Text and images for this trip report were compiled by Andrew Beck.
With just half a day at our disposal this morning we were out early and headed straight out to find the group of six lions before finding the buffalo herd and seeing whether they had been followed by lions during the night. The weather once again did not play in our favour ad we found the group of lions with the cubs but, as if it were planned as a bit of a going away gift, the sun broke through the thick cloud for fifteen minutes, providing what was arguably some of the best light and Photographic opportunities of the entire trip.
The dark ominous clouds in the distance made for a dramatic backdrop to the scene as the lions went about their morning rituals.
As quickly as the golden light had appeared, it retreated behind the thick bank of cloud that had dominated our skies during this safari. This just goes to show how there is no substitute for good light. From here we headed out to check on the buffalo herd and soon found them resting near a shallow wetland. There were no lions insight and the herd were clearly relaxed, and with that, out last hopes of witnessing the legendary battle at Duba disappeared.
A quick search of the surrounding area revealed the dominant male lion resting with one of the adult females. The female was clearly in the early stages of heat with the male ensuring that he remained by her side as she moved through the wild sage scrubland. After photographing some of the Lechwe and getting those last couple of shots of the region, we headed back to camp for our return flight.
Overall the trip was a great success despite the poor weather and quality of light. The group enjoyed some good photographic opportunities as well as some time to work on their post processing techniques.
Did we witness lions hunting Buffalo? No.
Does this mean that the safari wasn’t a success? No.
Spending five days tracking, photographing and gaining an insight into the daily battle between Lion & Buffalo in Duba Plains was an incredible experience and something I would recommend to anyone who is not even photographically inclined. From a photography point of view, the weather wasn’t great but the group were still able to learn a lot over the five days.
The first of two major lessons that everyone can take from this trip is that it takes a lot of time, patience and dedication to capture incredible images – even if the magic happens on a regular basis. The second lesson is that their is no substitute for good light in Photography. That is not to say that you should not photograph under less than amazing conditions, but that images taken under optimal lighting conditions will immediately possess somewhat of an “X” factor.
I would like to thank George, Damin & Seyms for joining us on this safari and for their enthusiastic and open approach to photography. It was great just spending time with like minded photographers!
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