Our morning drive started with us hot on the trail of a large male leopard in the south of the Mara that had been spotted by one of the other camp drivers the night before. It didn’t take long for sharp eyes Henry to find him. Such a beautiful leopard, we had 15 minutes with him in the light of the rising sun, following him walking across the plain before we left him alone to continue with his hunt.
Further on we climbed (in the vehicle!) a hill that gave us stunning views over Kenya to the north and Tanzania to the South.
This morning was rounded off by finding the 3 cheetahs again – we followed them for a while and then stopped for lunch at Sand River looking across to Tanzania and the herds of wildebeest gracing over there. As if that wasn’t enough we spent an hour or so with a pair of mating lions – carrying out the act every 10-15 mins!
We headed out for our evening drive just as the heavens opened into a torrential downpour with thunder cracking all around. We quickly found the four young male lions and lioness – not looking to happy with the rain. There was lots of yawning and mane shaking which made for great photography!
We stayed with these lions for about 40 minutes and then made the decision to drive on to see if there was anything else to see – with only about 45 minutes left of the light, which was failing rapidly in the stormy conditions. Our gamble paid off – we came across some very soggy elephants in the pouring rain and then to our surprise out of the bushes came a big solitary male hippo who went on to pose beautifully and gave a huge yawn directly facing me. BIG mouth!!!
The rain eased off as we headed back towards camp and just when I’d switched the cameras off there in front were 3 young male lions play fighting and interacting beautifully. Surprisingly we managed another half hour of decent light – the rain had stopped and the clouds parted a little, enough to allow a soft warm glow. We followed these lions as they walked off, pulling up in front of them so as to catch them walking straight to the camera – perfect.
And then, to round the day off, just as the light was disappearing, there was a tiny baby zebra with mum – so cute!
No camp fire again this evening now that the ‘mini rains’ have arrived. But it’s great to have the dry sunny days for our long 6 hour drives in the mornings and stormy evening drives – all adds to the variety for the photography!