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  • David Bough

A trip away and a special day.

A trip away and a special day.

Occasionally it’s nice to explore other reserves and late last year I had the chance to visit Pilanesberg with the David and Jacqueline Steynfaardt, my first time camping in Africa. More of that later.

I’d been once before but unfortunately only for day trips. It’s a stunningly pretty reserve with wonderful birding and a great opportunity to see species such as the Brown Hyena who aren’t indigenous to the Kruger.

Early December was hot, very hot and we decided to break the days up to avoid the heat of the day. The first few days were fantastic. We bumped int Raine and her cubs most days, some great lion sightings, a leopard and my first close encounter with a Brown Hyena; an animal I’d always wanted to see close up.

We had been in the park for three or four days and Jacqueline suggested we try some of the roads I’d not been on before. It’s always lovely to explore parts of a reserve you’ve not had the chance to visit before and Pilanesberg is a treat to drive even when the sightings are a little scarce.

After a couple of hours Jacqueline suggested we take the Madutle Loop. A stunning road that heads round the western section of the reserve. We chat laught as we always do when we get the chance to be in the bush. Then as we reach the highest part of the loop, with the sun in front of us, we spot something in the road…..

Before my brain computed what stood staring back at us from the middle of the road Jacqueline announced our find…a Caracal.

A dream come true.

So we stared at the Caracal, he/she, stood in the road and stared back at us for a couple of minutes, crouched and headed slowly toward the bush stopping by the side of the road for another look at the car full of excited humans before walking into the bush.

We watched her walk through the bush, so hard to see on occasion but David’s excellent driving and Jacquelines tracking skills saved the day yet again.

For about 10 to 15 mins we watched as she watched us before we lost her. Exhilarating.

Then david saw a flash in the rear view mirror. She had looped behind us and crossed the road. She had a chance to glimpse a few last sightings of her before she melted into the bush for good.

For me this was one animal I thought I’d never have the chance to see in the wild.

What a blessing to have this wonderful animal all to ourselves for such a long time. It seems my luck keeps on turning up trumps.

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