The Kgalagadi National Transfrontier Park should come with a standard warning – once that red sand gets under your feet, it’s tickets !
I was warned, I scoffed, I went – I admit that it was not love at first sight though, it took a good few days for the magic to work – and am now forever trapped in a cycle of longing….. On this particular morning, I had missed an early am sighting of a cheetah mom and her two sub adult cubs at Sitsa waterhole ( was sitting at a lion sighting just outside Mata Mata gates ) so later, when I saw mom and tots under a tree I decided to sit tight and wait. They would eventually move, not for a minute thinking sitting tight meant a 5 hour wait for some action 🙂 Hours and HOURS later, mom started walking and stalking….back to the shade of a tree, more stalking until she eventually changed track and approached from a lower angle, unseen by her prey until the last seconds. The stalking and chasing was hectically tense, lots of holding of breath on my side, the chase exciting and over in seconds, the actual kill far away and behind a dune – thankfully. Glad the cheetah caught her food, she sure worked hard for it, but also relieved not to have the kill sounds right up in my face – if you know what I mean….. All afternoon long, a bit of stalking and then back to the shade…. Oh my gosh, I think this is it….. a group of springbuck within relatively easy reach. From my angle I could see that she had changed tack to come lower into the river bed, the slight bank offering her some cover so as to get a lot closer before having to sprint towards her prey…so far so good, for cheetah – not so much for springbuck though 🙂 I could not believe that the springbuck had not seen her yet…incredible camo and stealth…. A quick glance to my left to see if my friend Brett Ellis ( who had also been parked nearby all day ) was awake and ready for the action – he was 🙂 SCRAMBLE ! Looking like she may picked the wrong buck….. She managed to single one out – the rest of the herd having dashed in the opposite direction – and the chase was on !
ERMIRGARD – where’d they GO ? !! THERE – and she’s got it…I think….. Heavily cropped as all this took place very far away – far enough away not to catch the desperate cries of the antelope but not too far away to miss the action 🙂 Raced back to where cubs were last seen waiting under a tree, hoping to see them respond to moms calls and move towards her kill. But they must have heard and known what just went down as they were already gone from under their tree.
By then our little sighting had spot had grown as more fellow Kgalagadi fans gathered to hear all about it from Brett and I. We could still juuuuust make out some movement in the distance as mom and cubs moved around the carcass…. flushed faces, cracked bottles, high fives and ginormous grins all over our faces…. unforgettable day in the most amazing
Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park !