Patience is Key

This Blog is the perfect example as to why patience is key

When I was growing up, patience was not my strong point at all, but I am sure that is most kids. Patience is something that affects each of us in our daily lives and jobs, when it comes to safari and the bush, it is no different.

I still remember while I was a full time guide, having guests who have certain things/animals they wanted to see or even just to see action while out on safari. Im sorry to say, it is not that simple. If it was then safari would have the thrill it does now and could be classified as ''glorified zoo''.

Nothing in the bush is guaranteed, the bush is unpredictable and unknown, that is what makes us crave more and more. Waking up in the morning, listening to the morning chorus and wondering what the bush has in store for me is one of my favorite feelings when out on safari. I have seen it many times before on safari, an individual gets tied up and focused on one specific subject and ends up disappointed or feels let down, when in actual fact the experience was there. There is beauty in everything that we see out in the field and it should all be appreciated. I always tell my guests - just absorb whatever the bush is willing to show you. It is only when you do this that you see the vastness of natures beauty and THAT is when the magic happens.

Patience and perseverance work hand in hand and as mentioned earlier, it is required in all aspects of our lives.

I thought I would share a couple of images from my recent safari to the Timbavati where patience was definitely key. The reason why I am using this example is because we had a few set images in mind. But before we get to them, let me set the scene...

This particular day, we came back to camp early due to a massive thunderstorm. Our guide Willem got news a short while after our return that a female leopard had been found that morning with an impala kill that was hoisted in a marula tree.

Being a private safari, we had our own vehicle at our disposal, this meant that we could go out earlier, stay out longer and come back later, which is hugely beneficial.

We had a quick ''team talk'' and decided to head out at about 14:00 in the afternoon and go straight to the leopard. Knowing that their was a bit of rain in the morning and not being out for a long period, we wanted to maximize out afternoon safari. Leaving camp, it was extremely warm - our plan? was to head to the female leopard with a kill and see what she was up to, after which we would make a call depending on the photographic opportunities and her activity level.

On arrival, we spotted her from a way away sitting up in the tree with her kill...

She was sitting in the perfect marula tree, out in the open no leaves and great light. We decided, that we were going to sit with her for a little bit and see what she was going to get up to. Being out earlier than everyone, we had the luxury of sitting and waiting. We got some fantastic shots of this young leopardess relaxing in the tree...

We had been there for the better part of two hours and although we had got some great pictures, we started discussing the possibilities and what other ''different'' shots we could get to add value to a sighting like this...

Looking at the tree trunk and how open it was around the tree itself, we realized that the shot/s we were looking for, would be the ones of her posing before coming down the tree and finally her descending from the tree.

Having been there for awhile and had such a special sighting already, waiting for her to come down was a long shot as she seemed very comfortable with resting in the tree, especially with hyenas lurking below.

Patience is Key

She started feeding on the remains of her impala kill, this drew the attention of the hyenas who came closer looking for scraps to fall from above... Knowing that she would feed for a while, we decided to take the risk, quickly stretch the legs, use a tree(toilet break) and return with the hopes that she may still be feeding or atlas in the tree.

Our timing couldn't be have been better! Although the light was starting to fade, our images in mind remained the same, although it would be tricky to freeze her when coming down the tree, the number one shot would be her in the fork of the tree looking our way.

She finished feeding and decided to move her kill higher up the tree for safety, keeping it out of the reach of other predators.

Patience is Key

With her moving around in the tree and having repositioned her kill, this could be our moment! We discussed settings and positioned our vehicle for the shots we were after. Having those two elements correct, we just needed the leopardess to do her part.

Finally, our patience paid off! she started descending the tree, paused in the fork of the tree just long enough for us to get a few images and then climbed down the tree!

Patience is Key

Patience is Key

We spent over 4 hours with this leopardess on this particular afternoon, that in itself is extremely special. As great as it sounds, it isn't always easy sitting and waiting for special moments to happen, this leopardess would spent an hour sleeping without moving, but patience is key and the best way to see action is to sit back, relax and just be patient. As I mentioned it isn't always easy, buy if you put in the time, you will reap the rewards, remember patience is key.

Until next time,


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