A Dead Springbok Puzzle – Solved …

Jackie’s Report from Ta Sebube Lodge on the Kgalagadi Photo Safari:

When we left early in the morning, our very first sighting was a lioness. She could not be more exposed because she was perched on top of one of the signposts that direct visitors to the different campsites and lodges.

She remained up on her raised little platform for quite some time and wow, we took every opportunity to photograph her from different angles. She proved to be as cooperative as a professional model and we took advantage of her position and willingness to be our first subject of the day.

There were two very boisterous and playful young male lions close by. They were drinking, and our cameras were as busy with them. When they finished drinking the three lions set off together. We followed them as they made their way in search of prey. They were in hunting mode, and we stuck with them until they went off to the top of one of the dunes where we lost them.

We carried on a game drive – and came across a rather unusual sight. A dead springbok. That in itself would not be remarkable, but there were no predators in sight, and we could not see any bite marks on the animal. We speculated for a while, and Dawie suggested that the springbok may have been the victim of a Caracal attack. However, we could not confirm this, and as there was no current action, we continued on our way.

We took a slow, meandering trip to the Lodge. We photographed plenty of Gemsbok and baby Springbok with their moms.

We saw a shape under a tree and as we came closer we saw that it was a Cheetah. We saw a Springbok very close to the cat, and we waited to see if she would become more interested in its activities. But the cheetah ignored the Springbok and after waiting for quite a while we gave up and returned to the Lodge for a delicious and very welcome brunch and a quick rest.

Our afternoon drive started with a quick check on where we had seen the cheetah, but she had left the area.

We moved on to check on the dead Springbok, and as we approached we saw something lurking behind a small tree a meter or so behind the carcass. We identified the unmistakable ears of a Caracal – but it was far to shy to reveal itself, especially as there were other vehicles also gazing in puzzlement at the unattended carcass.

Because the Caracal was so skittish we decided to leave and planned to return later when hopefully there would be fewer reasons for the Caracal to be so anxious.

As we drove along we saw a leopard lying on top of one of the red dunes. From there he overlooked a large area. It was a beautiful sighting, and our photographs turned out well.

When we returned to the springbok remains before sunset we found a Black-backed Jackal feeding on the carcass. The jackal approached cautiously at first, not sure what was going on. Then he realised that his Christmas had arrived and he got stuck in.

Boy, did he enjoy that meal, and he managed to feed for quite a while. Suddenly he looked up in fright, and darted away in seconds. The Caracal approached! We were quite ecstatic when the Caracal arrived, and when it jumped right onto the dead Springbok we were beyond excitement! What a sighting! The Caracal settled down to feed and we watched until sunset signalled that our time to return to Lodge had arrived.

Everyone is so thrilled that we decided to persevere and to return to the carcass – and that Dawie had been correct. We were rewarded with a simply amazing sighting and fabulous photos to treasure.

Wow, after a day like that – could tomorrow also be as wonderful? …