On an extremely brisk June morning, five groggy volunteers climbed into the game vehicle exhausted and eager to start the day. As we all drove with Katie, bundled up in layers to survive the wind, the sun slowly rose over the savanna till we finally reached the hyena den. Being Katie’s favourite animal, it was easy to hear appreciation in her voice for these magnificent animals. We’ve spotted 9 cubs total near the den and mostly watched a mother and her two cubs. “Brave from backup” Katie mentioned as these tiny fuzzy creatures crawled up to the car with a bit of side eye from the mother. We all watched as they rolled, fell and played with their siblings until we decided it was definitely past their bedtime and time for our breakfast. A few minutes later, we were at the lookout overseeing most of Pidwa south and Mikalali enjoying a few warm drinks and bread. A lovely start to a very eventful day.
Traveling back from the spotted hyena den, with a few travels struggling to keep their eyes open, Katie exclaimed there was a cheetah on the side of the road, just with a fresh kill! With about as much stealth as our roaring vehicle could muster, we crept up to the animal and watched as she panted, dragged her fresh juvenile impala into the bush, and call for her cubs. It was difficult to see after she moved the antelope into thick bush so we then decided it was time for lunch.
An absolutely delicious lunch was served, and it was time to venture out again into the bush to experiment with our skills in shooting. Against everyone’s’ expectations, the Americans did not get the best shots but it was still a load of fun practicing on the air strip. Complete with Katie’s bae showing us exactly what it takes to be at field guide levels, which apparently meant 4 but not 5 lions could be manageable. Ed picked us up, showed us an entire field of elephants (14 total) with a gorgeous fiery sun setting behind the mountains *cue lion king soundtrack*. Which lands us here, at the desk as a fire is being started up outside. It’s a braai tonight as the South African say it and a perfect way to wrap up an amazing day in the bush.