No two days in the bush are ever the same. Sometimes there are joyous days … and then there are those very special days. Today was one of those extra special days –
It was a cold, windy, overcast, and very dull morning as we started out. We followed some leopard tracks for a while but they petered out. Just as we were deciding which way to go next we heard that Salayexe was close by.
We caught up with the beautiful young mother leopard and followed her for a short while until she disappeared into a dry river bed.
Our tracker decided to follow her and to guide us if he was able to keep up with her.
After very few minutes and as we waited anxiously he reported that he could see her, and expertly guided us to a good vantage point.
She had clambered into a crevice with rocks and bush on either side, and was sitting there keeping guard.
As we started taking photographs of her we heard sounds – then again. We listened carefully! Could we be wrong? What was that? The mewing sounds came again. We strained our ears … shhhhh! Surely not! And suddenly a tiny face appeared next to Salayexe. She was sitting at the entrance to her new den – and we had just seen one of her three week old cubs.
Words cannot describe how excited we were! Although we were not able to capture any images of the cubs, we sat there with broad grins in our faces as we heard the cubs calling again and again, and watched Salayexe interacting with her tiny family.
As you can imagine we remained there until it was time to return to the Lodge for breakfast, just enjoying the sights and sounds of this beautiful and very rare sighting.
This afternoon we returned to the hyena den and again enjoyed the pups as they tumbled around.
Suddenly the mother appeared and hustled the youngsters unceremoniously into the den – and equally suddenly there was no sign of any life or activity in the area.
On the way back to the Lodge we found a herd of elephants and after delaying with them for a while we moved on.
Giraffes were crossing the open airstrip in low light – giving us opportunities for shots with beautiful light in the background.
This evening we are still so keyed up and enthused about our encounter with Salayexe, we can hardly wait to set out again in the morning …