LIVE UPDATE from Villiers Steyn & Lance van de Vyver.
Yesterday afternoon, after some Lightroom training and a light lunch, we headed into the bush. We decided to go to Torchwood to see if we could find the Quarantine male leopard who we have not seen for a while. On our way there however, we bumped into Kuchava and her young cub in the road. She was sniffing about and displaying the Flehmen Grimace (there must have been another leopard who passed through the area). She then moved to the back of the Torchwood camp and we found her and the cub sitting together. We managed to get a few closer shots of mom and her cub (there is much debate on whether it is a male or female). When they moved off, we decided to stop following them and give them some space.
We carried on towards the south eastern corner of the traverse and, on the way, had a fleeting glimpse of a honey badger. The large vistas of yellow grass were lit up dramatically in the setting sun. It was a stunning scene. We then stopped on an airstrip and enjoyed a lengthly sundowner stop and enjoyed each other’s company. After a much enjoyed drink, we made our way back to camp and saw another honey badger, in the road this time. We also had a great sighting of a puff adder crossing the road. Our guests have been well-trained and with their default night time settings, managed a few shots as the snake moved into the bush.
This morning we awoke to find that it had rained in the night again. We headed out and searched for leopards around camp. We knew that Tingana had been around camp in the night and soon found his tracks heading east. Unfortunately, we did not manage to track the big boy down. Luckily, we then found very fresh leopard tracks of a female and a bigger cub (which we assumed to be Thandi and her cub). What followed, was 2 hours of intensive tracking. Thandi seemed to be walking along the roads but going back and forth which made the tracking exercise very difficult. At one stage all the rangers and trackers were on foot trying to find her. Three lone and afraid looking impala gave a hint that she might be nearby but we eventually gave up and started to head north. At that moment, as we drove off, Lance spotted the leopard. We celebrated as we had finally found her.
She was very intently on the hunt . The heavens then decided to open and it began raining. The photographic opportunities were few but we did manage the odd shot of her moving through the grass. The cub was nowhere to be seen and must have been waiting nearby for mom to make a kill. We were starting to get wet and cold and decided to head back to camp for a hot shower, coffee and meal. We hope that Thandi manages to take something down during the day and will follow up on her later on our final afternoon drive of this safari.
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