.. the big treat came on the second day with the (stupidly) early morning game drive. Wrapped up in 43 layers of clothing and snuggled into our sleeping bags we set off before sunrise in an open sided truck to see what we could see…
.. an hour in and i discovered just how quickly i could move whilst zipped into a sleeping bag as a lion strolled nonchalantly up the road in front of our truck before heading back into the bush.. nonchalant being the equivalent of warp speed when you are simultaneously trying to manoevre your sleeping bag AND get your camera focused and on the right setting… maybe a safari isn’t the best time to get to grips with the manual settings on an SLR. Needless to say my pics of Leo are somewhat blurred and underexposed and I don’t think i got his best side but hey ho… he was a pretty impressive beast!!
.. but what i lost out on with Mr. Lion, i more than made up for with Mr. Leopard.. and in the grand scheme of things spotting a leopard (excuse the pun although if i am going to be pedantic they are rosettes not spots) is a much bigger deal as they are such solitary creatures… and in a park that covers 2.2 million hectares (about the size of Wales) not including Mozambique and 3.3 million if you do.. although i don’t think the animals really care which country they are in…, there are about 3000 lions and about 2000 leopards..
so imagine just how much of a treat it was to find ourselves spending the best part of half an hour just after sunrise watching a leopard wait patiently to see if the two lions that had chased him from his freshly caught prey were going to leave him any scraps.. we had missed all the action by only a couple of minutes but just the spectacle of seeing one so close and be able to observe him for so long was good enough for me…. and of course it is caught on camera on every possible setting available!!