FROM TREVOR MCCALL-PEAT & VILLIERS STEYN
Our guests arrived at Djuma from all over South Africa and the World for the start of their Big Cat Photo Safari. We had some return guests from March this year and enjoyed catching up whilst elephants, rhino and general game drank at the waterhole in front of the lodge.
After a light lunch and briefing, we headed out on our first drive. We were soon tracking two leopards as they crossed the blocks close to camp. We struggled to follow in which direction they were headed as the their tracks tended to zig zag and overlap. Along the way we saw plenty of general game and large herbivores… The bush is full of life at the moment.
After searching for a while we decided to stop for a drinks break and see if we could hear any signs of predators nearby. We caught up with our guests and decided to head back out in the direction we left the leopard tracks earlier. Suddenly we bumped into a young female leopard, Xongile. We were not even tracking this leopard, but the bush surprised us, and we found her moving alone through the bush. She was very active and clearly looking for a small meal. She moved through the vegetation from one bush to the next. Suddenly, she pounced and only once she popped out the vegetation we could see that she caught a baby genet.
Our guests managed to get some great spot-lit shots of her before she disappeared into the night. A spotted hyena then arrived on the scene and proceeded to roll around on the genet carcass to transfer the scent onto its body. Some fascinating behaviour to witness. We then headed back to the lodge for dinner.
During the night we could hear the sound of two mating leopards around camp. They had been spotted on the webcam during the night and we discussed whether to search for them this morning or not. We decided instead to look for the Torchwood pride of lions who had been seen further North East yesterday.
We headed in that direction but, not 10 minutes into drive, we bumped into a large male leopard dragging a freshly killed impala through a clearing. We think this leopard is Gijima and our guests grabbed some fantastic images of the cat before he reached some thickets and stashed his kill.
Deciding that the sighting would not improve, we searched for the lions instead. We soon found their tracks and shortly thereafter we found a lone lioness and 9 cubs together. They gave us some great photographic opportunities as they mounted a fallen tree and then settled together on a large termite mound.
What a fantastic morning. We had found and enjoyed both sightings to ourselves. We then had a wonderful coffee break at a nearby dam before making our way back to the lodge for a hearty brunch and some photographic training with our guests.