Day 5: 30 Dec – Twee Rivieren Part 3
We reluctantly left the SWBEs as we really had to get back to TR and time was moving relentlessly on.
What we did notice was that about ½ way between the waterholes, there was always a pile of rocks, but have no idea what their purpose is, but we liked to use them as markers for sightings, so the note in my bookie says “1 km from stones between Montrose and Batulama”…..lying in the middle of the riverbed was a Springbok….nothing unusual about that seeing as there are Springbok all over the place…..but few of them are lying on their side with little interest in life…..and have 2 young cheetah looking “lovingly” at the rear end of it!
We must have just missed the kill as they had not even started to open it up yet to feed. We had stopped for a pitstop at the picnic sight (thanks to Caracal for the heads-up about the lack of loo paper), but had we not stopped, we may have missed it as well, but who knows.
So it was our 2nd kill for the day, but we were not sure who it was at this stage.
More cheetah….she has got to be making this up…..well I would not believe me if I didn’t have the pictures to prove it.
At first there were the 2 cubs trying to decide how to tackle the entry point.
They managed to start and buried their faces in between its legs and slowly we could see that they had succeeded in their feat.
Another cub wandered over and also had its chance.
We sat and watched this for a good while – we were the only car anywhere about. It was nearing 16:00 and most sane people would have been in their camps, waiting for it to cool slightly, but then I never said I was sane!
There was a lot of swapping places between the cubs and the sun was relentless so I think they were getting very hot.
Eventually mom could not take it anymore and she wandered over, grabbed the bokkie by the back leg and within seconds, had dragged it behind the tree and into the shade.
Not to be outdone, we changed position, but it was much more difficult to see now.
A young couple in a Nivara slowed down and stopped behind us, obviously looking for what we were looking at, must have reckoned we were nutty birders or something and moved on. Little did they know what they were missing! We finally caught site of all of them and it was the collared female with the 3 cubs.
Our return to TR was now getting urgent, so we left our little family, sure that it would be the last cheetah we would have. As we got near to Auchterlonie, there was a minor traffic jam and the lady at the sighting was kind enough to tell us that there were 3 leopard in the cave at the top of the ridge and they had been waiting 11 days to see them! Aaarrrggghhh,
we didn’t have the time to wait and see if they would emerge and there was no way that we would get back in the morning seeing we were leaving the park. So sadly we did not get to see any leopard.
We arrived back at camp very hot and SO headed for the pool and I headed for a cold shower before our sunset drive and topped up the charge on the camera batteries in case we saw anything on our drive. We also went to complain again that the aircon was still not working and I was assured that the man would come and maybe it needed re-gassing, because that had obviously not been done earlier in the day.
We met the driver and there were only 4 of us on this biiiig truck. I checked if he had spotlights and I was so excited for the possibility of seeing nocturnal critters. Now given that we knew that there was a pair of mating lions at Leeudril, I thought that we would head in that direction, but our guide had other ideas and took us on a track from Samevloeing that looked like it had not been used for 100 years.
It was very rough and we seriously did not go more than about 10 km/h, which I found very frustrating.
Did he know of something that we didn’t?????
The other couple with us had not seen a Gemsbok and all he wanted was to see one on the drive….would our guide please his customers???
All these unanswered questions!
Ja, so, NO! Just after leaving camp, we stopped at the big weaver’s nest,
but there was an eerie silence….”where are all the birds” asked I………”out scavenging….I mean foraging” was the answer. Oh boy, we were off to a good start! We were actually stopped there watching precisely nothing and getting no info either.
We eventually moved on with a little bit of prompting from yours truly and took our track. We had to do all the sighting, so there was the occasional “STOP – what is that?” from us, otherwise pretty much silence. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the silence of the bush and I now that you cannot guarantee animals, but if I am paying to do this, I would at least like some info as we go along.
The first critter we saw was a family of Meerkat, sprinting in the opposite direction. On seeing them, he was asked if it was a Meerkat or a Mongoose, the answer….Meerkat.
Now surely if somebody has asked then it would be a great time to tell them about the differences, the family structure, their habitat, food etc…….or so you would have thought!
Next was a Cape Fox hot footing it up the dune behind a bush – the tail, the only tell-tale sign to differentiate it from the BBJ, which we did also see.
Next, the SO who was sitting on the opposite side of the truck to me shouted STOP! It was a Cape Cobra standing with its hood up, but by the time we had come to a halt, it was slithering away and went under the truck and out the other side.
It was trying to go down different holes, probably looking for its home.
Our guide did find us a scorpion! Large pinchers, not very dangerous……
And got out at one stage and told us that the tracks he had seen were lion, but they were old! Great! If he wanted to find fresh ones, he should have gone…….Oh never mind!
On we trundled, spotting 2 Steenbok – he did tell us that they are solitary and if there are 2 that means that they are probably competing for territory or mating. A small herd of BWB and springbok were next on the shopping list, but still no Gemsbok!
It was dark and time for the spotlights before we made our way onto the Mata-Mata road and on towards Houmoed. Switch lights on……..
uummm, is the globe blown……
is there another switch I am supposed to press……the beam did not even shine 20 m, so unless the animals was standing on the road, we were not going to see it.
Wait, there is a second light, let’s try that one…….same problem! So needless to say, the rest of the drive was outstanding. At one stage I picked up eyes, but with the light being so bad you couldn’t make out what it was anyway. I thought AWC and he said Scrub Hare - if only we knew who was right.
Well I don’t know who he was SMSing, but as we turned from the M-M road back towards camp, all of a sudden, we had spotlights that were shining about 100 m into the bush! and when we got back to camp, one of the camp bakkies pulled up and asked if he got the lights to work! I was not impressed to say the least.
We returned to our chalet to find that the neighbours were having another party, they had taken our table AND our aircon was still not working!!!
It is safer that I now stop moaning
and just say that we had something to eat and headed for bed!