Our morning started slowly. The mother leopard and her cub were spotted in and out of the Lodge grounds many times over the past two days and we tried to find them, thinking that they should not be far from the Lodge. We looped around and around the Lodge and followed tracks, but gave up when a report came through about the leopards. They were spotted in a neighbouring camp, and as one cannot really go game spotting in a camp, we turned our attention elsewhere.
There is a pregnant leopard to the south of the Lodge, and we decided to find her. We had no luck there either, but we stopped often for three separate rhino sightings and many elephants.
We also stopped for male impalas. They were very active and very entertaining as they chased each other back and forth. We practised panning shots, and managed to get some really impactful images. For some of the guests this was a different, new, and exciting technique to master, and by the end of the drive, everyone was quite proficient with very successful photographs to show.
We stopped when the light became very harsh and it was time to head back to the Lodge to bid farewell to the first safari group and to welcome the incoming group.
Our afternoon game drive started with another search for the mother leopard and cub. We hoped that she was no longer in a camp, but while we were searching for her, a call came through about the One-Eyed leopard. She’s a very beautiful leopard, is very relaxed, and her missing eye somehow gives her face an extra quality with plenty of character.
We spent ages photographing the gorgeous leopard. She obliged us by strolling past our vehicle without giving us so much as a cursory glance. We pulled ahead of her a few times, and each time she strolled past us again, ultra casual and very relaxed. It was a fabulous encounter. She wandered along slowly, sniffing bushes, and scent-marking as we went.
Then someone found male leopard tracks, but although we followed these, we could not find him. But once again we found rhino, elephants everywhere, and a number of giraffe.
On the way back to the Lodge we found four Barn Owls. They flew around and around a tree where we surmised that they have a nest. The birds flew around, and then returned to the same tree again and again. We had many opportunities to photograph them in flight and as they perched in the tree. This was extra special as one does not often get to photograph these rather elusive owls – certainly not as much as we were able to do, taking our time, and able to compose good shots.
So all in all, it turned out to be a really successful drive for the new safari group. We are looking forward to following up on the mother leopard and cub again in the morning …