Wim’s News from Khwai River Lodge on the Okavango Savute & Chobe Photo Tour:
(Photos from back of Wim’s Camera)
We left the camp in the mysterious early darkness, quite a while before sunrise. The darkness was emphasised by a heavily overcast, gloomy sky. We went to the Mogotlo area that we reached just as the first shards of grey could be seen, heralding the dawn.
We searched for Wild Dogs that we believed were in the Mogotlo area, but could not find them.
We changed direction to follow the Chobe Cut Line and there we found nine lions. They were lying next to a pan, and by now the lovely soft light meant that we could take some beautiful photographs of the lions lying relaxed and unconcerned in the early dawn.
The next moment we looked up to see a giraffe sauntering along. It approached to not more than fifty meters from us and casually went to the waters edge where it adopted that clumsy stance to drink. Meanwhile, as soon as the lions became aware of the giraffe they all went into full hunting mode. They crouched low to the ground and remained rigid, with heads Low and ears flattened.
We had front row seats of all the action, and watched incredulously as the lions crept close to the unperturbed giraffe. The giraffe did not see them, and we all held our breath, pulses racing, and with our cameras ready. It was nerve-wracking and incredibly exciting.
Suddenly the giraffe stopped drinking, lifted its head, and without looking in the direction of the lions it somehow sensed their presence and bolted away with those long strides that cover a distance in very little time. The lions didn’t bother to chase their rapidly disappearing prey, and rather returned to their restful morning.
After the excitement we turned towards the Lodge and started a slow drive back. We passed a magnificent herd of elephants drinking, bathing, and splashing at the Khwai river and were able to photograph them at eye level.
We arrived back at the Lodge just in time for Lunch, after which we enjoyed a Lightroom session – and then we were off again for our afternoon game game.
We found a female leopard and remained with her although it was difficult at times as she was moving through very thick bush. It was almost a cat and mouse game as we kept finding her as she emerged from the dense undergrowth but then disappeared again – and again. Finally she chose an open termite mound in full view and obliged us by posing on the mound until well after sunset. Out came our spotlights and we practised different backlighting, side-lighting, and rim-lighting techniques.
On the way back to the Lodge we came across two honey badgers. What a way to end a very full and exciting day.
In the morning we may try to locate those Wild Dogs again …