The guests have been in raptures! They cannot believe the game action out there. Another wild dog chase, hunt and kill. Followed by lions and then by the DumaTau leopard. Elephant, giraffe, kudu, impala, zebra and lechwe to throw into the mix. Huge smiles all round – great action and lots of stories.
Now all of this action makes Mike feel very anxious to find a gap in our schedule to try and get out there. Too much fun and excitement happening for us to miss out on – especially when we are here!
We committed the morning to capturing pictures of the camp as the sun rose behind us and shed a soft gentle pinkish light over Osprey Lagoon, which reflected beautifully through to the Lodge. We were now getting to really feel the new camp that is going to settle down nicely to be an elegant and comfortable Classic safari camp.
There is quite a mix of temperatures at this time. Luckily we are not experiencing the effects of the last cold front that brought snow to all nine provinces of South Africa and then blew all the way up north to put ice on the cars in Maun and to freeze everything further north. Temperatures dropped to below 0° C, which let me tell you, when there is only a sheet of canvas between you and that cold, is agony. But luckily that is now in the past.
I have no idea of what the actual temperatures are, but I can tell you that it is cold enough to wear pyjamas at night and to have at least four layers of clothes on for the early morning that you can peel off as it gets closer to mid-day when it is very warm. It only starts to cool down again towards sunset which is after six in the evening and then it gets quite chilly. Late in the evening it is officially cold again, but I don’t manage to hang around that long – my warm bed with its “bush-baby” (hot water bottle) is far too appealing.
We are now orientated and photographing like demons! The camp is making itself look beautiful and the pixels are accumulating. By mid-day we were able to make an assessment and judge that the morning’s efforts deserved to be rewarded with an evening’s drive. Yay! This meant that we could go out and get a piece of the action that everyone else is ecstatic about.
And we found him… at last. But not before we had to look hard – really hard. Looking in his favourite tree, his favourite termite mound, where he was earlier eating his warthog kill, back and forth… nothing. And then, Bobby and his guests had been sitting patiently under “Big Jack” a huge jackelberry tree, just talking about this and that when the magnificent DumaTau male leopard just appeared from no-where. Out of the thick bush and into the open where we are able to follow him from the vehicle through the bush to a leadwood tree where he climbed up one of the branches, got his balance and then elegantly leapt through to the other side of the tree where he found the most appealing branch to collapse on. His body language was so completely relaxed and comfortable. As if he was lounging on his most favourite sofa after having stuffed himself on Christmas dinner.
But we had to leave him there and charge back to photograph the sunset and the camp in the evening. A minor traffic jam caused by a breeding herd of elephants drinking in the river blocked our path that forced us to take an alternative route, but we were back in time for sunset. The camp transforms so beautifully with the soft lights of the lanterns and the cleverly designed up-lighting in the main area that you can’t help but want to photograph it for yourself.
Again – after the evening game drive, everyone was talking at once about how fabulous their game drive was. So much happening out there – so much fun.