We took a full day trip – all the way to Mata Mata and back. To do this comfortably we left the Lodge just after 0530 and returned twelve hours later … and the full day was worth every moment.
Almost our first sighting was a magnificent male lion. He was at a waterhole and with the beauty of the red dunes as a backdrop, the scene was stupendous. We remained with him until he disappeared into the far distance.
We continued on the Dune Road as far as the Auob River. We stopped to photograph Meerkats with early morning back-lighting. That really worked out well. The baby Meerkats played with scorpions and other insects while their mothers watched carefully to ensure that they were not getting into harm.
We were very lucky again with our next sighting. A Cheetah mother was accompanied by her subadult cub. The young one is almost old enough to be independent, but still has not ventured away from mom. The two were very playful and chased any nearby animals around.
They were not really hunting seriously – they were just having fun as they hurtled after Gemsbok and then chased each other. The cub jumped on his mother, and we could almost imagine their laughter as they tumbled and raced around.
To our surprise we bumped into another Cheetah a little further along the road. She had two cubs with her. They were also in hunting mode but their approach was more serious. It was really tense and exciting. The cats approached a Springbok herd stealthily, but the Springbok noticed them after a short while and they scattered. When the Cheetahs went to lie down we decided to continue on our way to Mata Mata for lunch and to check on the Cheetahs on the way back.
After a very enjoyable break and lunch we started back down the road to the Cheetahs. Unfortunately we heard that they had made a kill while we were away, so we missed the drama of the actual kill. We caught up with them and found them lying next to the kill. The cats had not started to feed yet, and we waited until they finished their rest and checked the area before they took their first bite. The mother was first, and she then gave the cubs each a turn to feed.
We continued on our way and saw plenty of Plains animals again. We stopped now and again when the animals were in a perfect position for outstanding images.
And then unbelievably we found yet another Cheetah – and yes, Cheetah sighting number three was accompanied by three Cubs! They lay on a dune and watched us from their lofty position. It was a lovely sighting and the four Cheetahs looked wonderful on that dune.
We arrived back at the Lodge tired and very pleased with the events of the day and with the fabulous memories and photos that we have …
And tomorrow we would like to see if that male lion is still hanging around …