Leopard Licking His Chops

Leopard Licking His Chops for African Wildlife Photography Blog

For seventeen days in February, 2009, I lived a Teddy Roosevelt adventure. OK, it wasn’t quite like the way Teddy did it, but my African Safari was a real thrill that I’ll cherish the rest of my life. My safari wasn’t a big game hunt but an African Photography Safari in Kenya and Tanzania.

We started our safari by flying from Tucson to Nairobi by way of London, arriving early in the morning. At the Nairobi airport we were picked up by Somak Travel, one of the leading safari companies in Kenya.

After breakfast we headed north arriving at the Sarova Lion Hill Lodge in Lake Nakuru National Park. The first thing I noticed as we arrived at the lodge was that it is surrounded by an electric fence. In fact, many of the lodges use electric fences to keep unwanted wildlife out.

After 30 hours in the air or at airports and a 4 hour drive, I was a whipped pup. No matter, after lunch and a quick nap we left the protection of the lodge and headed out on our first game drive. Simon, our driver, had to become weary of our questions but never let on or missed a beat. He answered every question and seemed to know every bird, reptile and mammal by name. He even loaned us his well worn copy of Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania so we could study the various birds we saw.

When asked about our chances of seeing the big cats, lions, leopards, and cheetahs, he said we would see lions and cheetahs without a doubt, then apologized saying he hadn’t seen a leopard in three months and wasn’t sure we would see one on our safari. He clearly knew that leopards were a big ticket item for tourists to see and as we wanted to photograph them he could sense our disappointment.

Not to worry, within the two hours of leaving the lodge Simon spotted two leopards in a densely forested area. We waited for some time to get photographs we would be proud of. Because we were patient, we were rewarded with several really nice photographs.

During our afternoon game drive we saw wildlife by the hundreds, six lions laying in the shade, a female White rhino and calf, hundreds of antelope, birds, and Cape buffalo. It was a glorious start for any safari.

The Lake Nakuru National Park is really well maintained and cared for. Regulations of the Kenyan Park system forbid anyone in the park prior to 6AM and after 6:30PM to allow wildlife to act like wildlife. Staying at the Sarova Lion Hill Lodge is a very nice experience. Housing consisted of separate bungalows (dd) with electricity, private bathrooms, and showers. Meals were on par with most US restaurants, we were fed three buffet meals a day.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity of a lifetime! Sign up for the next Africa Photo Safari