Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rangers Report – August

What a fantastic month for sightings it’s been! The White Rhino have been plentiful, but we are still hoping for those elusive Black Rhino to make themselves seen. Isaac had a sighting of a young black rhino who was previously quite a common sight with us here at Rhino River. It seems like he is still up to his old tricks of coming right up to the vehicle and having a sniff, before trundling back into the bush again. He sure does make for an exciting drive!

Speaking of excitement, we had a camp full of guests and both Isaac and I were out doing drives. Isaac noticed an Impala carcass near one of our waterholes on a morning drive and promised his guests that they would return on the afternoon drive to check if anything had fed off it. During our afternoon drive, Isaac and I agreed that we would meet at the same spot for sundowners. My guests were relaxing around the dam with drinks in their hands when Isaacs vehicle pulled up in a cloud of dust and excitement.” Leopard! Leopard!” they were all shouting. Of course I just had to get in on the action and so Isaac and I chatted about their sighting and he gave me directions to the Impala carcass where it had been spotted. My guests all dropped their half-drunk drinks in haste to jump back on the vehicle and head out.
As we pulled up in the area where the carcass was, I briefed my guests and asked if we could be especially quiet while we pulled up to the carcass. Leopards are notoriously secretive and shy and the best way to approach them is by stealth. Looking towards the right where Isaac told us the carcass was we glanced around looking for any sign of movement and there it was. A beautiful young Leopard sitting on the bank of the river, looking over at us with much curiosity. We had about 3 full minutes with him before he disappeared off into the thicket. Once he had wondered off, the guests and I exhaled in unison. We had all been holding our breath in fear that the slightest noise or cough would chase him off. Well, greed got the better of us and we decided to drive around the block and see if we could possibly be lucky enough to glimpse him again. As we rounded the corner, approaching the carcass, there he was again! Walking along the bank but quickly picking up his pace once he heard our vehicle approaching. We managed to watch him trotting off and realised our ”Leopard Luck” had been used up.

There is plenty more cat excitement for us here at Rhino River, but I’ll save that story for next month...