Notes from Ben Cranke
As planned we headed out this morning to see if we could find the leopards again. However, as we were leaving the lodge, we noticed drag marks in the road - right there - on the access road to Reception. Then we noticed that the drag marks were accompanied by leopard prints.
We followed these and only about 25 meters away we found a duiker in a mopane tree, with a female leopard clearly visible. She was sprawled across a branch, and our drivers manoeuvred the vehicles to optimise our photography from different angles. The lovely sunrise created a breathtaking backdrop for the magnificent animal.
We were lucky enough to spend ages with her, taking numerous photographs, until it was time to move away for our coffee break in the bush.
There is something really wonderful about enjoying a cup of steaming coffee and delicious snacks in the early dawn, and watching the bush slowly wake up around you.
After the delicious interlude, we returned to the leopard who decided to relocate her kill. She grabbed the duiker and dragged it into some thick bush. Being close to the lodge, we returned for breakfast and some photographic and Lightroom tutorials and work.
For the afternoon drive the ODP Safari vehicles decided to split up. One group was very keen to return to the hyena den we had visited yesterday, while our group preferred to drive and see what the bush would produce.
We soon came across an enormous bull elephant walking down the road, having an ongoing dust bath. He would send dust billowing in lovely white clouds which obscured him. The. He would emerge from the cloud long enough to create another cloud. We really enjoyed our time photographing him.
Then we were alerted to the presence of another leopard not far away, and we headed toward where he had been reported. There he was, walking purposefully along, patrolling his territory.
He walked through open spaces, then disappeared into dense bush. We could predict his path and quickly manoeuvred to intercept him as he emerged from the bush - again and again. He was a magnificent large male with pale blue eyes, and we managed some spectacular photographs of him in the evening light.
When darkness fell we were still with him, and continued to photograph him in the spotlights.
As we returned to the lodge, we saw a large bush fire, and stopped again to take photographs of the crimson - red - orange spears piecing the dark night. A dead tree in the foreground created interesting photographs for us.
Back at the Lodge, we are celebrating another very very successful day as we gather in the boma for our supper under the stars ...