My word that week went rather quickly; I would say where did the time go but I’m sure I’ll be accounting for nearly every single second in this blog for months to come. My trip to Kenya was hugely enjoyable, as well as incredibly successful having taken over 4800 photos whilst there. To put that in to some sort of context, in old money that would be 134 36 exposure films and at around £5 per film, that would have cost in the region of £670! The beauty of digital photography.
Back to the image in a second but I must just mention one thing that happened whilst away and doesn’t really relate to my trip to Africa. I checked the stats and comments for my blog whilst away when I was able; I was rather surprised when on the 30th I had a greater number of visitors and comments. It turns out I was listed on WordPress as one of the top ten most prolific bloggers on the site, which when you consider there are over 348,000 users, that is some achievement. I plan to continue at least until the end of the year and hope that something might come from the effort that I have put into all this waffle. If nothing else, this accolade is very gratifying, though of course “most prolific” does not equate to “most interesting” in any way!
Today’s image was taken at the end of a long day, and a particularly long drive to find this elusive and particularly beautiful creature (it’s a Leopard). Our driver and guide had taken us to see a number of fantastic animals during this later afternoon Game Drive, at one point we were only a couple of meters away from four teenage lions that were all tucking into a zebra that had been killed earlier that morning. The sounds of ripping of sinue and the tearing of flesh wasn’t something for the squeamish but a real taste (not literally) of real life for these creatures.
After having watched a family of Cheetahs for at least thirty minutes, our driver suddenly had an agenda as he set off at a pace. When questioned what we were going to see next, the guide enigmatically answered a “surprise” – this could mean only one of two animals in reality – either a Rhino or Leopard. As we drove on, other vehicles were also making a beeline to the same location as we were heading towards – in fact, it was only as we crossed a river that we slowed down at all. Finally with the late afternoon sun bathing the green and golden grasses in its warming rays we spotted a leopard emerging from the cover. Despite it’s reputation as a secretive animal, it was totally unperturbed by the half dozen vehicles that had descended upon it and ambled on its way. We couldn’t have asked for a better photo opportunity when the cat jumped up on to a fallen tree and sat looking at its surroundings obviously looking for prey.
We were with the Leopard for around twenty minutes and counted ourselves incredibly lucky to have even seen one, let alone get as close to it. Heading back to camp we had another close encounter as we crossed over the Mara river again, as a couple of hippos had taken up residence rather close to the spot where we needed to cross. Despite a reputation for being aggressive and unpredictable, the hippos seemed unconcerned about our presence and in fact the Driver was more concerned about getting across than these flighty creatures.