NAME: CHANTEL VAN DER LINDE
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CURRENT COMPANY: Ranger Diaries
Working as a guide for Jenman African Safaris for many years now, it is always one of my goals on each trip that my guests see a good amount of wildlife on safari. Sometimes we are lucky and see many species in one day… other times we only see one or two, and occasionally it’s so quiet that we see nothing, and just have to try again the following day. And then there are those occasions that you see everything and more – those days only come once in a while.
Morning game drives usually start early. On this particular day, it was a very cold August day and we were driving in an open game drive vehicle, as part of our Botswana Lodge Explorer safari. It really is a magical way to experience the bush, and this particular area of Botswana (a strip adjacent to the famous Moremi game reserve, headed for the Khwai community concession area) tends to be especially good for viewing game.
The first sign that this would be a special day came when we spotted an African wild cat! A rare find in the bush, this animal is quite a treat to see in its natural surroundings. The next hour was filled with animal sightings of impala, warthog, giraffe and hippo. We saw many small antelope species called the Steenbuck; the Steenbuck have large ears like radars which they use to pick up danger.
A short while later, as we were approaching the river, a leopard came down for a drink! We moved on about a kilometre and found 6 lions; 2 females and 4 cubs. After spending some time watching them we carried on... We had barely gone 500 meters when we heard a kudu give an alarm call. We stopped and looked around and after a few seconds we spotted a hyena, which are also quite rare to see. Added to this we saw wildebeest, kudu, zebra, crocodile, mongoose and multiple bird species – I think if we sum it up it was quite a spectacular day.
It would not really be fair to count the porcupine, cheetah or honey badgers as we did not see them until the next day. But all considered, this safari was really special, the sightings were amazing, and we had the best luck with everything along the way. As a guide sometimes I get exactly what I hope for.....