LIVE UPDATE from Villiers Steyn & Lance van de Vyver.
Yesterday afternoon we decided not to return to the sighting of Kuchava and her cub, and instead to search for leopards around camp. We checked all the water sources and blocks but were unable to find any sign of leopards close to camp. A decision was made to head back to the Nkuhuma Pride. We arrived where we had left them in the morning but they had disappeared. Some elephant tracks gave a clue as to what forced them to move. After some expert tracking we managed to relocate the lions nearby. All 11 of them were flat and fast asleep.
As the sun began to dip, the clock struck lion o’clock and the lions became more active. They yawned and groomed and stretched. We had ample time and opportunity to attempt various spotlight photography techniques, including side light, back light and studio lighting. The added bonus of plenty of direct eye-contact made for some great images.
They lions got up and moved off. We anticipated they were heading to a nearby waterhole to drink but they gave us the slip, choosing instead to go on the hunt. We watched them briefly as they completely surrounded the vehicle and began stalking. We made a call to leave them to catch a meal and stopped for sun-downers before heading back to the lodge for dinner.
This morning we started by following up on the lions. We found them all lying together, fast asleep and with full bellies. They must have made a kill and finished it in the night. The photographic opportunities were limited and we decided to move on.
We noticed a huge amount of elephant tracks heading north east and, based purely on intuition, we thought there may be a chance that we would find some elephants drinking at the puddles on first rock. This would be a truly spectacular photographic opportunity if our intuition proved right. We made the winding drive there. We sat for a short while, when, and to our collective awe and excitement, the elephants arrived and began drinking on first rock.
The longevity, light, vehicle positioning, scene, interaction and uniqueness of the sighting made for amazing photographic opportunities. Our guests fired their shutters and filled their memory cards as our Photographic Guide assisted with settings, composition and coordination of the photographic sighting, also managing to get some images now and then.
After the elephant herd left, a large lone bull arrived and had a drink. Everyone enjoyed watching as he sprayed water everywhere and had a real elephant of a time. Most guests used their cellphone cameras to video some of this action.
We left the elephants and decided to check on Kuchava and her cub. They were still in a dense drainage line and the visual was not very good but great to see nonetheless. We had some great chances at getting images of some of the smaller, more prolific game and bird species as well, always an added bonus. We left and made a slow drive back to camp for brunch. This afternoon we have no set plans and will see what the bush will offer us.
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