Three vehicles passes us from behind and a dense dust cloud puffs up from under their tyres, we try and close our windows, but in vane, the dust penetrates our car and leaves us all snorting and gasping for air. Inconsiderate what ‘n whats. I slow down to a crawl until they disappear in the distance.
The road is quiet in terms of wildlife but the scenic route makes up for it, the road winds its way on the banks of the Timbavati river, which is mostly dry. Huge trees line the banks and the birdlife is abundant.
Leeubron is alive with impalas. Ewes are grazing peacefully while a couple of rams strut their stuff with loud snorts and grunts. Every now and then a ewe takes a ram on a wild romp through the veld, just to end up back where they started. There nimble movements turning and twisting around bushes with the occasional leap, is amazing to watch. We spend some time with them until I hear grumbling tummies urging me on to go and make breakfast.
Just before we reach the picnic spot, a traffic jam slows my progress. We are told that a leopard killed an Impala and is hiding in the tall grasses. I was secretly hoping for a good sighting, without taking away from the beauty of the impalas, to impress Ruan. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine that it would be a leopard….but it was not to be. The impala carcass was lying in plain sight about 50 meters off the road, with a patch of tall grass behind it. That was where the leopard was apparently resting after the kill. Nobody saw the hunt take place but arrived just as the impala exhaled its last breath. The leopard immediately lay down and disappeared from sight. I scan the entire area inch for inch but do not even see an ear twitch or the flick of a tail. After 20 or so minutes, everybody else has already left, I suggest that we go to breakfast and return afterwards. That would give the leopard enough time to relax and rest and come out to feed.
It is only 4 km to Timbavati and we get there with out any more excitement. It is rather busy and all the gas braais have been taken. The attendant must have seen the desperate look on my face and brings me a very dilapidated looking skottel and gas bottle. He apologises for the appearances but says it is in full working order and that I can use it if I don’t mind. I did not get your name, but thank you very much for your consideration and kindness, the skottel worked perfectly.
Ever present beggars
And @rse H*les
In no time breakfast was done and dusted and we were on our way to see the leopard enjoy its breakfast. We reach the spot and nobody is around, not even the carcass, it disappeared into thin air. We scan the veld again, every tree, every patch of grass, every shady spot, but nothing. I drive up and down, look again, and confirm that we are at the right place, but no leopard and no impala carcass. It could just as well not have been there, ever.
Disappointed, we turn around and head onto Satara via the S127. The road is empty of life accept for zebras and blue wildebeest specs on the horizon.
We pop into Satara for a pit stop and leg stretch. Two ellies quench their thirst at the webcam waterhole and the scops owl snoozes in the tree, not paying noisy curious tourist any attention…….