Okavango Photo Safari to Khwai River Lodge Botswana: Leopard on our First Drive!…

Ben Cranke Reports from the Okavango Photo Safari to Khwai River Lodge

After leaving Nata Lodge after breakfast, we arrived at the wonderful Khwai River Lodge in time for a delicious lunch.

Then after our briefing were we’re ready to start our safari in earnest. There has been so much rain here, and everything is wet and lush, with very tall grass, which looks so beautiful but makes animal spotting a bit of a challenge.

And of course, in the wet conditions the chance of getting stuck is – well, almost inevitable, I guess. But we extricated ourselves very quickly and soon thereafter we found a young, handsome and very healthy two year old leopard. He was walking along, patrolling his territory.

We stuck with the leopard right through until dark as we made his way through the grass, and then very fortunately for us climbed onto the branches of a fallen tree and sat there for a while.

99 Khwai Wim Leopard March 2017-827-14

He peered around, scanned the area carefully, then lay down, but kept his eye on his surroundings. At this stage the sun was close to the horizon, casting a soft golden light over everything, with lovely purplish contrasting shadows. To complete the picture, branches of the tree looked great and we were able to use them creatively as we composed our shots.

When the leopard came down from the tree we continued to follow him. But not for far as he found a handy termite mound to lie down on for another rest and another careful perusal all around. He arrived at the mound just before dark, and as night time took over, we started to use flash photography. This looked especially effective when the ambient light showed the background. Then, when it was totally dark, we used our spotlights. Luckily for us the cat was very relaxed and unfazed by our presence.

99 Khwai Wim Leopard March 2017-869-56

When he moved from the termite mound we quickly lost him as he melted into the darkness, and we realised that it was time for us to return to the Lodge – just in time for dinner.

 

With that great start to our safari, we are hoping to find the leopard again tomorrow … as well as some elephants …