The Calm Before the Storm

At Close Quarters


Yesterday afternoon our guests headed to the SafariLive HQ to visit the final control room and to meet the presenters of the show. We then watched as the afternoon drive went live to the world. After chatting to the crew, we headed back to the lodge for our afternoon drive. It was a warm afternoon and we decided to check the area around camp for leopard tracks.

The bush was extremely quiet and we struggled to find any fresh tracks. Luckily, the smaller, less seen and talked about animals, kept us busy. We saw two flapped-neck chameleons, a yellow-bellied sand snake, a Schlegel’s beaked blind snake and a leopard tortoise. We also saw two Bateleurs bathing in a waterhole before we stopped for sundowners at Kudu Corner on the Kruger boundary. We ended our drive by following a spotted hyena as she seemed to be searching for something in an open area. A quiet drive is gentle reminder that the bush offers you some incredible sightings which need to each be enjoyed. It also forces you to see and enjoy the smaller parts of this fantastic ecosystem.

This morning we were determined to find something after our quiet drive yesterday evening. We got word of some fresh leopard tracks and went to assist in tracking. A squirrel was alarm calling nearby and we drove off-road to investigate. Then we saw a small leopard cub and its mom sitting on a fallen tree. It was Thandi and her cub.

Thandi left the cub and, as not to stress the cub, we decided to follow Thandi. About 200 meters down the road she spotted a pair of steenbok and  started to stalk them. She was spotted quite soon after but she did not give up and tried again. We sat extremely patiently for over an hour as eventually, she was so well hidden and positioned, that a steenbok walked straight towards her.

We all held our collective breath as she pounced and, quick as a flash, caught the animal. It was dead within seconds. We could not believe what we had just witnessed. A truly special moment and experience, which was a first for most our guests. Knowing that the cub was a short way away, we predicted that she may drag the small carcass up to the cub and positioned the vehicles accordingly. She did just that. As we were well-positioned when she began the long trek to her cub, our guests had ample time to prepare and managed to get some once in a lifetime images of her walking with the carcass in her mouth.

We then reluctantly followed her as she got closer to the cub. She stashed the meal in a thicket and began chuffing. The little spotted fur ball came bursting from the bush and tackled mom. They spent some time grooming each other before tucking into the freshly caught meal. We decided to leave them and drove off, all extremely satisfied and slightly emotional after the amazing sighting we had all just witnessed. On our way back to camp we heard that a few other leopards had crossed into the area and will see if we can find them later on the final afternoon drive of this Big Cat Photo Safari.


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Showing 2 comments
  • Marc de Chakain

    E ceptional again. Well done!!!!

  • Tracey

    Loving your blogs and photos. I am an avid SafariLive viewer & saw the kill live too – albeit from the UK! So pleased for your lucky guests, what memories they will have. I am hoping to join you at Djuma before too long.

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