FROM TREVOR MCCALL-PEAT & VILLIERS STEYN
Yesterday afternoon, after a light lunch, we headed out on drive and decided to follow up in the area we had left Tingana in the morning. We had heard that Thandi had rejoined him sometime during the day. It was then that two of our guests spotted Tingana through a small gap in the bushes. We drove in closer and were immediately treated to a mating display between the two cats. They mated multiple times, which gave our guests opportunities to capture a bucket list shot of the snarling cats during their mating display.
We stayed with the mating pair for more than an hour and a half before we moved on. We then heard that the Nkuhuma pride had been seen close to camp and began heading in that direction. All of a sudden we bumped into another leopard. A young male called Hosana. He has apparently been following Thandi and Tingana and we were lucky to stumble into him. Our guests managed to get a few brilliant shots of a regal and photogenic little leopard before he disappeared into the thickets.
We carried on towards and lions and bumped into them as they made their way down the road. All 11 of them. What a fantastic experience to follow them as they went. The lions settled in an open area of a road junction and allowed us the chance to get some brilliant shots of the whole pride. The lions then made their way towards Gowrie dam in front of our lodge for a drink. We preempted their behaviour and positioned our vehicles on the opposite side of the dam. This was a great plan as everyone was well prepared for and managed to get some brilliant reflection shots of the lions as they drank. The colours of the sun set sky added that extra special touch to a magical moment…
We headed back to the lodge for dinner. Later in the evening, the not too distant sound of a moaning buffalo signaled the possibility that the lions were making a kill and we would investigate this first thing in the morning.
This morning we decided to look for the lions around camp. After searching for roughly 40 minutes, we found the entire Nkuhuma pride. As we thought, they had taken down a buffalo in the night and had partially eaten it. The big cats were lazing around the carcass while some were feeding. It was an amazing experience to hear the kill last night and then to track it down this morning.
After spending some time with the lions, we headed off for a coffee stop. Whilst we were having coffee, we heard that male leopard Mvula had been found close to camp. We finished coffee and headed in that direction. Along the way, we bumped into a breeding herd of elephants. They were having a dust bath and interacting with one another which was wonderful to witness.
We reached Mvula as he was moving through the bush. He walked by our vehicles a few times which gave our guests some good opportunities to take some images of him. He then lay in the shade for a while. Everyone had plenty of time to get some great images of the old leopard before he decided to head into some thicker vegetation, presumably to wait out the heat of the day.
We left him and made the short trip back to the lodge for brunch and further post-processing and digital photography training.
Join us on #BigCatPhotoSafari in 2018!