Our first full day in the Mara started really early when we set out in the predawn darkness, ready to greet a truly spectacular sunrise. The colours in the sky were breathtaking, the golden light and crisp clear air made the whole world look quite magical.
We found a lioness with three really tiny Cubs. They were too cute for words and although they were obscured in the bush and not easy to photograph we really enjoyed seeing them. They looked not more than eight weeks old at most, and still protected by mom in deep bush.
When we left the lions we headed to a ridge where we hoped to see a pride of lions that frequent the area. A male with four lionesses and eight Cubs were there, and there were no leafy or rocky obstructions. We could see them all clearly. The Cubs ranged in age from about three months to a year or so. They all looked healthy and strong as the whole pride languished in the early sun rays, basking in the early warmth and very relaxed. It looked wonderful, and to complete the picture the sky behind the pride was beautiful with scudding, fluffy while clouds in an azure blue sky. Just lovely! We were able to use different techniques and a variety of angles, including low angle shots to capture dozens of superb photos.
When the lions moved away to a rocky area where we could not follow them we looked around and in the distance saw the shapes of more lions. We hastened there and found a very handsome male with two females. They were just settling down to sleep for the day so we left them to rest and moved on.
We decided to take a chance and check the area where we had seen the cheetah. We arrived to find her stalking some Thomson’s Gazelles. We watched with bated breath as she crept closer and closer. Suddenly she broke cover and gave chase. The herd scattered, panicking, in all directions. The cheetah had her sights on a youngster and within seconds she made her kill. She was very close to us, and I had to remind everyone in the excitement to keep photographing!
Whew! That hunt and kill happened so quickly that we almost could not believe it! Our timing had been perfect and we had arrived to witness the whole action. We remained with the cheetah as she settled down to eat. We watched a number of hyenas that were very close by, but they made no attempt to steal the kill. Maybe the action had been so fast that they hadn’t even noticed the drama right there next to them.
We left the cheetah to enjoy her meal and went to enjoy our breakfast that was served under a tree out in the bush.
Then we drove around, checking for other predators. And again luck was with us. We came across a female leopard. Ahah – we had seen her before. She was the amorous female that we had seen mating previously, but now she was alone. She wandered around, walked along a riverine, but then she decided to check us out. She walked around our vehicle, sniffed the tyres and bumpers, and in doing this we were able to amass quite a collection of full frame closeup shots. She was so relaxed, so cooperative, and we took advantage of each and every moment.
We took a slow drive back to the Lodge for lunch, passing plenty of game along the way. Buffalo, elephants, large herds of giraffe, plenty of zebra, and even a few Wildebeest that hadn’t migrated yet could be seen.
Our afternoon drive started and actually ended with the lions again. Everyone was keen to capitalise on the brilliant sighting and our cameras were very busy indeed.
When we left the lions for a while we photographed elephants and other game and then we found a male cheetah. He was very lazy and as he showed no inclination to move we left him and headed towards the camp.
On the way we spotted another female leopard. Wow! She was also feeling very lazy and sleepy, and although she didn’t move much it was certainly special to see a second leopard in one day!
After this fabulous day everyone is exhilarated, looking forward to dinner and a good sleep before our early start in the morning …