Up at 5:30am to be on the open vehicle by 6:00am for our first morning drive and like all game drives you have no idea what you might come across. The day started with a great sighting of Black-backed Jackals still curled up and trying to stay warm and out of the wind. There were four jackals and they looked a bit put out that we had disturbed their sleep but they were soon up and running for a bit of cover from these strange people with cameras at the ready. However the day as it turned out belonged to the cats and our first encounter was with a beautiful female cheetah and her four cubs, what a privilege. We sat for just over an hour watching these beauties do very little, like all cats they like to sleep as much as possible and all five of them were relaxing under a small bush. All had full bellies and it was now time to rest. Cheetahs are magnificent cats and I must confess, my favourite. Eventually we left these cats to see what else there was in the reserve.
We actually did not travel very far when one of the guests on the vehicle spotted a leopard sound asleep in a very large Mashatu tree, that was a lucky find. Our guide had stopped under the tree and had been talking about snakes and the guest was looking up to see if there were any snakes in this tree and spotted the leopard, even our guide missed it. The cat hardly moved all the time we were there watching it and it looked so uncomfortable but what would we know. Within 10 minutes of leaving the leopard we came across the five sub-adults of the resident family of lions consisting of two females and three males. I have seen these youngsters from when they were born in 2018 and it is always a thrill to see that they are still around. There was no sight of their mothers or father but our guide informed us that the adult male is pushing the three young males out and that the adults are now mating again. A magnificent first game drive.
Our day was spent back at the lodge relaxing and at 16:30 we were back on the open vehicle to see what the late afternoon early evening had to offer. There was very heavy cloud around and there was no sunset and very few animals around but just being out in the bush was a pleasure in itself. A great day.