Ahh – it is always such a pleasure to be back at Elephant Plains!
Everyone arrived safely and in good time for a meal, introductions and a briefing and then it was time for our first game drive.
During the morning one of the leopard cubs had been located and that gave us a really good idea where to start our safari. Leopard cubs are always a special treat to see and photograph and of course we headed directly to the spot where it had been seen. We tracked for a short while, and then found the cub up in a leafy Jackalberry tree. We were able to get some fabulous shots of her up there as she peered down at us curiously. She was in the V of the tree, and very comfortable, giving us plenty of time to compose our images and to adapt for the changing light as the sun neared the horizon. She occasionally moved from one branch to another, but she made no attempt to leave security of the tree.
When we left the cub we soon found a herd of elephants and stopped to photograph the group. And soon after there were more elephants again.
We saw a rhino with a one year old calf – that was a truly special sighting. We spent some time watching the two together.
When we received a call about one of the large dominant male leopards not far away, we immediately dashed in that direction. He was walking around busily, scent – marking as he went, and we kept pulling ahead of him to get photos of him walking towards us, and then the sought after walk-bys. Eventually. As it was getting dark, he disappeared into a neighbouring reserve. He looked rather round and very well-fed, so clearly he had eaten his fill very recently.
After a superb start to our safari, we are looking forward to the next days. In the morning we may start back at the leopard cub again to see what she is up to …