Morning all! Well here we are at our final Africa Live post for 2013.
We went out on a high note, staying within the conservancy and certainly were not disappointed. If you have liked reading along, please do head over to Facebook and let me know, it is much appreciated!
Details of next year’s September trip are up, out February Safari has already completely sold out so if you are interested in coming please do let us know sooner rather than later! All the juicy details are at this link…
Right, on with the show, it’s a bumper edition!
After hearing the Lions call during the night we knew they were close so we made our way to the likely location. The source of commotion was clear when we saw this female with a kill. She seemed to be dragging it to a hill a fair way ahead and the only reason we can think of is that she has cubs there. It is a real struggle for cats to move prey and the strength and determination was incredible! I can only image how much that weighs!
The light was in and out all the while, here was a brief window of about 30 seconds where the sun emerged
A brief rest at the base of the hill
Just before the bush was too thick to see her any more. The cubs were most likely at the TOP of here! What a mission!!
It is a tradition of mine at Bush camp to always have a look for Acacia the Leopard star on the last day. We headed into her area and as luck would have we found not Acacia, but Fig!
Fig, like Acacia and the now passed on Olive are very indifferent to the vehicles. This means they are fantastic for photography when we find them as they don’t immediately vanish or more likely stay hidden. This time however something was peaking her interest. She was not walking casually and seemed on edge. It clearly wasn’t us as her attention was taken elsewhere and if it was all she needs to do is slink down into the gully.
There were several Dik-Dik in the area which may have been the source of attention although her behavior suggested it was something else. It didn’t seem like hunting behavior.
There is the most fantastic winding gully in this area that is perfect for Leopards. She made her way through it and we did our best to follow along! There were a couple of our vehicles so we all worked together to keep an eye on her. As mentioned she is indifferent to our presence and she never felt the need to vanish from us which she could so easily do.
As you know we work super hard to get ahead of the game and put ourselves in front of where we think the animals will be. This means they come to us and we don’t have to rush around chasing their tails. I must admit it usually works (it is always a gamble so it is not 100% hit rate) but this time really paid off as she came strait at us on a run!
The cropping power of the D800 really helps here as I can stay zoomed out more than I would otherwise which is a big help when animals run right towards you with tails flailing out of frame!
Our last moments before she headed to an unaccessible area and we made our way elsewhere, big smiles in tow!
This chap was huge! He was very calm so we managed to get some good time in with him…
The nearby Cheetahs made an easy kill after some local villager’s dogs chased the poor chap right too them. In the conservancy village dogs are supposed to be kept under control, but you play they hand you a dealt and we moved in when they had the prey (as usual we watched and made sure not to get in the way)..
When eating, which they need to do quickly; Cheetahs have a completely different demeanor. Much more edgy.
The Nikon 1 V2 testing continued and was working well! Review on the site soon.
I took this so you could see just how big he was! He is not even right next to the car!!
It was really heating up, alright for those who can have a bath.
Well fed, our Cheetahs made their way down to the pool, waiting for the big guy to finish before they could have a drink.
And with that we made our way back to camp for lunch and then our onwards journey home!
It was a fantastic trip and I would like to say a huge thanks to Chris, Martin and Cath; our amazing group. You took everything we threw at you and then some! Also big thanks to Darren, Emma, Cath and the whole team at Kicheche Bush for making the stay stellar! And of course massive, huge thanks to Patrick, guide extraordinaire that really makes this all possible!!!
Thanks for checking the blog out and all your comments over at facebook! Stay tuned for a report from our Norfolk wild bird workshop next week!
If you have been enjoying these posts, please feel free to drop me a line on Facebook or twitter if you like as I love getting your messages and it spurs me on, questions on any aspect of the trip welcome too!