Friday, 15th June DAY 29

We do not feel that we have given that jewel of a road, Sweni (S126), a fair trial on this trip. So on a clear, still morning to set out at 6am and at 6.15am find ourselves first on the Sweni road – but the sun only rises at 6.35am and we don’t want to miss the beautiful first part of Sweni bathed in the first rays of the sun. We therefore have coffee and sadly watch two cars sweep by but we have long learnt to disregard them. Leopards can go walkabouts at any time – as we are so spectacularly to learn.

But first we see some waterbuck – always a picture in the early light.

Some 3-4Km before Welverdiend water trough the road goes through some spruits where the veld is well wooded and Renette sees a leopard ahead on the road with a cub.

Now this is scene one always dreams about – this magnificent animal on the road catching the first rays of the sun. The cub gives us a lovely show but the mother is typically a little diffident and aloof.

But I do manage to get a few good shots which makes me very happy. All by ourselves we follow them for about 20 minutes as they wander along the road. Eventually both veer off into the bush and are lost to view. We were in the right place at the right time and were the only ones to see this incredible spectacle.

A minibus comes along from behind us and I am mightily impressed to find that the young driver was busy tracking the spoor at the side of the road and knew exactly what he was looking for. But too late, today was our day – for a change.

After the thrill of the leopards it is rather unfair that these Double-banded Sandgrouse come as a bit of an anti-climax. But that morning light does wonders to photographs.

Back at camp we catch our breath before Warren arrives. He is meeting Singita guests at 12 noon and spends half an hour or so with us.

We take the main tarred road north (H1-4) for our evening drive and as usual it is full of interest. What a wonderful day.