(Photos: From Back of Ben’s Camera)
About a half hour before we were due to leave the Lodge this morning we could hear repeated lion roars very close by. We found the pride very quickly – within ten minutes or so, and stopped for some close-up and portrait style shots. The lions may have had an active night because they were quite lethargic and were settling down to rest for the approaching day.
Hearing about a male leopard not far from us we went in search of him, and although we found him with no difficulty, good photography was ruled out because he was dozing in some thick combretum bushes. We could see him, but he was partially obscured, further ruling out those winning shots. At first the leopard demonstrated no signs of becoming more active. However, we waited for a while and grabbed our cameras happily when he actually did get up to start moving around. We followed him, but the density of the combretum thicket made it quite difficult to keep up and to get ahead and our passage was slow. We did manage somehow somehow to keep up with him until he found a comfortable spot where he settled to rest for the day. This also signalled the time for us to return to the Lodge.
As you can imagine, as soon as we left the Lodge this afternoon we headed straight back to the male leopard. And now luck was really with us. Not only were we able to locate him again with ease, he was moving around.
We sat with the male leopard when he stopped for a rest, and while we all sat there, waiting for whatever would transpire next, we heard another leopard calling. Our trackers went in search of the second leopard and found him very close by. So, two males in a small area! They were not more than a hundred or so meters apart.
We opted to go to the second male leopard as he was very active and ultra busy. We managed to get quite a few photos as he walked past the vehicle, and then again and again when we pulled ahead to allow him to catch up again. Unfortunately, he decided to visit a neighbouring reserve and we had to watch him as he sauntered into that territory and disappeared where we could not follow.
We returned to the first male leopard, and found him posing on a termite mound with the beautiful setting sun and colourful sky as a backdrop.
When we left the leopard we wanted to check on the lions once again, hoping that they would be up and about. We found them where we had left them, and within minutes of our arrival, they started to move about in the night. We followed and filled our cameras with all types of really pleasing shots, and felt quite awed and privileged to accompany the huge cats as they started their evening routines.
When the lions stopped for another rest, we realised that it was time to return to the Lodge for dinner, but we would like to catch up with the pride before sunrise again …