Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day Thirteen: August 22: Mala Mala Day Three:

Today was probably the best day of our trip to date. We started out looking for leopard tracks. Within about 15 or 20 minutes Peter; our guide found the leopard tracks of a mother and four month old son. We followed them around and drove in circles for an hour and a half looking for them when we got a call that there was a large male leopard near the river. Reluctantly we went only because the light was good and this was a sure thing. On our way there we saw a herd of impala drinking at the river and noticed two crocodiles on the bank. After a couple minutes the crocks slipped into the water. About 15 minutes later the crocks surged up from the water in an attempt to get a meal, but they hit one another as they were lunging and the antelope took off. 

We made our way to the leopard and after photographing the male for a bit and having a quick breakfast Peter casually announced that they found the leopard mom and cub. I thought he was kidding. He mentioned that they are in thick brush so the sighting isn’t good, but we’ll go take a look. On our way there we stopped to photograph a small pride of lions with two 5 month old andtwo 6 week old cubs and two adult lionesses. A few minutes later we decided to move on to the leopards. When we got there the sighting was poor. The mom and cub were hidden under some brush eating a bush buck baby. To make a long story short, a herd of elephants came in, the cub got scared and he scurried up a tree while his mom slept in the shade about twenty feet away. The cub stared down at us and posed and slept on and off for hours. We didn’t come back for lunch so while everyone was eating we had this sighting completely to ourselves. It was probably the cutest sighting I have seen in the wild. No interaction between siblings, no action, no affection with mom, just pure cuteness.

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