Thursday, 27th of July, Shingwedzi
Woke up early again by lions (these guys are really busy here), and when we were having our coffee, we noticed a car was leaving camp at 5.30, with high speed. He went in the direction of Punda, and we could hear him accelerate like a racingcar. We were not very pleased by that, since there are already so many animals killed in that area. Looking at the time it must have been a staffmember.
We left at 6.00 for Mopani, figuring this was going to be a very dull morning. Who likes to go out for shopping when you are in Kruger? We were the only ones going in that direction, and it was very cold and misty again.
After about 20 minutes we noticed a large group of Francolins scattered all over the road, thick in their feathers, and not intending to leave. So we stopped for them, feeling sorry that they were so cold. Than we heard sound and before we even could figger out what was going on, just in front of our eyes, a Sanparks truck (the one that is used for drives) RACED RIGHT THOUGH the group of Francolins, and several birds were bounced trough the sky and felt in the grass. We couldn't believe what we saw. Either the driver was blind, fast asleep or total ignorant. We felt disgusted about it and next moment we got furious, and Nico started to persuit the truck. There was a long right stretch of road in front of us, and for a minute or so Nico tried to see if the truck was driving 65km, so that the distance would stayed the same between us. But the truck disappeared in little time, and this vehicle must have been driving AT LEAST 80 km an hour!! We were so angry, and we decided to make a complaint against this driver when we were back at Shingwedzi. Since there were people in the back, we figgured that they would go for a walk, and we kept looking to the truck, to tell the driver off when we found him, but there was no sign of it anymore.
About 10 minutes later, still feeling angry, we did see something in front of us: A LEOPARD WALKING THE ROAD!!! A large male, very relaxed
We drove very slowly and turned a bit, so Nico could film and I could take a few shots, but I already knew: this is not going to work for me, there is too little light. Next moment we spotted A SECOND LEOPARD, obviously a female
and we got a bit crazy: this was a mating couple, because normally they don't walk together. Nico turned the car, and I went to back to sit at the same site, and since my worst worry came true now (seeing something ones-in-a-lifetime, while it is too dark to make good pics) I told Nico to don't bother about me, and just do anything to make a good film.
So drove slowly with them, giving me an extra problem: too little light AND from a moving object, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE!
Than they start to mate right in front of us, underneeth some trees, so even less light now, but WHAT A BLESS TO SEE THIS, it was amazing, the sounds the anger towards eachother, we will NEVER forget this, it made our flesh creep
Specially the moment he steps off, there was such a rage from her to the male. I managed to take this pic on the right moment but by the lack of light every movement gives a blur
Than they walked for a while, and the whole process repeated, but now almost hidden in the bushes. Afther they walked on again. At some point it almost looked if you saw one animal double
Another mating was there, again in the bushes, and they walked on again, and there was sun coming in, to my relieve, but the car was till moving, so the results weren't going to be a lot better, but yet so unique
Than both the leopards started to cross the road, and walked a little while in front of us on the road, they seemed totally undisturbed by us all the time, which felt great.
Than they got to the other side, and disappeared in a blink of an eye, as only leopards can do, leaving us in total euforie, we couldn't take in what we just witnessed, AND NOBODY ELSE THERE!! We felt this somuch as a special gift, words can't tell.
We went on to Mopani, had breakfast and did our shopping. We went back to Camp and had a conversation with the Dutymanager about the truck that morning. He was shocked and angry, and said that this was not to tolerate, and would make report, but advised us to make complaint with the head fieldguide. We found him only late that afternoon, and he was shocked as well. He knew the guide that was driving that morning, and told us that it was no morningwalk, but a truck full of staff going to Phalaborwa to shop, droven by one of the guides, Juluka. He would take this mather to him. Unfortenately we haven't heard anything afterwards.
We spend the whole afternoon making slaai and other things.
Later that afternoon we drove to the place where we had the party and it was GREAT, good company, good stories, good braai, good drinks, lions roaring, hyeana busy and ellies breaking trees right in front of us.
Late late at night we were escorted back to camp, which was a very new experience to us, the guard let us in, and we sneeked through camp back into our cottage, we felt like we were in highschool again
This was a day to remember always.
@hope it is not too boring, just having leopard pics this time