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penolva

this is a quickly edited compilation of the leopard with the impala - if you listen carefully, you can hear the bones crushing under his teeth

 

 

 

Lovely leopard. That other vehicle got very close!
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this is a quickly edited compilation of the leopard with the impala - if you listen carefully, you can hear the bones crushing under his teeth

 

 

Lovely leopard. That other vehicle got very close!

 

 

Mashatu does allow off road driving

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thursday afternoon - no good deed goes unpunished

 

We found the fourth leopard on this fourth day of my trip - a young cat which was carrying a dead guinea fowl in its mouth. Richard, our guide, assumed that she was a female known to have two cubs and that she was bringing them the bird to feed on. We followed the leopard through some deep sand until until half an hour later she finally disappeared in the bush. By that time quite a few other cars had arrived and so we stayed behind, opting to have our sundowner first and then return, hopefully to catch a glimpse of the cubs. What followed is called

 

No good deed goes unpunished

 

in my video diary. At about 6:30 pm we were back at the scene. All but one car had already left, however, this guide had indeed found the two cubs. Unfortunately they were down in a hollow, hidden by thick grass - we hardly saw anything, unlike the car in front of us which stood in prime position. Patiently we waited...and waited...and waited...finally Richard, who by the way is also the senior guide at Mashatu, kindly asked his colleague to give us a chance, too but this guy simply did not react. Another 15 minutes later Richard urged us to head back to camp which irritated me even more (I discussed this part of Mashatu's rules and regulations in another thread - "scheduled endings of game drives"). Back at camp I told Monty, the manager, how angry I was about the behaviour of the other guide - I mean, even in Kenya where each and every mini bus driver is a lone fighter the guides respect each other and share sightings, here at Mashatu they live together! And it was us who had spotted the leopard in the first place. Had we behaved like this jerk, kept the sighting to ourselves, they would not have seen it all!

 

oh, by the way: on our drive back to camp we had yet another leopard sighting - the other young female had left her impala kill and was now out to hunt again

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
Atravelynn

I would guess there were some harsh words back in the guide quarters. I am surprised at this behavior at Mashatu.

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Super LEEDS

What did Monty have to say, ice? Share your anger.

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well, he did not say too much but of course he assured he'd have a word with the guide..not sure about the outcome because the following day we had a new guide as well

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  • 2 months later...

As I am (after almost five months) just about to finish editing my 5 hour plus video diary of our March / April trip to Botswana and South Africa, I thought I might as well try to wrap up this report. Please do not expect that much writing any more but of course do feel free to ask if there is anything you'd like to know.

 

Friday Morning Drive

 

First we visited a hyena den (though the cubs stayed hidden), later we came across this scene: Two different hyena clans were trying to take over the carcass of a male giraffe which had died the night before after a collision with a power pole (the pole did not "survive", either). Richard, our guide, assumed that the giraffe had fallen down in the territory of the smaller clan, a possible explanation as to why the second clan (with ten adults much bigger), was nevertheless very nervous and started to retreat whenever the other clan came forward again. During our 45 minute stay we observed this "back and forth" behaviour three times.

 

 

btw: I don't know what youtube does with their uploads - my original file was filmed (and edited) in 1080p quality, display is in 360p only - horrible

Edited by ice
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Actually it looks really good at a small size embedded like this... some consolation for you.

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@@ice, I am able to change the setting to 1080p by clicking on the settings cog wheel icon...stunning video at that resolution!

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Later that morning we returned to the camel thron tree to once again quietely observe the female leopard with what little was left of her impala kill. Other sightings included the lionesses which had taken over their younger sisters and brothers from their own mothers and now raised them as if they were their own offspring plus a small herd of elephants.

 

Mashatu prides itself for having the biggest elephant herd on private land. Not sure if this is true (and not sure if I care) but what surprised me is that the number of elephants which have indeed two fully grown tusks is rapidly decreasing, at least in this part of Africa, most adult individuals we saw had none or only one tusk.

 

 

I have done some research and it seems as if similiar changes are observed in other parks and countries as well: in QEP in Uganda the number of crippled elephants increased from just from just 1% in 1930 to now 15% among cows and 9% among bulls, in North Luangwa it even rose to 38%, according to the National Wildlife Federation. Seems like scientists are fighting over possible explanations, some even suggest it is mother nature's way to react to the imminant fear of being eradicated as a species.

 

After a quick lunch it was time to say good bye to Mashatu. Monty, the camp manager, drove me back to the Limpopo River which I crossed back into South Africa. From Pont Drift I drove south to Jo'burg where I spent the night in a nice B&B near the airport.

 

Saturday March 23

 

Around 1 pm my wife and our daughter flew in via Paris. We quickly left Jo'burg, heading west to KTP, roughly 1.100 km away. For the night we stopped at yet another B&B, this one in Vryburg, about half way between Jo'burg and Upington.

 

Sunday March 24

 

My original plan was to leisurely drive to Upington, stock up on supplies there, have a final "proper" lunch at a nice restaurant and then complete the journey at Twee Rivieren, hopefully early afternoon. However, due to some misleading detour signs we missed a turn which we did not notice until some 60 km and three long construction sites stops later. In the end we arrived at TR two hours later than I had hoped for, with barely enough time for a game drive. Nevertheless, we headed out in north westerly direction, driving over the dunes to the Auob River Road - and were rewarded with one of my best safari sightings ever

 

 

If you look carefully you can see that the capre cobra has already swallowed three fourths of the puff adder which leads me to believe that she must have begun her meal at least half an hour before we arrived at the scene. The venom of the cape cobra is said to be extremely toxic and yet the tail of the puff adder was still moving (and it did not look like muscle spasms of an otherwise dead animal) - truly amazing. Unfortunately we could not wait to witness the copra finish the adder off, we had to head back to camp before gate closing time.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Atravelynn

I would agree the puff adder had not expired based on the movements of the tail. Hopefully id it did die soon. Really fascinating. I have 4 sisters-in-law who would need smelling salts if they saw this clip. Really. I wonder how the cobra caught the puff adder. Maybe the puff adder was preoccupied with its own prey at the time. Some fascinating stuff!

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@@Atravelynn

 

from what I heard cape cobras regularly kill puff adders (and snakes) - makes sense, they are probably the easiest prey to be swallowed down

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Ice - I don't know how I missed this report the first time around - Great video and terrific luck seeing leopards each day. Is this typical of Mashatu?

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@@lillipets @@PT123

 

I've only been to Mashatu once but I agree, from what I heard from others, leopards are indeed regularly spotted, perhaps not as often and as long as close as we did but still

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