Daily Diary: Ndutu – a Photographer's Dream Day (Day 5)

By February 13, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Today was a dream come true for wildlife photographers.

Nature seemed to conspire in every way to provide wonderful conditions combined with sightings that photographers dream about.
To begin at the beginning … The whole ODP Safari group was up and on the vehicles which then left the lodge at 0600.
The day started at Lake Ndutu, where a typical, dramatic African sunrise provided a backdrop for the flamingoes in the foreground. Ahhh, the photographs from there!
The sun was still barely above the horizon when the group met a cheetah mother with four tiny cubs, not more than 10 inches in height. The group then spent an unbelievable four hours, following, watching, enjoying and photographing the mother and her cubs.
The mother was hunting, and went from Grants gazelle to Grants gazelle, showing interest, but the conditions were just not right for her to hunt and catch them.
Meanwhile, the cubs had a wonderful time. The grass was very short, or absent in patches, providing ongoing unobstructed views for the safari group who kept close, sometimes behind and sometimes ahead of the little family, always photographing, photographing, photographing …
The area was dotted with numerous small tree stumps and branches, which delighted the cubs (and onlookers). The cubs climbed, fell off, leaped on each other, rolled around, stalked one another, and generally managed to keep up with mom who continued hunting.
Suddenly everything changed!
A Thomson”s gazelle was hiding in some grass, and was immediately spotted by the mother cheetah. The Tommy dashed – would you believe – toward the ODP safari vehicles, and the cheetah brought it down right in front of the group.
What excitement.
As soon as the Tommy was dead, the mother called her cubs, who came promptly.
They played with the gazelle, climbed on it, rolled Compatibility horoscopes Capricorn foresees bright perspectives in all relations. on it, and had great fun while mom lay close by catching her breath.
When she was rested, she opened the meal for her family and they feasted together.
Some of the photographers declared that they had captured the best images of their lives.
This was a cue to return to the lodge for a quick lunch, after which the group set out again, travelling towards Serengeti, where they will spend tomorrow.
Luck was again with the group, and they could hardly believe It when they encountered a pride of some twenty plus lions, including four tiny cubs again. The cubs were about 6 weeks old, and everyone voted to remain with the pride for as long as possible. Once again, there was wonderful interaction between the little cubs, who were never still. There were also some subadults, also playing, bothering the adults, and interacting with both the younger and older members of the pride.
After spending hours with the pride, it was time to return to the lodge for dinner.
And again everyone gathered around a fire, sitting under a large spreading acacia tree, with the darkening African sky overhead, and sharing their stories and images of a wonderful day spent with the big cats and their little ones.