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Published: August 11th 2018
Yesterday was amazing, how can we beat that. Easy....
Up at 0530, yes, before the sun rises and the birds start chirping. quick coffee/tea for some and a cookie and OJ for others. Not the truck to be first away, yes, Barnie (our driver) loves to be first, and when he is carrying that bloody big gun, he is boss...
Our requests for today’s drive were elephants, water buffalo, leopards and whatever comes after that. We had been out for about 15 minutes, spotting the usual Impala, zebra and giraffe (ho hum) with a few pics of the sunrise when we started to go faster. All of a sudden, Barnie says we are now going to see a leopard that others have spotted. No complaints from us. Arrive and one other truck is there. The leopard had made a kill of an Impala but a hyena had robbed it of the kill. OK, this could get messy. We park very close to the hyena, with the leopard not far away. Great pics of the leopard and also the hyena which was ripping the Impala apart (sorry for the vegans and other weak stomached people but this is the African McDonalds right here).
We are sat in the middle of a war zone. Next thing there is another leopard in the mix. This starts a turf war of kinds and we have leopards racing each other for territory and also trying to get the remaining food. Meanwhile the hyena is having s lovely time gorging itself on the fresh kill. We sit watching the the 1st leopard coms back and engages the hyena. Problem is that a second hyena appears on the scene which causes a retreat by the leopard. Amazing how the food chain works out here.
Anyhoo, finally the 2 hyenas start fighting over the carcass, the leopard sneaks in and grabs what was originally hers and goes off to eat. This goes on for a while then the 2nd hyena departs. 2nd leopard re-appears (sound like a scene from home and away) and things get interesting again. Final outcome is that the main leopard has a fight with the 1st hyena, grabs some of its prey back, climbs a tree and eats. All this within reaching distance from us in the truck. At one stage we were told to stay very silent and not to move As the 2nd leopard was stalking food right next to the truck - read that we could reach down and pat it if we wanted to lose a hand. The stay still and quiet part was easy to do as we were mesmerised by this show of food wars.
Finally we have had enough and leave. Others are now coming in and about to see leopards as well. On we go and soon we find out that our plans have changed again. We were meant to be finding elephants but the radio buzzed saying there were 2 lions mating just on the edge of the reserve. Off we go at pace again.
Find the lions by bush bashing and sure enough, every time the female moved, the male was right behind, a little like Geogre and Millie (Jessica’s daschunds for those not sure of the reference). Very soon we were privy to a scene from 50 shades of lion. Ooh la la. Wham bam thank you mam and it is all over. Cigarettes anyone. Then for a leisurely lay down. We watch and decide to leave them alone for a while.....
Back for breakfast, yes, all this before we have eaten. Time out, Chris has a massage, I rest and we eat some more, shop and then back out for our afternoon drive. Exhausting stuff....
Now we have set Barnie a task to find water buffalo ad elephants for us. The guides walk out and on cue, 2 water buffalo walk into the camp and start drinking from the waterhole only about 100 metres away from us. OK, now Barnies job is much easier. He starts our drive by Saing we will search for elephants and also a pack of Wild African Dogs.
We drive a short distance the Tonight (our spotter) does his job and we find elephants. Bush bashingnand we see 3,then more. Finally find a huge herd of elephants, some big, others bigger and a few baby ones as well. All in all, we estimated 12 in total. Very close and large.
Now for the dogs. Find their den but no one is home. Tonight spots the. On the other side of a large drain. Bush bash down and over the drain (river type drain). This is real 4wd stuff, steep, rutted and trees/bushes all around. Barnie does it easily which is made more difficult because he is trying to protect us from trees, bushes sand other nasties while also guiding the truck through the terrain..
Job done, we park almost on top of these sleeping wild dogs. Amazing - there you go, amazing comes up again.... They have 2 pups which are playing and every so often will roam away. One of the dogs is on guard and chases them back to the safety of the pack. Fascinating group dynamics. Eventually we leave somanither group can see what we have just been watching.
We the head beak into the setting sun. Turn a corner and our sundowner is set with lanterns, a fully stocked bar and a bbq. Waiters waiting on us tonight, very flash. Soonall our groups are in and we compare animals, pics, etc. what a great day.
Back to camp for a special Boma dinner. The guides also eta with us tonight. A nice touch another early drive the we have to leave at 0900 tomorrow. Bugger, just getting used to this lifestyle.
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