FROM TREVOR MCCALL-PEAT & VILLIERS STEYN
We left on drive yesterday afternoon and decided to head to the south eastern corner of our traverse, in search of a pair of mating leopards that were seen in the morning. The bush had other plans for us… On our way, our Ranger spotted something on a termite mound in the distance. On closer inspection, it turned out to be a leopard. It was Tamba, Thandi’s youngster.
He posed beautifully for us and allowed our guests to get some brilliant images of him as he lazed around on the termitarium. He looked this way and that way and yawned half a dozen times. He then made his way to a nearby dam and lay on the dam wall before heading to the water’s edge to drink. Everyone managed to bag some great shots of a really character filled little leopard. He moved into some thickets and we left him.
We carried on towards Kudu Corner but did not find any signs of the mating leopards but had a wonderful elephant encounter. We stopped at Second Rock for a drinks break and group photo while the sun set stunningly around us before heading north west back to the lodge. On the way we bumped into the two Birmingham Boys we had seen earlier yesterday morning. They were walking straight towards the lodge and allowed us to get multiple shots of them as they walked through the dusty roads towards us. They ended up right in from of the lodge where we had a brief chance to get some rim lighting shots of them as they lay in the dry dam.
During the night, and this morning while we drank coffee, we could hear the calls of male lions. Our Ranger believed that they were far north west of the lodge and we headed in that direction. It was a misty morning in the Lowveld and everyone soaked up the eerie landscape as we drove. We found one of the male lions in the open close to a dam. He posed gracefully for us in the early morning light. We followed him as he was very active, contact calling and following scents in the bush. He stopped and gave us an almighty roar which was, as always, an epic experience.
We could hear another male calling nearby and the male we were following headed in the direction of the calls. He stopped briefly for a drink, before marching towards the Manyeleti boundary and crossing into the neighbouring reserve. We stopped to have a hot cup of coffee and some rusks, a welcome respite from the cold, and then slowly made our way back to the lodge for brunch. After brunch we plan to work through our guests’ photographs and assist them with post-processing and any digital photography questions.