Wrapping up an amazing year we decided it only fitting that for our last Newsletter for 2016 that we include some of our favorite and most exciting sightings from our guides during this year.
When the sun rises and goes down it is pretty much a normal phenomenon, a daily occurrence that often goes by without too much thought. Something that I have come to realize as a Nature guide is that we often take the amazing things we see every day for granted. Most people dream to live the life that guides live. On this particular morning though I was reminded just how lucky we are to live where we live. It wasn’t a particularly fruitful morning but that all changed when I heard there was a sighting of cheetah not too far away from me. Before I could get there though the cheetah had moved off into the bush and the guys could no longer see them. I hadn’t seen cheetah for a while so I pushed on and went to see if I could find them. I was rewarded with an amazing sighting of the cheetah but then to top it all off she had brought her tiny cubs out and was letting them dry off after the rain. The little guys were still so young and small and looked very much like the bad tempered Honey Badger, a sure fire way of cheetah cubs defending themselves against the big bad world out there. An absolutely amazing sighting and one that will stick with me for many years to come and im sure my guests will remember it too.
Being a nature guide must be one of the most rewarding jobs on planet Earth. You get up early every morning and watch the sunrise. You get to see amazing animals every day, see incredible sightings and meet some incredible people!
One Morning after a long drive of mostly plains game I was headed back to the lodge slowly ambling along and enjoying the opportunity to stop and chat about the smaller things in the bush. We sat looking at a dung beetle on this morning when one of the guests exclaimed from the back that he was sure he saw a lion. With everybody now scanning for this lion I managed to find her and it turned out to be a lioness and she was stalking a Warthog. “There was a very good chance we were going to witness a kill this morning.” …..my words were barely out of my mouth when the lioness made a mad dash for the warthog and grabbed it. The commotion of the hunt brought the cubs out of their hiding spot to come and join their mother. Unfortunately the commotion also caught the attention of a neighboring pride that just happened to be in the area. 2 Lionesses and 5 cubs came ambling in to try and steal some warthog for breakfast. The single mother was unfortunately over powered but she put up a valiant effort in trying to persuade these other two lionesses to leave her be. Unfortunately for her whilst doing this, the warthog that had been shaming death, jumped up and fled for his life. She chased the fleeing warthog but to no avail he was gone. Dejected and irritated at losing her meal an all out battle ensued the sounds of which will ring in my ears for years to come. Even the antelope on top of the hills stopped to watch the spectacle unfolding the valley below. Along came one of the big territorial males who stood in between the ladies and got them to calm down and stop ripping into each other. An uneasy peace followed with both prides of lions laying a short distance away from each other keeping an eye on the opposite pride.
My guests were thrilled when they heard the news that I was going to go look for the elephants on our afternoon game drive. However I warned them that success was by no means guaranteed as elephants are faster than you would think and are extremely elusive, they are not known as the 'Grey ghosts of the bush' for nothing. After a long drive north I spotted them far off in the distance but sadly they were far from any roads and it appeared that they were going into a big block of ground with absolutely no roads in it. With the typical Zululand heat I sat and watched, as they seemed destined to disappear into the bush, such a disappointment. Suddenly and for no explainable reason they did a 180-degree turn and started heading in our direction! What luck! I was thrilled. Eventually patience paid off and they came in close viewing distance to the vehicle and fed all around us. As they moved off we followed them down to a waterhole and there we sat and witnessed the comedy that is elephants drinking. To my surprise they then started to enter the water and before we knew it the whole herd were swimming in the waterhole, the whole herd of about 29 were splashing about and having the time of their lives with only heads and trunks sticking out. If things couldn't get any better a small pride of lions arrived to see what all the commotion was about, they were joined by a journey of giraffe. Here we all sat giraffe, lions and humans fixated in amazement as the elephants continued their horseplay and frolicking like only an elephant can. Eventually it got so dark we could no longer see them and then decided to head home.
This by far was the highlight of my year in regards to sightings and no doubt an experience my guests will always remember and cherish!!
Allow yourself an indulgent pampering while you unwind in the tranquil setting that is Leopard Mountain Lodge.
Really experience Africa being professionally guided through Big5 territory, within a pristine endangered species reserve.
Join this intimate encounter with Rambo, Rachael and Jabulani, Learning about their history, enjoy touching and feeding these majestic giants.
Relax, unwind and rejuvenate under the African skies