It’s been a month of drama and inspiration.
The drama was when we heard a ‘death cry’ from an area amid the lodge surroundings. This is a very distinctive and chilling noise an antelope makes when it is killed, and there’s no mistaking it. Staff members rushed to the area and were met on the pathway by a leopard carrying a male klipspringer in its jaws! It’s quite normal for leopards to prey on klipspringers but leopards are usually so shy of us and elusive, and this was ‘our’ klipspringer! Klipspringers are monogamous and a male and a female pair have been our lodge mascots for many years – always delighting guests and us by being in the lodge garden or perching on the rocky boulders like bronze statuettes. As the leopard’s crime was discovered it dropped the dead klipspringer and fled – it was probably so intent on a meal that it didn’t realise there were humans nearby. The female klipspringer was unharmed but she looks so bereft and will now need to go in search of a new life partner. The inspiration is art. So many scenes seem reminiscent of the works of great masters as well as modern artists, as this next story describes…Photography can be described as painting with light and I’m constantly intrigued by how light changes the mood of a scene, how it reminds me of great artworks and how it inspires me to be creative. I couldn’t help thinking of the vast canvases of the great master, the English Romantic painter, John Constable, when I saw this rhinoceros drinking. The way he captured light washing over idyllic country scenes and expansive cloudy skies in masterpieces like The Hay Wain immediately came to mind. Oh how I wish he’d seen the African landscapes we see!
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report July 2013
It’s so satisfying to feed off the excitement of guests seeing some of Africa’s wildlife for the first time, and this was no exception as we trundled down a track and they spotted a rhino. It turned out to be a black rhino which are known to be far more volatile in nature than white rhinos. This one, however, didn’t charge us or race off into the bushes a second later, instead it slowly circled around assessing us.
We left the lodge at the crack of dawn and thought we were the early birds, but other birds were already out there scouting about. As is the norm I announced my call sign over the radio, and got a response from Jenny telling me about the presence of a breeding herd of elephants on the Pamushana Access Road. On hearing this
The cheetah brothers came from of a litter of five cubs – three males and two females. Their mother was an amazing hunter and she managed to raise all five. When the time came the mother cheetah left her young ones to fend for themselves, and she went on to produce another litter. The cubs did very well for some months and the two females left the area as is normal to go and start their new life in new lands. The three males were fine for almost two and half years, but one morning we discovered that one of the boys was missing in action. There was no need to ask ourselves what happened because you could see the soulful bereft looks on the faces of the remaining two – they kept calling and calling for their brother until they realised there would never be an answer; their brother had died and they would never be a coalition of three again.
I decided to leave the lodge before sunrise at 5.15am. My plan was to drive directly south to Hwata Pan, to not pass Begin and not collect $200. Hwata Pan is an active waterhole due to it having permanent water in an otherwise dry area, and I wanted to see if I could find a nocturnal drinker. I was determined not to be distracted by anything else, and made good progress on the chilly drive as I glugged steamy sips of Zimbabwean coffee from my flask.