First, an image of Salayexe from last night …
As always we left the Lodge before sunrise, hoping to maybe catch up with leopards in the eastern part of the reserve.
On the way we passed elephants – a definite stop for photographs there, and when we came across some rhino, that meant another stop for sure.
Close to the eastern area we picked up some fresh leopard tracks and followed these. The tracks led us to a young male leopard, and he was really enjoying his morning. He lay around relaxing in the long grass at first – which wasn’t great for photography. But we waited for a while … until he stood up, then walked around, and ended up at a small water pan where he stopped for a nice long drink. That gave us all time to capture some great images.
We started to head back in the direction of the Lodge, and to our delight we saw another rhino, a nice healthy male this time. And almost as a repeat of the drive in the opposite direction we also saw a couple of herds of elephants.
This afternoon started with yet more elephants. They were very close to our vehicles, and as the light had that lovely golden late afternoon glow, we took full advantage to photograph the elephants from all angles, with some very close close-ups.
We also stopped to photograph zebra and giraffe and then a few very smart looking nyala.
We gradually made our way towards the east where we saw the leopard this morning, and found him again without too much difficulty. He was lying in a grassy area again. After some time he got up and sauntered over to a large Leadwood tree that he climbed. The photography was great, and we hung around to see what he would do next. He eventually climbed down from the tree and went to fetch a small piece of something from what must have been a really old kill. He took his scrap to a dry river bed and there he settled down to chew on his find while we used our spotlight to capture many images.
When the leopard disappeared into the bush we realised that it was time to return to the Lodge. On the way we saw a civet cat and shortly after, a genet. That was a fabulous way to end our day.
In the morning we may return to the young male leopard again …