Four years and thousands of kilometers of bumpy dusty roads is a long time and a lot of pain between Cheetah sightings. But as they say, in Africa always expect the unexpected!
If you have ever driven the road between Letaba camp and Phalaborwa Gate in Kruger National Park you will know it’s not a road teeming with wildlife. In fact it has a reputation for being one of the deadest strips of tar in the whole park. So, it was a great surprise to us to see two splendid Cheetahs materialize out of the grass next to the road at Rhidonda Pan. I have to say we couldn’t have timed it better. The grass was long and they appeared just as we arrived. One minute earlier and we would have been over the hill and none the wiser.
But this is how it goes sometimes. You never know what your day is going to be like. No two days are the same. You leave camp every morning hoping for the best. Sometimes you have an amazing day of sightings, other times it’s nothing. And I mean nothing! The day we saw these Cheetah, was the same day we photographed the young leopard up the tree…and all on a road that does not have the best reputation for good sightings.
Anyway, if anyone knows us, they know “we”…meaning the Boss and me…are not dumb enough to look two gift Cheetah 3m from the car in the mouth and not fill a few memory cards. So we were both in action and the photos in this blog are a team effort!
Over the years we have heard many stories and seen many photos taken by others of Cheetah using the stone markers next to the road as vantage points. In this instance while one guy was busy scent marking the bushes the other was doing his business on top of the Rhidonda Pan marker.
After this the pair strolled down to an anthill and lolled around for a while surveying the pan before wandering down for a drink. After that they took up watch on an anthill on the far side of a the pan. All the while I was preying for Impala to come down for a drink. Sod’s law, when you don’t need them they are everywhere and when you need them to show their faces they are never around! I was perfectly positioned for a National Geographic moment with plenty of open ground to record the action., and they don’t show up. Bastards!!
Anyway, what a Cheetah sighting it was. It was definitely a sighting that will be hard to better. But the moral of the story is when you are in Kruger never underestimate what there is to see, even when there appears to be nothing to see!