The next morning the trail camera showed the civet had once again used the trail underneath the tent platform. After coffee and biscuit we were off on another game drive in the Karongwe area. Groups of Impala, male and female Nyala, Wildebest and Zebra raised their heads as we drove past.

Male Nyala in Karongwe


Male Nyala

Female Nyala


Female Nyala

Ground Hornbills who had spent the night roosting were silhouetted on a branch against the dawn sky. After some off road driving through the bush we found a male Lion noisily crunching on the remains of its latest kill, the bones of an Impala.

Lion crunching on an Impala


Lion crunching on an Impala

Only feet away from this male Lion.


Only feet away from this male Lion.

A  Lizard Buzzard gazed at us from the branches, whilst Egyptian Geese were waking up from their roost in a tree and a Jackal strolled in front of us on the track.

Lizard Buzzard


Lizard Buzzard

A Very Special Encounter

Suddenly the vehicle halted and the driver told us all to get out, we were going on a walk in the bush. Pushing aside branches and stepping over roots and tussocks of grass we walked silently in single file.  Our guide signaled to us to shelter behind trees and bushes as we approached a small clearing.

As we peered around the bushes, we could see on the ground in front of us were three Cheetahs. They were waking up  and were still covered in morning dew. The guide told us they were three brothers. Yawning and stretching two of them stood up and began to groom each other, licking the dew from the others’ fur. It was an unbelievable sight to be so close to such amazing creatures. Holding our breath, the only sound was of camera shutters. All three of the Cheetahs seemed indifferent to our presence and continued stretching, rolling over and grooming. Silently we backed off into the bush and made our way back to our vehicle. This was such a special experience, words can not describe how amazing it was.

Three Cheetah brothers


Three Cheetah brothers

Cheetah Stretching


Just Stretching

Cheetahs waking up


Cheetahs waking up

Cheetahs cat lick


Cat Lick

Open wide<


Open wide

Cheetah checking us out


Cheetah checking us out

Just taking forty winks


Cheetah just taking forty winks

Cheetah Portrait


Cheetah Portrait

Cheetahs


Just who are these people

More Cats

As we drove away, still in silence at what we had just seen, we wondered what could be next. Sheltering in thick undergrowth we could see movement.  We watched as a young Leopard cub, still wet with the morning dew, stepped out on the track behind us. A rustle in the bushes drew our attention and there staring at us was a second  Leopard cub. The cry of the Grey Lorie, the go away bird and the arrival of another vehicle, sent them scurrying into the bushes.

Young Leopard in Karongwe.


Young Leopard in Karongwe.

Leopard close up


Leopard close up

It was time to head back to camp after an amazing morning drive. After breakfast we walked through the camp to the water hole. Pods of Hippo wallowed in the water and clambered out on to the shore. Turtles sunned themselves on logs at the water’s edge and Thick Knees (Stone Curlews) prodded the muddy edges. A large Crocodile lay immobile on the shore. In a distant tree a Fish Eagle stood overlooking the waterhole. We walked back to the camp, passing a startled male Nyala and got ready for lunch.

Afternoon Drive

Thick Knee


Thick Knees / Stone Curlew

This afternoon was our last game drive in Karongwe, we soon encountered three elephants, hiding in the thick bush, these were a different group ones from the previous days at the waterhole. Including a huge Tusker with a set of massive tusks.

Female Elephants hiding in the thick bush


Female Elephants hiding in the thick bush

Tusker


Tusker

Tusker


Tusker moving us on

The driver caught sight of some movement and drove us off road. Ahead of us were  two rhino walking steadily through the bush. At a waterhole another two rhino  were standing at the water’s edge. Back once again on the track there was a flash of movement in the grass  and a female Leopard appeared and crossed the track behind us followed by the two cubs we had seen in the morning. Lilac Breasted Rollers, Grey Hornbills and Forked Tailed Drongos flew along beside us. As we drove along a troop of Baboons sat and watched and Vervet Monkeys alarm calls could be heard. 

Female Leopard crossing the track


Female Leopard crossing the track

One of the two Leopard cubs


One of the two Leopard cubs

Rhino road block


Rhino road block

White Rhino


White Rhino

White Rhinos at waterhole


White Rhinos at waterhole

As the sun set we headed back to the camp, spotting bush babies and chameleons in the torchlight amongst the leaves.

The trail camera was put out again and we got ready for the evening meal. After packing and a good night’s sleep we collected the trail camera. It had taken photographs of impala and nyala passing by the tent in the night. Unfortunately, it was time to leave Karongwe and Chisomo tented camp and head for the Kruger for our three nights stay at Imbali.

Cheetah on the lookout


Cheetah on the lookout

Karongwe – Imbali