The cliché states that “curiosity killed the cat”, but when you are in Africa it is the humans who are the more curious creatures, especially when it comes to photographing big cats in the wild.
The first week of our annual photographic competition “Africa in Focus” has kicked off with a bang and some stunning entries are coming through. And since I am not allowed to vote for the top images – that honour is left up to our esteemed judges – I thought I would make a selection of some of the great images that have caught my eye.
Here are some of my personal favourites in what I have deemed “A Feline Frenzy” …
“Curiosity” by Andrew Liu; a leopardess cautiously approaching my safari vehicle for a closer inspection
“Leopard Leap” by Mehlam Akbarali; a leopard making its way to the other side of the tree to feed on a wildebeest kill it had made. We anticipated the leap as it had been a while since the kill was made and it had not fed on it yet.
“Caracal Kills a Flamingo” by Dennis Stogsdill; the sought-after caracal stalked, hunted and killed a flamingo along Lake Ndutu and took it back to the bushes
“Looking at you” by Tracey Lund; spending the night in a hide was the ultimate experience. The anticipation of not knowing what may walk out of the darkness and into the light of the water hole. This lioness had the scent of the previous visitor which was hyaenas. The stare she gave us was very piercing and to be at eye level at this time was somewhat surreal.
“A Needle in the Haystack” by Michael Raddall; while watching a pod of hippo playing in the lake one evening I noticed a shape moving out of the corner of my eye in the long grass some distance away. As we got closer we could see it was a beautiful young male leopard just watching us and the magical sun setting behind us.
“Lion King of the Hill” by Dean Mericka; waiting for his brother at sunset to play
“Cheetah/Leopard Conflict” by Bob Greenberg; I watched in awe as these young cheetahs challenged this leopard; they mock charged each other until the leopard moved on
“Swamp Cat” by Marco Tonoli; following the call of a pride of lion, we found them located on the other side of a channel, with no way to cross. With a lot of hesitation, one finally took the plunge, and the rest followed. Having to swim most of the way, this was the moment this female's feet could touch the ground again and began pouncing to get out of the water.
Entries close 15 October so don’t be late – enter NOW
Banner image: “Descent” by Andrew Liu; a lioness descending from her resting place to begin her morning patrol