Out of Africa: The Big 5 - FOUND!

by Michael Anderson August. 22, 2016 2318 views

    My wife and I got up early to enter the park at 6:30am when the gates opened. We hoped that before the sun got too high we might find the leopard. We drove past Pilanesberg Center where a salt lick sometimes entices cheetah and leopards to make an appearance. No luck. We drove to another watering hole we had not before visited. No luck. We went on up to the northeastern road and headed past a couple more watering holes. 

    It was a beautiful morning and the sight of the balloons, especially with the elephant in the foreground was stunning. Passing the last watering hole we saw a lioness. That was a treat, but not what we were interested in today. We were quite close to the park exit and our chances grew slimmer by the moment. It was then that my wife said, "If we are going to see a leopard, god is going to have to drop it in our lap"!

    I will spare you the other stories that begin with a phrase like that, but her particular choice of words gave me the feeling that we would see a leopard. I don't mean to imply that God listens to incantations or can be manipulated, but in our life, a sincerely uttered prayer like that is usually answered in the positive. As we neared the gate we could see giraffe on the outer side of the fence! In the compound with our chalet, too cool!

    coming around the corner and now on paved maybe 500m from the front gate my wife grabbed my arm and said,"stop"! There in the road about 50m ahead was a leopard walking straight toward us! We couldn't believe our eyes. I started banging pictures and she pulled out her iPhone. The leopard continued to walk right at us as if it could care less that we were there. As it drew closer I rolled up my window and the cat walked right next to me! It was too close to take pictures of it because I don't have a macro lens! Yes, if the window was down I could have reached out to pet that kitty. 

    Our hearts were racing. We were overwhelmed by the beauty, grace, and strength of this beautiful predator. I pulled ahead and turned around to follow the cat. Only then did it veer off the road into the tall grass.

    We headed out the front gate and told the people waiting to enter that we just saw a leopard right up the road, maybe 200m. They quickly entered the park in the hopes of catching a glimpse. 

    You may or may not be a person of faith, but for us we felt as though God was in the mood to flex his muscles and give us a treat; do a little showing-off as it were. I am happy to say that we get to experience that sort of thing a lot. I think it transcends  coincidence. I really do think there is a God and he loves to give good gifts to his children. Does this event prove the existence of God? Of course not, but in the myriad equations and evidences I do think this is another point in his favor, trivial as it is.

The Elusive Leopard! The Big 5 have been found!!


After walking RIGHT NEXT to me in the car, the leopard disappeared into the bushveld


Out of my price range, but a morning balloon ride looks like an amazing experience

What a treat to find this lone lion by a watering hole

Breathtaking Beauty


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There are 17 comments , add yours!
Michel Benjamin 4 years, 3 months ago

Fantastic captures! Breathtaking beauty (as you said) and a breathtaking story, for sure

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Amy Daniels 4 years, 3 months ago

All beautiful

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Michael Anderson Replied to Amy Daniels 4 years, 3 months ago

Thanks so much and thanks for stopping by!

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Amy Daniels Replied to Michael Anderson 4 years, 3 months ago

ūüėä

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Louise Hayes 4 years, 3 months ago

I can hope I as lucky

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Pete 4 years, 3 months ago

lucky you . wow . Well done and great photos.Hope you come back soon

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Michael Anderson Replied to Pete 4 years, 3 months ago

Thanks so much, Pete. Your work is absolutely gorgeous. I really appreciate you taking the time to look at stuff that in many ways is probably normal stuff for you. I hope I get back there soon as well, and that this time we can go shooting together!

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Pete Replied to Michael Anderson 4 years, 2 months ago

looking forward to that

4 years, 2 months ago Edited
Kara Bana 4 years, 3 months ago

Whoa, how lucky! I would have shaken & not be able to hold the camera still. You did great!

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Michael Anderson Replied to Kara Bana 4 years, 3 months ago

LOL, you are only seeing the good shots! There are plenty of shaky shots from tons of adrenaline.

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Sara G 4 years, 3 months ago

Gorgeous animal! Loved your story..yes, I agree. God does show us favor sometimes..he is so good!

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Michael Anderson Replied to Sara G 4 years, 3 months ago

Thanks so much! God is indeed, good.

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Vivienne Albiston 4 years, 3 months ago

magical, love the similarity of tones in the animal, road and background too...

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Michael Anderson Replied to Vivienne Albiston 4 years, 3 months ago

thanks! It is crazy how an animal that seems so "obvious" with all those crazy spots can blend in.

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Jay Boggess 4 years, 3 months ago

WOW! A blessing from Above? Hallelujah!!!
I'm so happy for you!
Thanks for sharing with us!

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Michael Anderson Replied to Jay Boggess 4 years, 3 months ago

Thanks, man! And there is STILL more crazy stuff to come :)

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Jay Boggess Replied to Michael Anderson 4 years, 3 months ago

I'll be looking forward to more!!!
Thanks!

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
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