Marion's Big Cat Safari
Marion Volborn, winner of the Tigress Julie Photo
Competition, and her husband Rudi have completed a memorable Big Cat
The Big Cat Safari started at Tiger Canyons,
where Ussuri presented her cubs to Marion and Rudi in a beautiful
den site at Sariska rocks. As the sun set, Ussuri played and romped
with the cubs in the prime light.
The next day Sundarban provided some stunning
pictures as he swam in the river.
Tibo obliged by posing on the rocks in beautiful
light and jumping into a tree for good photos.
Marion and Rudi got the opportunity to meet with
the cheetah girls Shashe and Mara. Although Shashe and Mara are
catching small prey, we are still helping them in between kills.
Marion and Rudi got to photograph the cheetah girls feeding off a
warthog that we had given them.
The safari continued with the rehabilitation of
the 2 tiger cubs, Khumba and Aurora. Marion and Rudi were able to
walk with the cubs down a dry river bed and capture many action
Back to Ussuri, where good shots of her cubs were
captured while playing in the water at Le Vea Dam.
Then it was off to Van der Kloof lake (the second
biggest lake in South Africa). While Marion photographed (Marion had
not brought her bikini), Rudi swam and frolicked with the cubs in
My thanks to Megan Heard, Tidi Modise, Riekie
Pieterse, Zeldah Kobola and Sunette Fourie who made Marion and
Rudi's stay at Tiger Canyons so memorable.
The next day, we flew to Londolozi where we met our ranger, James Tyrell and tracker,
Mike Sithole. Marion and Rudi stayed in Varty Camp.
Straight into leopard action. Mashaba female,
Mashaba young female, Marthly male, Tambootie female, Tambootie young
female, Camp Pan male all obliged with stunning pictures captured.
James Tyrell, being a photographer himself,
always got Marion into the best photographic positions and Mike Sithole
has some of the best eyes in the business.
The Majingilanes returned from the West and
obliged by roaring for us on several occasions. The Sparta pride,
Mangene pride and Tsalala pride were all sighted and photographed.
On one occasion, returning from a bush dinner,
we bumped into the entire Sparta pride hunting at night. What an
like to thank James Tyrell, Mike Sithole, all the staff of Varty
Camp and the staff in the Creative Hub for making Marion and Rudi's
trip so memorable.
I think that the strength of this safari is that
Marion and Rudi were intensely interested in everything we told
them. It was not just about pictures, but the whole experience.
In addition, being able to interact closely with
such different cats, lion, leopard, cheetah and tiger. These four
cats are built differently, they hunt differently and all are
beautiful and successful in their own right.
When I started my ex-situ conservation tiger
project some 14 years ago, some critics said that people will not
travel to Africa to photograph a tiger. They were wrong, hopelessly
Marion has been three time to Tiger Canyons and
has several more trips planned.
Photographers like Marion want a good bed to
sleep in, good food, a knowledgeable guide, but above all, they want
opportunities to photograph wild animals, especially cats.
Twelve tigers, over thirty lion, 7 leopard and 3
cheetah in seven days, were photographed at Tiger Canyons and Londolozi
in this unique and remarkable safari.
Air travel and digital photography makes the
above a reality.
When you book a Big Cat Safari, a trip to
Londolozi or Tiger Canyons, you achieve two things:
1) You allow us the means to conserve the lion,
the leopard, the cheetah and the tiger. Many conservationists are
predicting that the African lion has dropped for 250,000 ten years
ago to just 25,000 today. The wild tiger continues to decline at the
rate of one tiger lost per day. Conservationists now estimate the
wild tiger to be less than one thousand.
2) By booking a Big Cat Safari, you allow us to create a much needed job
in the tourist industry. Twenty-four Philippolis people started a new job yesterday as we begin the
final push to enclose another 1,500 hectares of tiger home range.
We could not create these jobs unless you come to visit us
with your camera.
Tread lightly on the Earth
Ussuri's Cubs Naming Competition
We are running a competition to name Ussuri's three cubs. Points out
of 10 will be given for each name given. The person with the highest
points when all the points are totaled, is the winner.
The prize is 3 nights for 2 people at Tiger Canyons. Prize includes
accommodation, but not travel to and from Tiger Canyons.
Clues to entering:
1) Ussuri has three cubs, one female and 2 male.
2) The female cub is the most inquisitive. She will often lie near
the vehicle. I have chuffed her, but so far have had no response.
This female cub has a light coat like her other and it is possible
she is a carrier of the rare, recessive white gene.
3) The two male cubs are larger than the female and more boisterous.
One of the male cubs is more shy than the other.
4) Ussuri is the name of a river in Russia where there used to be
5) The father of the cubs is Sariska. Sariska is the name of a park
in India. Sadly all the tigers were lost in Sariska Park in 2008.
6) Ussuri's parents are Tiger Seatao and Tigress Julie. It is
possible that Ussuri carries the rare white gene.
7) Sariska's parents are Tiger Ron and Tigress Shadow. Sariska's
coat is dark and it is unlikely that he carries the white gene.
8) Sariska has become more aggressive to rival male tigers since the
birth of the cubs
Leather bound - "In the Jaws of the Tiger"
The leather bound is finally out. If you would like to order a
leather bound, please email
email@example.com. The cost is R1 500 plus postage.
is available on "Nine Lives" (standard edition) and "In the Jaws of a
Tiger" (standard edition) for R600 for both plus postage.