Yesterday after lunch, we chatted about astrophotography and the basic settings and steps for taking images of the Milky Way, producing star trails and painting with light. We will hopefully put this to good use either tonight or tomorrow depending on the weather. We enjoyed high tea and then headed out on drive. It was still windy and cold and we intended to find and spend quality time with elephants. We started out seeing a fair amount of general game and then managed to find a large breeding herd of elephants that fed all around us. It was an incredible experience being so close to them becoming immersed in the herd. We sat listening as they fed and communicated with one another. We then found a beautiful quiet spot next to a waterhole and enjoyed a drink and a break from the wind. The lions from the morning had moved off and we decided to move through the area and potentially find them again. Unfortunately, we were unable to relocate them. We were lucky enough to come around a corner and find a mother scrub hair feeding her two youngsters (called leverets) in the middle of the road. Shortly after that rare sighting, we arrived back at camp and enjoyed dinner and reminisced over our time so far.
We woke up this morning very happy to see a star filled sky. It was still windy and quite chilly. We enjoyed a warm cup of coffee around the fire before bundling up and heading out on drive. About 15 minutes after leaving camp, we received a call on the radio about some kudu alarm calls close to where we were driving. We stopped to listen but heard nothing. We were about to leave when a giraffe came running out of the thicket and then stared back in the direction it came from. We headed closer to investigate. As we approached, we saw them, there, there…lions! We had stumbled into the Hercules pride, two females and two young males. They are quite nervous around vehicles and stuck to the thickets. We managed to get a good view of them for brief moments as they moved, allowing us to get one or two images. We then decided to move on and see what else we could find. Not a moment later, another guide radioed in that he had found two young leopards, a brother and sister who had an impala kill in a tree. They were nervous and in very thick vegetation but we decided to give it a go.
When we arrived we managed to creep through the dense vegetation and get a fleeting glimpse of the two of them. It was very tough photographically, but nonetheless, was an incredible experience. We stopped nearby for coffee and tried to warm up. After a welcome warm beverage, we headed back to the leopards for one last look. We managed to relocate them and they were a bit more relaxed but were still sheltered by dense vegetation. After about 45 minutes we decided to leave them and headed back to camp. A tough sighting, but also very special as it just reminded us of the true nature of leopards and how privileged we are to see them.