Thank you once again folks...glad to be able to provide some eye candy for you Day 4:
So Gertie (mom) used the vehicles, stalked over to the main road and disappeared behind the small dune on the Namibian side of the road (location: Craig Lockhart).
The cubs got in one more boisterous sequence before following after her.
What followed can only be described as a photographic disaster and one of the most exciting, yet frustrating at the same time, sightings I have ever had.
The springbok herd that we knew Gertie had been eye-balling the whole morning was further South, just a few hundred meters or so. She had slinked away behind the small dune, so we had no idea where she would come over the dune, and in which direction the antelopes would scatter once they detect her. Add to that the fact that I had to try and shoot out of the driver window of my SUV, and I had some key choices to make.
I decided to gamble on the chance that the antelopes would get a fright and scatter North, with her following. They were facing pretty much both ways if you compared members of the herd. I had to turn around my SUV and park alongside the riverbed so I could follow the fast action with my lens.
And then it happened. She appeared over the dune...behind my SUV...aiming South! I had made the wrong choice.
Within seconds she had started sprinting, came right past our rear-end and chased the herd downriver. I had to reverse all the way to see this...
She had taken down a young fawn in the middle of the riverbed
. After making sure it was dead, she dragged it into the shade on the far end of the riverbed. She was now about 1km from the cubs...
I went back to where they were sitting next to the road on top of the dune she used to stalk the herd.
When we left her she had started to call them using that high-pitched squeal that cheetahs utter. When I reached the cubs they were wondering where she was, and were also calling.
Soon, they heard her calls, and rushed to get to their breakfast nook for the day...
By now the sighting was becoming crowded...it was also at this point that catydownunder appeared, and I quickly filled them in on the details of the sighting. SO was also feeling a little woozy again, so we decided to make our way back to Mata-Mata slowly. Nothing we see now was going to top this sighting...and the light would get harsh for photos soon.
On the way back - not 2km from Craig Lockhart - look what we saw in a shady patch...
Cheetah Fest continues! This one was also watching some springbok attentively...but after a while lied down and we couldn't see it anymore. We decided to head back to camp.
One last sighting for the morning - a Secretary Bird. I shot this through some very long grass and liked the 'feel' of the shot.
We got back to camp, and enjoyed lazing around the rest of the day - having a swim was necessary in this heat!
Rest assured, that although this was probably the best cheetah sighting of the trip, it wasn't the only one and it wasn't the only epic one....much more Cheetah Fest goodness to come...
So get some more
Who knows what this afternoon's drive will bring?
I can tell you it was more kitties...but not cheetahs...