Nine weeks to go. Single figures. It’s quite scary at how quickly time is flying. This week has been no exception and the sightings have been truly wonderful and it feels as though summer is really on its way. The elephants have been here in big numbers and the wild dogs, well they have finally shown us something rather special.
Although when first writing this I had not seen the pups myself (I missed the sighting by mere minutes) nine pups were seen playing around in the road, rolling and biting each other as little dogs do. The relief and happiness that emitted from everyone on the reserve was fantastic but now after only one car had seen them, everyone else was desperate to see these fluff balls. Thankfully my time came today. After the pups were called in close by we made our way to the area. We were greeted by the adults lying around and then through the bushes out popped the little pups. Our look at them lasted a minute maximum but what a relief it was to see those fluffy white tails bouncing along through the undergrowth. They are by far one of the cutest things I have ever seen. Unfortunately, I only managed a very blurry, out of focus picture, so hopefully if there is a next time, I will get some better evidence. The pups are quite old though, already they have their painted colours so let us hope they don’t move onto greener pastures just yet. After missing the pups the first time, the adults killed an impala just down the road after the sun had set, so in the dark we sat, for about half an hour listening to three dogs ripping and tearing flesh. Then they vanished so we sat and waited to see what else may pop up. We need not have waited long as suddenly five dogs appeared bounding down the road. Their yipping and squeals of excitement were music to the ears and they gorged themselves until not one morsel was left. This was my guest’s second sighting of their first ever safari and their first was just as impressive.
The golden hour had arrived before sunset and the crackling of the radio announced that there was ” one madoda ngala” nearby. Perfect. We made our way towards the sighting and as we were called into the sighting the lion decided to move. He came straight towards our vehicle, roaring as he went and stopping every now and then to mark his territory. He is a new lion and was here to stake his claim. He walked with swagger within a couple of metres of the car, he looked unstoppable, nothing was going to frighten this boy. His roars reverberated through the air, it is a sound like no other. Your whole diaphragm vibrates through the sheer power of the roar. It is truly an amazing thing to witness and I can only imagine what was going through my guest’s mind when watching this (their facial expressions shouted a million words). What an introduction to Africa.
The other amazing sightings this week have come under the cloak of darkness. The first is a little cat whom I have never been privileged enough to see before. This cat is not much bigger than your average domestic cat but has tufts on its ears and a short, stubby tail. The caracal. My camera trap was rudely broken from its hinges and thrown into the bush, renderring it unusable until I sort a bracket out so unfortunately there is no good camera evidence of this small cat. The guests were eating dinner and a ghostlike creature entered our back waterhole. I got the binos and couldn’t believe my eyes, no-one else at first believed me. The caracal sat and drank for a good twenty minutes before meandering off into the bushes. This was truly once in a lifetime! Forward forty-eight hours and the same thing happened again. What luck we have had!
My last highlight I will share was on a nightdrive. Our other guide broke down on his game drive so we decided to take the guests out after dinner to make up for any inconvenience. A few days beforehand I had seen advaark tracks on a dam wall so as Kyle called in some lions and I started to make my way towards them, I decided to chance my luck in that area first. Then I saw a fat bum poking out from a mopani thicket. The large, hairy ears gave away the culprit. Ardvaark! The chubby termite eater turned and looked at us then he started walking towards the car very casually. I was so excited I couldn’t get my camera out but luckily my guests caught some of this encounter on their phones. The little fella then turned on his heels, waddled up the road, into the bush where he preceeded to walk back parallel towards the car before entering his burrow. With the last flash of his tail he was gone. I was buzzing and so were my guests. Even when we broke down later that evening, in the pitch black, the smiles on our faces were shining as bright as the stars.
I will keep my fingers crossed that Africa keeps spoiling me until the very last second.