An hour went by without further happenings apart from the regulars. But again, they were far off in the riverbed, the light wasn’t that great anymore as there was some cloud gathering in the sky so I passed on further shots.
Then we came upon another raptor residing in a tree, very close to the road. Methinks it’s an immature yellow-billed kite.
Arriving at Jan se Draai we found another oryxhole:
At this point I started to lay back a bit, as my eyes began to grow weary with all the proper bush scanning. So no surprise that Spots and I travelled past a huge stone underneath a tree which I only mentioned a good 500 metres down the road. I told Spots that it had probably been nothing, but he needed to reverse in order for me to be able to sleep at night. Another wise decision. The ‘huge stone’ turned out to be a big-bellied, albeit worn looking lion. When we stopped next to him, he felt disturbed and lifted his head.
He gave me and my camera a few glances and then decided he was full enough and didn’t need another lunch.
This is how he looked like when we drove past.
Seriously, he does look like a huge stone?!
Arriving at Kransbraak we found more oryx at the waterhole, but also an egret, a tired hartebeest and loads of wildebeests.
I just love this one – so close that we were able to see its beautiful eyes.
As we had told lots of people who were on their way up to Nossob about our lion sightings, we had learned in exchange that there were cheetahs close to Gunong. ‘There is a huge herd of springboks, must be about 200 and there are cheetahs in the dunes stalking them.’ we were told. Of course we were praying that it was Durbyl and her cubs – I assumed it had to be them as we were talking Gunong area and I knew from the sighting board that cheetahs had been seen there the day before.
We found the springboks alright. But not 200 together. They had already been disturbed. We were too late.
We stopped anyway to get our binocs in order to scan the area. This time I can claim the honour of detecting the cheetahs far off in the dunes. They kept walking in the opposite direction of us and it was hard to keep track of them. Therefore we lost them. And I hadn’t even attempted to get a shot.
Other cars had stopped and we told them what we are looking at, but they didn’t seem to be too fussed and soon drove on. Anyway, I wasn’t ready to give up quite yet and kept scanning the dunes. At some point – only God knows why – I had a close look into the direction pretty far away from us. And there they were again!!!
Hiding behind a dead tree, but clearly cheetahs. Hence, I made Spot turn the car around to see if we could get level with them. But when we arrived at the spot where I had seen them there was nothing – at least not to the mere eye. The lesson to be learned – objects in the binocs may appear closer than they are…
Luckily, they kept moving and at some point I found them again (yes, me again
). And they were moving from the dunes towards the riverbed. Oh my word, I got excited! Spots, they are coming closer
, I jubilated. And boy, did they come close. They were headed straight to the road and only one other car around. They had arrived when the cheetahs were still in the dunes, but they were patient enough to wait it out, just like us. They were behind us and I felt a bit sorry for them as all the action took place around our car. The cheetahs came out of the riverbed spot on where we were and walked the road up north. We followed them slowly and at some point Durbyl crossed to the other side to the left, the youngsters still in the road or next to us to our right.
Durbyl didn’t seem to like that…
…and gave in to her youngster and moved back again towards the riverbed which all of the five crossed and walked back up into the dunes again.
But only after one of the little ones treated me to a COL.