17 Mar 2011 The amazing drive
The Australian couple I was looking after had already seen so many animals during their stay, that when we headed out on drive we did so without the usual high expectations. Instead we decided to just take things as they come, and see what the afternoon held in store for us.
We drove around at a leisurely pace for some time, before finding a large herd of buffalo hanging out near a waterhole. After taking some great photos of the lethargic bovines, I suggested that we head to the southern part of the reserve as the other rangers were all moving north.
I figured that if we were the only vehicle in the area we might have a better chance of seeing leopard again. En route we encountered two rhinos wallowing in a mud hole. There are a few big watering holes in the south, so we drove around to see if we could find some hippos as well.
Instead found a big lioness on the side of the road. She wasn’t planning on moving anytime soon, so we left the sleepy female to herself and continued on our way. Around the next corner we found a herd of elephants. We spent the next fifteen minutes being thoroughly entertained by the antics of its younger members.
After that we decided that it was time to stop for sundowners. Once we’d finished our drinks the guests suggested that we slowly make our way back towards the lodge. I asked if they would mind if I went down one last road before returning. They didn’t, so we drove along a dry riverbed that is known to be a good area for finding leopards.
Around a bend we saw a Spotted hyena walking towards us. We waited quietly, anxious to see what it make of our presence. Hyenas are sometimes quite skittish, but this one didn’t seem to mind the close proximity of our vehicle. To our surprise it actually ventured closer to see what was going on. That was when we heard a noise people don’t often get to hear.
There were two leopards mating some 50m from us. But although we could hear them, the bush was just too dense for us to see anything. We drove up a different road, but still we couldn’t find the noisy couple. Next we tried a old road that leads to an erosion area, and that’s when we finally spotted the mating leopards.
They didn’t hang around for very long though, and we lost sight of them when they disappeared into some nearby thickets. After that we headed back to camp, smiling broadly at what turned out to be a really amazing drive.
See you on drive,
The Camp Jabulani Rangers 😉