We began our day at Chitabe Lediba after an early morning wakeup call and breakfast at 5 am. As we left camp I noticed the fresh tracks of a male leopard that were headed in an easterly direction. Despite finding the tracks, my plan was to reach the Gomoti River before the day got too hot. I informed my guests that we would continue to the river in the hopes that we might see a few other animals that we had not yet seen.
We were about five minutes away from the airstrip when we came across three kudu bulls standing on the side of the road. Matthew, a guest sitting next to me, turned and said, “Richard, do you remember the picture that was in one of the coffee table books in camp?” Matthew and I had spoken about taking a picture of a male kudu with a beautiful mane. We had both admired the same photograph while paging through the book. We now had a chance to capture that mane!
As we were talking, one of the male kudu started to show his dominance by pushing trees and rubbing his horns against the bushes closest to him. At the same time, he began kicking up sand and bucking like a horse! It was incredible behaviour. I explained to Matthew that this would be the perfect opportunity to capture the actions of this male kudu and not to forget the mane! Fortunately, the kudu was in the right position for us to capture the light falling on its golden ‘locks’!
After spending some time at the sighting, Matthew let me know that he had managed to capture the shot. “What about you?” he asked. I congratulated him on the photos; they were quite remarkable and I had even taken a few good photographs of my own. I was even more pleased that we had managed to get the shot of the kudu and its golden mane – after all, this had been high on the list for both Matthew and me!
Written and Photographed by Richard Avilino, Wilderness Safaris Explorations Guide, Botswana