Renowned wildlife photographer, Max Waugh and his wife visited MalaMala again recently. He was a guest back in 2010, and you may recall his video capture of the Jakkalsdraai female leopard with her cub. He shares his experience, and the magnificient photographs he took, with us.
“It was difficult paring down a selection of photos for the blog, since we (once again) had so many great sightings during our stay at Mala Mala. Though I was initially disappointed to hear that we had missed the wild dogs by a couple weeks, that letdown was quickly forgotten thanks to plenty of cat sightings and pleasant surprises from other species.
Leopards are the main reason we returned to Mala Mala, and we were fortunate to see eleven different individuals in four days, including seven (!) in one day. The handsome Son of the Dudley Female started things off during our first afternoon drive, posing nicely for photos on the banks of the river. Things didn’t slow down from there, as we witnessed a couple of hunts (none successful), showdowns between multiple leopards fighting over carcasses, and one of Mala Mala’s newest leopards, the cub of the Kikilezi Female. The cub was already proving to be quite adventurous, exploring on its own and even climbing up a tall tree while mom was away hunting.
Though adorable, the leopard cub may have come in second in a cuteness contest to another set of kittens. Our first encounter with the Eyrefield lion cubs provided some very close sightings through the dense thicket at their latest den site. We had been able to track mom back to the bushes where she had left the little ones, and then proceeded to watch as they’d wander out of her sight – occasionally approaching our vehicle – until she’d come over and drag them back under cover.
Cats are always one of my chief goals during these trips, but I feel that one of the things that makes MalaMala great, is the sheer variety of wildlife in general. I was very pleased to have my “best ever” photo sessions with white rhinos (including a baby), Verreaux’s eagle-owls, some very horny tree squirrels and – perhaps the highlight of the entire stay – a couple of bushbabies that happened to be climbing through a tree as we returned to our suite at Rattrays.
Another great time at MalaMala. Big thanks to our guides Bens and Nick, and to Alison and the staff for being great hosts!”
Thank you for sharing your safari with us, Max!
Click here to view more photos by Max Waugh.