During the past week at Mashatu Game Reserve, I had the privilege of taking out yet another group of wildlife photographic enthusiast on the Mashatu Photo Vehicle. Included in the photo vehicle experience where a few mornings at the underground hides, which added a unique flare to the entire photo experience.

After viewing most species from the underground hides, including elephant, an array of birdlife, warthog, impala, eland, kudu, baboon and hyena, we decided to take full advantage of the fantastic cheetah sightings that where a daily occurrence last week.

Mapula, mother to four 8 month old cubs, have been gracing us with their presence over the past week. The cubs are in immaculate condition and growing fast, a clear sign that Mapula is doing a fantastic job as a first time mother. With in the 4 days of viewing the cheetah family they had made 3 kills, that we know of!

Another highlight included a morning spent at the Valley Hide with 10 hyena’s. As inquisitive as our hyenas are, we had them poking their heads into the hide, sniffing our camera gear, one even managed to take off with one of our bean bags, which they continued to play with for the next hour as if it where their most prized toy.

An all round fantastic experience was had; we look forward to seeing what this coming weeks Photo Vehicle experience will hold!

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Mapula and her 8 month old cubs
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One of the cubs surveys the area for any potential prey
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Stormy weather and winds are used to the advantage of the cheetah for hunting
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A grey heron utilising one of the very last pools of water in the Majali River
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Mom and cubs huddle together as temperatures begin to drop
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Morning chorus from the hide
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Baboons enjoying a drink at the Matabole Hide
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Sharing the waterhole
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Elephants migrating at dusk
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A leopard traps a vervet monkey in the canopy of an Acica Tree.
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A hyena peeks its head through the small side window of the Valley Hide
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Our guests getting an “up close and personal” experience
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I spy!
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Mashatu guest, Stu, making sure the hyena does not get overly familiar with his camera gear
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A frosty and misty morning view from Pole Hill.


Photographs and Text By: Ruth Nussbaum

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