(Images from back of Brendon’s Camera)
Being out before dawn is always so special, and searching for animals in that quiet before the sun rises gives a special, almost mysterious aura to the experience.
As we set out this morning, we were keen to follow up on the leopards that we have been so lucky to photograph in the past days. While driving around searching for tracks we spotted three rhinos. The sun was just about to make an appearance and the colours in the sky behind the rhinos looked spectacular. And not far down the road we found another four rhinos. So we really had a rhino morning and were very fortunate to end up with some fabulous shots.
Then we found leopard tracks belonging to a large male, and followed them. That was a wonderful experience. We weren’t far behind him, and could hear him calling, calling repeatedly, and in between we heard other animals, like impala, alarm calling when they were alerted to his presence. It was a very special experience to follow him like that, listening, hearing, and carrying on – and on. When his tracks crossed the boundary we turned back again.
We received a call about a young female leopard and it didn’t take long for us to hasten there. We used wide-angle lenses with a flash, and used different lighting and flash techniques for different effects. The leopard lay peacefully and unconcerned on the side of a termite mound, and we could compose some really successful images.
This afternoon we saw more rhinos, a large number of elephants, and beautiful giraffe. One of the giraffe had the cutest new-born baby, just a day or two old, and as the light was already taking on that special golden hue, we dashed off another set of very successful photographs.
We encountered another female leopard walking around. She was calling, and posed here and there as she inspected her territory. We lost her as she entered one of the dense thickets that are found here.
At that moment we heard another leopard calling and shot off in that direction … to find yet another female leopard – this one had a fresh bushbuck kill, and she was feeding hungrily. After a while she dragged the carcass a distance over to a smallish tree where she sat and rested for quite some time before eating again. Eventually she hoisted the kill up into the tree, and we were thrilled to be able to photograph all the action, including the impressive leap and as she dragged the remains way up into the high branches of the tree.
Back at the Lodge everyone is pleased with another great day, and memory cards filled with stunning shots.
Tomorrow morning we will experience our final game drive for this safari – and our plan is to head straight back to the tree with the carcass and the female leopard …