Well, this morning we are determined to get to the leopard cubs first so we are at the gate at 5am with no one in sight. Twenty minutes later another car draws up behind us and then the usual line forms. It is a beautiful sunny day so what could go wrong?
At 6am we are out of our starting blocks, turn northward (H1-4) and settle on my GPS calibrated 50Kph. In the morning gloom I note the car second in the queue following closely behind. He suddenly and unexpectedly pulls out and overtakes at speed and despite me putting the brights on him he rapidly pulls ahead. By the time that we reach the Gudzani East (S90) turnoff his taillights are distant specks far ahead indicating that he must be travelling at about 80kph. And I know very well where his destination lies.
After travelling at a steady 50kph we turn onto the leopard road and at the leopards, there is our speedster in the exact spot where we were headed. A little investigation shows that there is only room for one car able see the entrance to the den through the bushes – and this swine has it. I draw along side, roll down the window and bollock him. He turns out to be a Frenchman by himself and in very broken English he tells me that he was only doing 50kph – which is too much for me as we both berate him. I threaten to report him and try to take a photo of him but he cowers down in his seat turning his face away but……….. he refuses point blank to give up his spot. This is all witnessed by a third car who find the whole spectacle quite amusing. Anyway, we move off some twenty meters from where we cannot see the den opening but can see a portion of the stream bank.
However, God works in mysterious ways. We have only just settled when we see movement in the bush away from the den and two cubs come sliding down our bank and I manage some photos.
They scuttle back up and in the thick bush we can see them together with their mother. At one stage an ellie passes and one cub darts into its den but with such haste that I doubt that our Frenchie even saw him. And there we sit until 9.30am when the light deteriorates and we decide to leave. Not before drawing level with this vile Frenchman and giving him a final salvo.
Whilst waiting for our cubs two Brown-hooded Kingfishers were very active in the stream bed.
The trip back to Satara is just tremendous with ostrich, ellies and so many other things of interest.
Back in camp Renette speaks to another camper and tells her about our sighting of the leopard. Without any prompting she tells Renette she was there yesterday but that “ a Frenchman” was parked all day at THE spot and wouldn’t allow anyone else a turn. With his English suddenly improved he told everyone “I am from France and I am not moving”. That means that for two days he has sat at that spot refusing others a turn. I cannot ever remember coming across a more selfish, inconsiderate person in Kruger.
So we finally have to tear ourselves away from Satara. We pack up and rapidly make the trip through to Pretoriuskop with no stops at all along the way. Pretoriuskop does have nostalgic appeal because it was here in 1958 that I made my first visit to Kruger. It is a very homely camp and I am looking forward to the four days that we will be spending here. The campsite is a bit haphazard and we are just starting to complain about a lack of a decent site when we find a brilliant one down next to the fence.
It is warm tonight and despite it being June and mid-winter I am walking about without a shirt on. The good life continues.