Today is this safari’s last day of game drives, as my safari group will be going home tomorrow. We were up at 5:30, and we were ready to get to the bottom of the crater at 6am, when we are allowed to do so.
Again, we met up with the lion pride along the Munge River and spent a few moments taking inventory of what we had to photograph. We noticed that most of the pride was missing, so we looked around with our binoculars to see where the lion cubs were. We spotted a few lions up on Mawe Meusi (black rocks) and headed in that direction.
Well, we hit pay dirt. As we drove up all 4 lion cubs were running and jumping all over each other, while the adult females and 2 adult males ignored them. The show lasted for at least minutes, and this was one of those challenging photo situations where they would run behind and amongst tall blades of grass. Talk about autofocus hell. They wouldn’t stay still long enough to manual focus, so my approach was to bump the ISO from 800 to 1600 and stop down the lens to f/11. Why? Depth of field. If I missed my focus point I could rely a little bit on an increased DOF to bail me out.
The drive around Ngorongoro is amazing, because you think you are close to the middle, but you aren’t. You also see things in the crater that may be less common somewhere else, like lions hunting in the middle of the day. I like my guests to have their best day on their last safari day, so we worked hard to find something unique and uplifting. We watched the moments after the birth of a baby thomson gazelle, and sat and watched his first steps. Gosh, how amazing it is to watch the first few minutes of life outside of the womb. It took a little while for the little guy to get up, and once he was up his mother would walk a little to make sure he was getting strength in his legs.
I ran into some friends of friends today from South Africa, and you should check out their blog. They are driving across Africa in 70 days, and they are updating their blog on a daily basis. www.serengetitrip.com. We chatted for a while in the middle of the crater, and we parted ways after a good chat. It rained heavily this afternoon, and I ended up taking 2 of my guests back to camp early as they were under the weather. The rain on my tent was one of those things that felt foreign to me, as I have spent the past 8 days on a fairly dry and dusty safari. Very refreshing, to say the least.