Gustafson Photo Safari in Tanzania – Day 3

Gustafson Photo Safari in Tanzania – Day 3

Mar 27, 2013| by administrator

By Todd Gustafson

Today we were out before dawn and rewarded by our two mating lions continuing their efforts by a lovely pond. God bless the D4 low noise high ISO! The predawn light was magical and the reflections in the pond were perfect. Then we drove to the Makau Plains for a cheetah hunt. On the way saw steenbok, a few birds, and Cape buffalo.

We drove across the open grasslands until we saw a few vehicles in a group. This meant cheetahs! It took longer to get there than we at first thought because off to the left was a mother cheetah and two cubs that no one knew about. We stayed with them for a while until we heard the other cheetahs had a gazelle kill. Well…let’s GO!

Sure enough, five cheetahs were having breakfast. They ate for an hour until there was nothing left. Their next move was to cross between the vans and take off after another group of gazelles! It was a half-hearted attempt, and it felt like they were chasing the gazelles simply because they were there. The half-hearted chase turned deadly serious when they spooked an African hare right in front of us! Five cheetahs began running full speed in circles as the hare tried to evade capture…with limited success. One of the cubs caught it and paraded alongside of us.

Day 3 Cheetahs

When we left the kill, we tried to find the original three cheetahs, but instead found three Golden Jackals that had made a kill of what looked like a Thompson's Gazelle who was in mid-birth. One of the jackals took the baby and ran for it, followed by a tawny eagle and us. He tried to put the moves on us by setting the kill in an aardvark den and walking away. As soon as it left, the eagle, followed by a vulture, dove at the kill. The jackal put his fur up and charged the birds. I started firing as the birds took flight and kept firing as the jackal jumped 5 feet into the air! I couldn't believe it and now have one of my favorite safari photographs of my life.

Day 3 Jackal

Breakfast was served under an Acacia tree before we headed back to the lodge. It will be tough to top this one, but we sure will try. In the afternoon, we drove out to the big marsh to hunt for leopard. We found one and waited for it to come out of the tall grass and climb a tree. It did that twice, but the setting wasn't that pretty. She has two little cubs that we never saw. Maybe tomorrow!


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