Time to turn around and head back to TR for the last time.
There was a kori bustard kill across the river. I had wondered whether they were ever prey? There were feathers spread out for ever. Too far for a pic.
Samevloeiing for the last time, a couple of vehicles parked off but nothing obvious.
One vehicle was on the other side of the WH, with binocs fixed on the Botswana side. Suggested to SO to go around and ask what he could see!
Probably those gemsbok....It took a bit of convincing and eventually she drove around.
See anything? No just the gemsbok... looking for THE LEOPARD, hoping for it to come over the dune .... but can't find it.
We chatted a bit and the clock said time to get back before gate closing time.
Appropriately our last sighting was a gemsbok silhouette on the ridge before TR. 'Leopard watcher' also stopped and thought it an appropriate pic. Also his last day.
For the last evening we had decided that we were going to have supper at the restaurant. SO was in the shower, I was waiting for my turn when there was a knock at the door.
A lady and 'leopard watcher', hi we have been looking all over for you, reception said that this could be us... She introduced herself as Margie..."I live in the staff quarters and were wondering whether you could give our nephew a lift to Upington tomorrow."
Yes sure, we have space.....
Margie asked about our trip....I told her what Marius had said, about asking Gus...who lived in the bush.... she smiled and pointed at herself "that's us"... SO HOW IS SKINNY?????
Anton (his official name), last confirmed sighting had been in April.
Antons' mom Elena had 4 cubs.....lived around Sitsas... that's who we saw...
I related the story of being told about a mom with 2 cubs and she told me that it was probably ????? (sorry I did not bank all the info)
SO finished showering and joined the discussion.
It was fascinating talking to them. Nephew said that even with the collars they were difficult to find.
I'm so sorry I was not more scientific, did not take notes , ask all the questions that everyone would like answers to etc.....
But here's some facts that stuck in the grey matter:
KTP has app 80 cheetah.
9 are collared.
Elena, collared mom, has 4 cubs, in Sitsas area.
Another collared mom with 4 cubs.
Another collared mom with 2 cubs in the Kamqua area.
A group of 4 sub adults, one of which is collared.
The cheetah project was in its third year of five.
They lived in Nossob for 14 years, then KNP for 22 years and now back with the project (hope the right way around).
With all the recent rain the rodent population in the dunes has 'exploded' with the result that predators do not have to go to the river beds to hunt. probably why their sighting were a little scarcer.
We had a good meal. Our Nossob neighbours 'Dutch Swiss' were also there. We had a good chat, they had another day and then off to the Karoo National Park (we have driven past it many times and never yet visited
) 20 JULY 2009
Early start. Mrs Margie Mills dropped their nephew off...chatted some more, and we were on our way.
Had an interesting chat with nephew, his first visit to his uncle's place of work.
Stopped off for breakfast in Upinton, bade farewell to nephew, and hit the road.
The last animals we would have expected to see on our trip
Trick photography? Optical elusion? The sun had almost set on our trip, a quarter was visible...but photo shows a whole sun
Thank you ALL,
for the continued encouragement and kind comments that kept the report going.
Most pics compliments of SO, thank you Rusty, some I took, with our 'cameratjie' compact Canon PowerShot A620.
SO said, next time in summer please, and so shortly after returning a SUMMER trip was booked........Feb 2010.... "We will be Back"