She had leopard on Manqeba

17th June 2014

Tuesday 10th June 2014

I walked with Steve this morning, we didn’t go far as he was keen to give the students a little walk of the immediate area. This was to start the day off in a fun way before they got stuck into their ARH lectures, the amount of theory can be quite oppressive.

I hadn’t really explored this close to camp before so it was a fun thing to do. As we approached the three baobabs to the north of camp a barn owl flew out of a large hole crevice. If we hadn’t all been staring at the hole we would have missed this ghostly apparition due to its stealthy flight.

Whilst I was out for my run I discovered fresh leopard tracks and scat on the driveway. It’s always exciting to see leopard spoor, especially when its so close to camp.This chap must have walked around the outer firebreak – aka our running track, into the car park and then out via the drive. When I’m back in the UK I doubt very much that I’ll do what I did next, that was to go and fetch my camera so that I could take several photos of animal poop.

We, the Back-ups and EcoTraining’s roving maintenance guy Robert spent the afternoon bush clearing. This ended up with a visit to the bridge for a few sun downers. The Makuleke big five inhabitants played their part with four elephants taking water in the Luvuvuh and a couple of buffalo crossing as the sun went down.

After dark we made our way back to camp with talk of seeing leopard. Jomi was particularly keen as he’s been stuck in camp quite a bit and wanted to break his two month drought when it came to this elusive cat.

There was lots of chatter on the way back, that’s what a couple of Castles do for you but we all fell silent when the radio squawked into action. It was Sarah saying she had leopard on Manqeba. We were on Manqeba, this was looking promising, then we saw her lights, very promising, she was around the corner from us.

It was a great sighting, we followed Sarah’s vehicle who was in turn following a female leopard. She was very relaxed, scent marking as she went. I should point out that I’m referring to the leopard, not Sarah. We observed for ten minutes during which we got very excited when she crouched, waited then sprung forward into the bush only to return empty handed. I am still referring to the leopard not Sarah.