Friday, October 2, 2015

On Safari With Gert

30 September 2015

After collecting our 2 guests for their first day on safari, we headed straight in to the park at around noon time.

As it was the hottest part of a very hot day, we weren't expecting a great deal, but shortly into out drive came across two magnificent Sable Antelope bulls.

A little further on after turning onto a small dirt road, we saw 2 vehicles parked and then noticed a leopard under a small bush, close to the road... It was sitting up and looking around disturbed as there was a large male giraffe close by. Eventually the leopard was unsettled enough by the presence of the giraffe, got up, crossed the road in front of us and slowly moved out of sight.

The next stop was at a waterhole, which was the hub of activity. 4 White Rhino, 2 males, a female and a calf were lying in the shade around the water and 1 of the males was wallowing in the mud, a few meters from a large bull elephant drinking. A few more elephants came down to the water while at the same time 2 lionesses were approaching a giraffe that was standing closely. The giraffe kept a very close eye on one of the lionesses, who were just trying to find a shady spot and trying to avoid the elephants. We eventually left the scene and moved on finding yet another leopard lying in a shady spot close to the road. Further on we found some buffalo to complete our big 5 for the day and then, just before closing time, found our third leopard for the day. It was sitting on a termite mound keeping an eye on some young waterbuck closely at a waterhole. It stalked the waterbuck, crossing the road in front of us in the process, but we lost sight of it in the tall grass. All in all a surprisingly successful day in the very hot conditions...

1 October 2015

After a spectacular sunrise set the tone for a perfect day, we set off on our short morning drive. We had quite an interesting sighting first up - An African Harrier-Hawk or Gymnogene raiding some hole-nests in the trunk of an Marula tree. We watched as it hung upside down, using it's long, flexible legs to grab whatever was hiding inside.

Our brilliant Leopard-luck continued as we then came across one of these beautiful cats, lying high on top of a nearby granite outcrop, surveying the area below while basking in the early morning sun. It got very comfortable and we left the sighting after it had put it's head down for a snooze.

Continuing from there we found a few species of general game, including a large herd of buffalo. We also followed some lion tracks for a while, but to no avail...

A little later, we saw 2 cars parked and on approach spotted, unbelievably, another leopard! This was a youngster, sitting in a tree about 10 meters off the road, keeping an eye on a nearby Impala herd. It sniffed the air trying to establish a direction of approach before getting down and moving on to the next hiding place, which was the low fork of another Marula tree, about 20 meters further in. Here it sat waiting very patiently as the Impala grazed, ever closer... The Impala got up to about 15 meters from the cat, oblivious to its presence... Then one of the more vigilant Impala, must have spotted the leopard getting a bit eager and sounded the alarm call; blowing the leopard's cover...

The young leopard then nonchalantly sat in the fork, paying them no more attention, before jumping down and heading in the opposite direction and back to the drawing board! The Impala, still alarm calling, kept a very close eye on it and followed it for some time, making sure not to let it out of sight...

After that we visited a nearby waterhole with the hope of finding a crocodile and there was one out sunning itself on a sandbank...

Mission accomplished, it was time to head back and say goodbye to our guests, who left with expectations exceeded. A short, but very sweet, 2 days!

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