On our third game drive the radio buzzed that someone had seen the leopard. We raced to the gulch with about 5 other jeeps. We drove around clockwise. We drove around counter clockwise. I was seeing spots everywhere I looked, but no leopards.

Couds were rolling in and the temperature was falling, so we gave up. Alice assured us that wherever the leopard was, she wasn't going to show herself at that point.

So we headed off. We saw impalas heading for cover...

And Elands accompanied by a little warthog...

A pair of silver-backed jackals crouched in the shrub before one faced off with a huge bird (who finally just flew away). 

Zebras wandered across the plains.

And shortly after spotting the rhino, we watched the storm roll across the Mara.

Alice asked if we wanted to go back. And we definitely did not. Wrapped up in red plaid Maasai blankets we raced across the Mara chasing the storm and being chased by it, passing whole herds of DLTs standing with their backs to the wind, getting completely stuck in a herd of buffalo, and splashing through new streams.

We were trying to drive out of the storm when I saw a flash off in the distance. We could barely see the jeep, but it didn't belong to our camp. We decided to go see what was worth taking the camera out in the rain. 

Two cheetahs looking for something to chase. (rain + wind + bumpy terrain cheetah chasing does not equal my best pictures) We stayed with them for a while until they got tired of our company and broke into a trot in the other direction. 

The next morning an impossibly thick fog lay over the whole Mara. We checked again for the leopard, but could barely see anything in the mist. A giraffe wandered past us.

A hyena skulked home.

An elephant went looking for fresh mud.

Late in the morning the fog cleared a bit and we headed to the river. On the way we saw the (apparently?) quite rare bat-eared fox with more jackals in the background. It was the first one our guide-in-training had seen! 

At the river we got out of the jeep to see the hippopotamuses and crocodiles.

More than 50 hippos grunted in the river while two crocs floated silent and log-like. Alice seemed unconcerned, but at a rustling in the bushes, Kyle and I jumped back into the jeep as quick as we could.

We headed back that afternoon for our last lunch at camp and only one more long game drive ahead of us. 

See, here's the secret about the Big Five. When people ask you if you saw the Big Five, what they really mean is, Did you actually see the leopard?