No sign of our elephant at the house yesterday, maybe he will come back today. It was very cold overnight and this morning on the vehicle was the coldest it has been all week and blankets, beanies and heavy jackets were the order of the morning. We drove a long way south through the Reserve this morning hoping to see the lions again but it was not to be as they had moved on during the night and were nowhere to be seen. If you cannot find one cat, look for another and there in the middle of a wild sage cluster was a small female leopard. She was beautiful. As the sun was now up and the day was getting warmer she was not interested in doing very much so she laid down under a tree. At one point she got up and went for a walk only to flop down again 100 meters away in the wild sage. Leopards are such beautiful creatures, so elusive that I am always so thrilled when we see one, even if it just lies there and does nothing.
Today seems to be giraffe day, as we have seen so many on the drive down south and then as we moved around the area giraffes seemed to be everywhere. Watching giraffes walk or run always makes me think of catwalk models, strutting down the catwalk. Giraffes walk with such elegance and attitude that they are the models of the African Savannah.
Our morning drive was coming to an end and as we headed back towards the lodge we drove past one of the hides on the Reserve only to find elephants at the waterhole having a wonderful time, so of course we sat and watched and we had a delightful half an hour watching the antics of the herd. Other animals also came down to the waterhole but all of them held back until the elephants had left and only then did the wildebeest and zebra come forward. Obviously there is a pecking order within the animal kingdom. We left the animals drinking and continued our drive back to the lodge only to stop again a few minutes later at a dam as Graphite spotted a male leopard. The leopard, who was beautiful was lying under a small bush when we first arrived but within minutes he had spotted an impala coming down to drink so he started stalking him. That was fun to watch, the leopard crawling down very low towards the impala and just as he sprung up to attack the impala was off and the hunt had finished before it really started. We then followed the leopard as he walked around the dam, stoping to rest and clean himself and then up and walking again. Where the next 30 minutes went I have no idea, we were at a very special sighting, no other vehicles were there and this leopard was ours to watch, photograph and enjoy. Eventually we had to leave our friend and drive back to our lodge and by the time we got back we had been out for nearly seven hours. What a memorable morning which will stay with us for years.
Our afternoon drive was a short one today, really just an excuse to go out to a favourite place to watch the sun go down while having a gin and tonic.
That night back at the lodge we were all sitting outside having dinner when we spotted an elephant in the garden, as you do and then realised that there we a number of elephants around the grounds. We only saw one clearly in the dark but could hear the rest of herd munching away in the thick bushes.
There is a night camera that is set up each evening at the waterhole on property and you could clearly see the elephant herd having a drink just before there can into the garden to have their dinner. The camera also picked up a leopard that night but we never got to see this one during the day.
Photo is courtesy of Graphite – Fika Fuit