JOURNEY TO MASAI MARA, KENYA, AFRICA

Talek River Gorge, Masai Mara, Kenya | 3:15 pm: Drove to the gorge early this morning looking for a leopard, but no luck so far. On the way here we passed thousands of migrating wildebeest. As the sun was rising we drove to a slight rise where a lone acacia stood silhouetted against the morning sky. We set up our tripods and framed the acacia as God Rays burst through the clouds on the horizon. Beyond the ancient tree, seemingly endless lines of wildebeest and zebra were fanning out wherever they reached the taller golden grasses.

A little further on we again saw the two male lions from last night, their bellies full from their early morning feeding. They passed casually but quickly, paralleling the wildebeest who raised their heads nervously but knew at least for now the cats were not hunting. The brothers were heading for the shade of a balanite tree high on a hill where they could rest and have a good view of the surrounding plain.

4:30 pm: We were half asleep, baking in the scorching afternoon heat when a leopard appeared out of nowhere on the large rock slab on the far side of the river. It looked like one of the nearly full-grown cubs we had seen a few days earlier. She was headed toward a small pool of water in the rocks when her attention was diverted by a three-foot long monitor lizard who had been basking in the sun and was now racing away. The leopard wheeled around and in a flash, snatched the lizard and proudly carried it to the shade of a rock outcropping. There she let it go, but whenever it tried to escape she would again catch it. It became a game of cat and mouse. Finally, bored with the lizard, she walked to the pool, took a drink and went back to her lair high in the rocks.