There was no walk this morning because the “Trails Group” were at the range for their final ARH tests. I took Alison and Graham out for what turned out to be an epic drive. Sean from the Head Office joined us which added a little bit of pressure, but he was a perfect guest and any anxiety I had soon dissipated.
Regardless of my guiding skills this was a drive that nobody would forget. As we were driving west down Pafuri Main, just short of the Sand Pad turn off Alison exclaimed, “cat”. And crikey, there was a cat, a huge male leopard. We followed him for fifteen minutes down the road whilst he scent marked his territory. He was so relaxed, probably knowing that nobody would mess with him. However, he did turn round a few times to check us out, this made my heart race slightly. He eventually disappeared into the drainage line.
It turned out to be a good day for leopards with both the “Trails Group” and Cara from Ourpost seeing one each. Three individuals spotted in one day, pretty good for Makuleke.
After the excitement of the leopard we broke for morning tea and biscuits at Matale Gorge, it was bit of a hike across the rocks but the view was worthwhile. On the way back to camp we had an ele sighting which brought the tally to three of the big five in 24 hours. We stopped a few more times on the way home for birds and game but we couldn’t idle too much as this was already a five hour game drive.
There was little time to rest or exercise, I had vehicle checks to do and then some painting but not before I’d shown off the leopard photos over breakfast.
Alison, Graham and I went out for another drive in the evening, this time along Luvuvhu East, notables were Hippo, Verraux’s Eagle, Saddle Billed Storks and Buffalo. As the sun was setting I sat Alison and Graeme at opposite ends of the vehicle and suggested that they had ten minutes solitude whilst they looked out over the river. I had my own alone time, I headed out of their way down the incredibly overgrown track passing elephant and buffalo tracks as I went. But it was the thought of this morning’s leopard which stopped me from venturing too far.
We carried on to the flood plain and had our sundowners looking up at the cliffs, an amazing spot, such a pity that it’s been blighted by the floods spreading the Datora far and wide. We stopped a few times on the way back to camp to take in the African night, the night was clear and the Milkyway was really prominent tonight.