Djuma Game Reserve, Sabi Sands, South Africa – 1250PM.
The past 5 days have taken a while to sink in; we went live on Nat Geo WILD for Big Cat Week with lions on a buffalo kill and finished the first broadcast with Kunyuma, a magnificent leopard sitting in a tree during our campfire chat. You couldn’t script this in a film and it all happened live with wild animals on the Djuma and Arathusa Game reserves in Sabi Sands, South Africa! Hard to explain why that beautiful leopard decided to just sit in that tree for us, but I assure you, have him walking up behind me and choosing to do that is something I will never forget.
Lions are an incredible force to be around, and sitting in an open-top vehicle in their presence is always humbling–yet calming and peaceful at the same time. We sat with a group of males known as the Birmingham males (I like the Birmingham boys better) several times this week on three different kills. They are superb–and very comfortable with us being there, going about their business as if we are part of the furniture.
I saw four out of five of the boys when I went to kill-site two one afternoon, but the older blonde male was missing. I really wanted everyone to see him because he is so impressive, and I hoped that Pieter could find him later before the end of the drive. After finishing the segment, I turned to-camera to tell the viewers my catch phrase, “You never know what you might find around the next corner.”
Sure enough, I drove around the next corner 10 seconds later–and would you believe it–there was the Blonde male sitting in the middle of the road not more that 10m/30ft from me! We talked about him for a while and then he stood up, stretched, and walked toward me. He stopped inches away from the front of my vehicle and decided which way to go around me. He could take the safe way for him (longer) or the shorter way (closer to me)… he chose to pass me, not more than 3feet/1m from my door–he was trusting, not scared, and building his confidence with us. Of course we respected his space and were still and calm, but let me go back to the first line of the second paragraph: Lions are also an incredible force to be around and sitting in an open top vehicle in their presence is always humbling [HT smiles].
See you next time! -H
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