On several occasions during game drives, we tracked lions or leopards for more than an hour before finally coming upon them. Here is a curious and very convenient fact: Lions and leopards have tender paws, which are vulnerable to thistles, stones, twigs, or other objects in the bush that can become embedded in a paw and cause problems, so they prefer to walk on open sandy or dirt patches. The game camps have either made dirt tracks through the bush by design, or else have gone over certain places so often that they have become worn into tracks. The lions, leopards, and also hyenas walk along the paths, so their tracks show up quite nicely and can be followed for long stretches, before they go off the paths across country. The guides can recognise the tracks of a dozen and half different animals, and use the tracks to find them. It may sound boring to sit in a bouncing Land Rover for an hour or more as it follows the tracks or crashes through small Mopane trees and accacia bushes looking for the tracks to reappaer, but there is a real sense if accomplishment when, after a long time, the guide points under a bush and there, sure enough, are two male lions.
Here, by the way, is a lovely landscape taken with the panorama function of my IPhone.