Thanks all for hopping on board, not sure whether you need to put on safety belts yet.
I had not been to KTP in winter for some time and it is noticeable how short the days are. Gates open at 07h30 and one tends to return from the morning drive around noon. A quick lunch and then by 15h00, it's time for the afternoon drive. Gates close at 18h00. Time flies while on the game drives.
When we left the gates for the afternoon drive, I was quietly concerned as I had promised my visitors so much. At least an AWC in a tree was all I was hoping for. Stopped at the famous 'leopard' tree, nothing, stopped at Samevloeiing, nothing. A bit further on a gemsbok gave a demonstration of what they can do with their horns.
A PCG was having an early dinner.
This ostrich was having a dust bath and gave some opportunity for a few images.
We then drove all the way to the end of the Leeuwdril road, but even the gemsbok ans springbok regulars seemed to have disappeared. I was beginning to feel quite despondent. Maybe a quick trip accross the dunes to Houmoed will do the trick?
Driving slowly back towards Samevloeiing, we saw some cars parked, probably a km north of the waterhole. I still thought to myself that these probably were new arrivals seeing gemsbok for the first time. As we got nearer, yes indeed, there were a couple of gemsbokke, but they were not at ease at all. In fact they were fully alert and staring at a clump of grass, some 15 meters from the road. We could not see anything so I asked a lady what they were looking at. She said there was a jagluiperd (cheetah) lying behind the grass.
Now at least things were hotting up! Well, we waited and waited and waited. Nothing. Eventually the gemsbok lost interest (kind of) and walked away, looking behid them from time to time.
We were on the point of leaving when we saw some movement:
That's no cheetah, that's THE LADY. The imaginery Samevloeiing leo!!
She stared at us through the grass and casually walked away never even giving us another glance.
We all sat breathless, what a sighting! It was a very slow drive back to camp. I told the Aussie he was extremely fortunate to have seen her so close-up, even though the long grass made it impossible to get great images. Second day ever in KTP and he gets to see the Samevloeiing lady!!
We were to meet up with her again, but more about that later in the TR.
But now it's time for dinner and the van needs some diesel...