many hours exploring the wilderness, patiently tracking animals, sitting with them whilst they slept, groomed and lay. We discussed animals, birds and trees. And we built a personal relationship that allowed us to learn about each other – the foundation of a solid friendship.
I do not like to boast about sightings I have seen. Excitement, however, often gets the better of me and I will run into the Rangers Room to tell anyone who wants to listen. But these five days spent in the bush will go down as some of the best days of game viewing I have had in nearly four years of guiding. The list of animals we got to see and photograph is endless and the interactions and photographic opportunities have rivalled some of the best I have experienced.
In five days in the bush we managed to encounter over seven herds of Cape buffalo, each 300 large. Seven individual leopards, two different pairs of mating leopards, the Marthly male crossing the Sand River at sunset, then crossing back in the dark, four male lions hunting a herd of buffalo, the Tsalala pride, the Sparta pride, a young male cheetah and a female cheetah and cubs. We experienced sunsets and sunrises, cold, mist, warmth and dryness. We spent every morning eating a picnic breakfast in the bush and returning home late after animals had settled for the day. It was an experience I will not forget anytime soon.
Below are some of the images we captured during those many hours we spent waiting patiently for things to happen. I hope you enjoy.
Written and Photographed by: Mike Sutherland