After a busy day’s counting general Game, we got a fleeting view of another leopard after Stuart spotted fresh tracks at a koppie: he got out to follow the tracks whilst I drove the Landcruiser with students around the other side to see what we could see…as I drove, the leopard crossed the track and disappeared into the bush….shame was, I was the only person not to see it as I was concentrating on driving!
We also came across a male lion lying at a road junction!! – There’s never been a male lion in Tuli before!! we stopped about 50m from it and waited, eventually after a minute or so, the lion got up, stretched and then started walking along the road towards us!…he got within 5m of the front of the car, before turning off the road and coming to us from the side.
He walked to within 6 or 7m of us, then lay down and stared at us for a while – with big yellow eyes that don’t seem to give anything away…strange really. Then he yawned got up and turned his back on us as if the photo shoot was over. We took the hint and drove off to leave him in peace. Sadly we haven’t seen hide nor mane of him since.
I sat with Stuart one Sunday afternoon and fixed the CD player which wasn’t giving full volume correctly – reason being, Stuart had made a CD of hyena and lion calls which we wanted to play at night to attract the animals. Anyhoo, we drove to Lekkerpoet one night and sat at the ‘pans’ (flats) and started playing the CD. Within a few minutes of this we had one hyena wandering around us – but at a distance – and lots of jackal coming to see what the noise was all about. Unfortunately, at this point the CD burst into flames!!! (Which explained the damage seen previously inside the player) and flattened the battery in the process! So after ripping the CD player out, we had to jump out of the car and push start it to drive out of danger!!!…MAD!!!
15 minutes or so later, we had hooked up a laptop thru the home hifi we had taken along and played the calls through that (speakers standing on the roof of the car!) within 10 minutes, we had 2 hyena right next to the car and got some great shots of it (at this stage I was out of the car, standing on the running boards to get the shots) LUSH!!
Finally this week we were returning from an unsuccessful night drive around Lekkerpoet, when we spotted an Aardwolf crossing the road in front of us! Again, this is a first for Tuli…we got a great view to as it raised its mane and snarled at us before disappearing into the bush!
Written by: Chuggy Charles, England