On Sunday morning we woke up to two factors – lions roaring, as they had through most of the night, and a light drizzle.
We went in search of the roaring sounds and found a mating couple. This was right at the end of their lengthy ritual, and they were clearly about to separate. The male set off, and when he spotted a herd of zebras, his interest was focussed on his next meal.
The handsome lion headed towards the zebra herd with care and determination. He reached the herd at a clearing where they were gazing and relaxing, but then his interest seemed to wane and he lay down in a nearby bushy area.
We waited for a while to see if the lion would change his mind. While we waited a small herd of giraffe arrived and walked across a nearby plain where they were silhouetted beautifully against the early glowering sky. They looked wonderful and we filled our cameras with superb images.
When we heard that a large pride of lions were moving and possibly on the hunt, we immediately dashed there. We found about thirteen lions (lionesses with subadult females and males) that looked quite hungry and were very much out on an early morning hunt. We looped around them continuously to get photographs from all angles. Suddenly one of the lions broke away from the others and went into a full stalking mode. We made our way surreptitiously around the hunting lioness, and then saw what she was stalking. We could just identify a pair of warthog ears in the long grass. The lions closed in, creeping closer, closer, closer. Everything was quiet as we held our breath. For a moment the whole scene seemed to freeze, and within a split second chaos erupted when the lioness broke cover and dashed after the warthog, with other lionesses appearing as if from thin air. They chased the warthog down, but as always, one cannot predict the outcome of events with certainty. We knew that the lionesses had the warthog when suddenly it reached a small riverine and disappeared from sight, leaving the lions staring incredulously at each another and at the spot where their prey disappeared as if by magic. We could hardly believe that the warthog had been so lucky …
And we had been in the best possible position for photography, with the warthog and lions hurtling full-tilt towards us. It was an amazing chase and we could not ask for better excitement and circumstances.
After breakfast under the trees we found five cheetahs. The morning was warm, and the Five relaxed in the heat of the advancing day.
We traveled on towards the Talek River and saw that massive herds of zebra, wildebeest, and topi were massing everywhere. Because they were not actually beginning to gather and push towards the river, we spent a few hours using different photographic techniques for impactful shots. Panning, high-key, different lighting modes all produced the kind of different shots we really like to collect.
Clouds were building up, with light and heavy showers dotted around. The magenta sky looked so dramatic with the beautiful trees, Plains and animals in the foreground.
Tomorrow we think we may follow up on that hungry pride of lions – maybe they will hunt again as they certainly are hungry …