I know there is a thread on the Forum about unusual sightings, but I feel my special experience could somehow justify its own thread.
Having grown up on the front stoep of the Kruger (Phalaborwa), its only natural that I have had more trips into the Park than I can remember. All I can say is that each and everyone was a real special occasion, a real treat, even if the midsummer heat was a bit of a problem in the 60's and 70's - air-cons in cars were unheard of back then!
It was a Sunday in the early 70's, and my old man thought it would be a good idea to take a drive to Olifants camp for lunch. My mum had to work, and did not come with us.
After a pretty uneventful couple of hours on the road to Letaba, my dad turned into the S69 loop. As we approached the first dip through the river, we noticed a car parked in the river bed. Driving slowly up to the car, we all had a good look around, but saw nothing. My dad then asked the driver of the other car what he had seen, and we were told to be patient as the object of interest would be back soon.
Sure enough, about 3 minutes later a youngish (teenager?) baboon came down from the opposite river bank, and plonked himself down on the rocks about 10m from the two cars. He then made a great spectacle of showing us his prize, a very small leopard cub. He "mothered" it as best he could, but obviously the cub was not at all happy and make this pretty obvious to everyone within hearing distance.
The baboon was pretty nervous (I would also be If I had stolen a leopard's kid) and after about 10 minutes he decided that the show was over. He simply turned around and went back to the river bank to the safety of his troop. We stayed on for some considerable time, but that was it - he didn't come back for a curtain call.
My dad took a number of photos, but due to the special nature of the sighting he got the exposure totally wrong
- with the old telephoto lenses, one had to open the aperture to get enough light into the viewfinder to focus, and then close it again to the correct value before pressing the shutter. Of course my dad in his nervousness forgot to close the aperture ring, and the shots were all overexposed by some 3 to 4 stops.
I've scanned the prints of the old photos I've got - had to doctor them a bit to correct the effects of overexposure and the discoloured aging photo paper.
BTW - the driver of the other car also made a number of good quality
photographs and sold them to a local magazine if I remember correctly - possibly even made it into the Custos magazine of the time.
Cheers till next time