In my opinion, the most beautiful time of the day is just when the sun is coming up, over the horizon, when the world is waking up to the first rays of sunshine. I haven’t been at Kapama long, but even the sleepiest guests seem to appreciate the colours that the sun paints over the bush.
We drive through the bush, and guests are so excited at every animal we pass. One of my most memorable drives to date has to be when we came across a large herd of buffalo. I really enjoy watching these animals, who in turn watch us as we take photographs of their magnificent horns and visiting ox-peckers. As my guests were in awe of just how massive the herd was (it just seemed to keep growing and growing with every turn we made), my tracker, Alfie, suddenly told me to stop and reverse. He had spotted something in the tree, just above some very curious buffalo. As we followed their gaze, we spotted Alfie’s favourite (and the one of the most notoriously difficult to find) animals – a leopard. Every time we see one of these precious animals, he gets just as excited as the guests do (admittedly, so do I, but he is like a child who has just been given a chocolate bar). The leopard didn’t seem too bothered by the rather large beasts below her, and was more concerned with her catch of the day – a young warthog that she had dragged up the tree.
As we watched her, she suddenly became quite anxious, and decided to make a break for it. With cameras clicking, and flashes flashing, down the tree this beautiful animal came, and ran away faster than we could keep up! At the same time, the buffalo had gotten such a fright that they bolted in the opposite direction… Quite a wonderful site – like a mini great migration with buffalo, instead of wildebeest! We decided to keep track of the leopard instead, who we eventually tracked down, laying flat under a tree. Her meal long forgotten, she paid us no mind as she dozed sleepily. My guests were ecstatic! They had never chased an animal through the bush and after a round of applause for Alfie and his keen eyes, they tried to get me to follow some wandering impala through a Knobthorn thicket.
We wound down with some coffee before heading back, and there was much excitement and big smiles as the guests compared photos.
As we drove through the now well-lit bush, my eyes took in all the different colours of the trees, grasses, animals and birds that seemed to look brighter and more alive with every passing moment, and with every ray of sunshine that covered them. Everyday, I wake up and remember just how lucky we are because we live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
Story by Angie (River Lodge)