T.I.G.E.R.S. African Safari 2012
The 2012 T.I.G.E.R.S. Safari was a phenomenal success. Here is the second group enjoying a sundowner after an amazing
day of following wildlife through the South African bushveldt.
The first group
waiting for our private flight ot Mala Mala. This is how airport terminals should be.
Stopping at one of the nearby camps for a short break.
The group together outside the ranger station.
A male nyala waiting just outside my room.
Elephants walking by the camp.
One of the most unusual sightings I've ever had on safari. . . . .
November is springtime in South Africa. It is a time for renewal of life. Following the season's first rains, many animals give birth.
The most prolific species of antelope in the area is the impala. For this reason, baby impalas are a significant part of the diet of various
predators. Something I had heard of before, but had never seen until this point, is a rock python that had eaten an entire antelope.
As if this site was not unique enough by itself, a whole series of events followed which is truly a once in a lifetime event to witness.
Because the snake ate an entire antelope, it could not move very quickly, which made it easy prey for other predators.
The predator that happened upon the lethargic python was a leopard, which quickly killed the snake and proceeded to eat the
snake with the impala inside. It was about this time that we happened upon the scene and the leopard was sitting in the high
grass, chomping away. As I focused my lens on the back of the leopard's head, I thought to myself, "I wish he would
turn around so I could get a good picture of this." At that very moment, there was a rustle in the grass only 20' away. A spotted hyena
came bolting out of the darkness and chased the leopard up the nearest tree, impala filled python firmly clamped in his jaws.
Now because the leopard had already started eating the snake, there was a large hole in the reptile's side. Protruding from this gaping
orifice was the recently consumed impala (see photo below). The leopard took his prize into the tree as they hyena circled
greedily below. As the leopard drug and draped the 12' constrictor
over the branches, the impala popped out of the snake
and fell to the ground with a thud. In less time than it took for it to register what happened, the hyena swooped in from the shadows
and grabbed the large morsel and was gone back into the night just as quickly. The impala had literally been eaten twice that night.
As remarkable as the entire situation was, what made it truly unbelievable is that it happened within 20' of me and the
fact that I actually had a camera to prove it!
Leopard running away from the hyena with the python in his mouth. Notice that it is in fact a baby impala sticking out,
not the entrails of the snake. You can clearly see the brown fur of the impala.
The leopard made it up the tree, but notice the impala is precariously hanging out of the snake.
The hyena is circling below waiting for dinner.
He swoops in to grab the impala after it falls from the tree.
He runs off back into the bush to eat in privacy.
Although the leopard lost the impala to his rival, he still has more than his share of snake meat to eat.
The leopard grabs the rock python with his powerful jaws and teeth.
He readjusts the snake so it too does not plummet out of his graspe.
Inspecting the snake.
Taking a well earned breather after the trying ordeal.
A leopard looking over my shoulder.
Hiking through a euphorbia forest to the top of a Stweiss Koppie.
Nyala, wildebeest and waterbuck off of the back deck.
The rhino wandering towards the camp.
Rhino at the pool.
Elephant feeding in the river in front of the main camp.
Another amazing sighting happened when we saw a mother leopard and her cub with a fresh impala kill stashed in a tree.
A male leopard from a nearby territory came to relieve the two of their meal. This is a remarkable thing to see all by itself.
The scene became even more exciting when a pack of 14 wild dogs rushed in and chased all three leopards up a tree.
(Wild dogs are incredibly rare. Only about 3,000 exist in the wild and are extremely rare to see while on safari.)
If this phenomenal sighting was not exciting enough, a hyena who had picked up the scent of the dead impala wandered
in to see if he could get a quick meal and the wild dogs chased him off too!
Wild dogs chased a leopard up the tree.
Wild dogs circling the tree.
Mother and cub treed by the wild dogs.
The dogs were jumping all the way off the ground trying to get to the leopards.
An African staring contest.
A wild dog chasing off the hyena. We actually saw this happen three times throughout the trip. AMAZING!
Waterbuck in the river.
Early morning nap.
I've never seen a rhino make a face like this, but it is pretty funny.
Elephants and waterbuck in the river bed next to camp.
An adult and juvenile fish eagle together.
Rhino and hippos in front of the camp.
Chacma baboon baby.
Wild dogs on the hunt.
Knob billed duck
Hornbill with a hornet.
Giraffe with female nyala in the background.
Mother and rhino calf.
Dugger boys - A bachelor herd of cape buffalos wallowing in the mud.
Lilac-breasted roller eating a cicada.
Juvenile fish eagle.
Lunch time for the dogs.
On the hunt
Fresh meat - notice their blood stained faces.
A lucky impala sneaking away unnoticed.
The victor with his prize.
Coming back down from the tree.
A leopard snack for later.
Female lions on top of a rock.
Seven month old leopard cub with the dinner that mom caught.
Egyptian goose with babies.
Saddle bill stork
A glass of wine for the drive.
Game viewing at its most evolved.
A beer with the game drive, the second most evolved. . . .
A one legged maribou stork.
Black bellied corhan
Impala and baboons often hang out together.
Brown-headed parrots. The only parrot species in South Africa.
A green pigeon.
Francolin with chicks.
Stabilizing the monopod for a group shot with a couple rocks and elephant dung.
View of the Sand River from the top of Stweiss Koppie.
Hippo grazing in front of one of the rooms.
Juvenile bataleur eagle.
This hyena was being chased by wild dogs.
For anyone who doesn't believe that the wild is a rough place to live.
A hyena on the road leading out of camp.
Mock hippo battles.
This is one of my favorite rocks at Mala Mala. There is a perfect line between the granite and the dolorite.
It was made even more special this trip by seeing a leopard laying above it.
A VERY young baby.
A bushbok right outside the room.
A ground hornbill with a giant land snail.