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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.