Leopards and AfriCat

Early riser tea and muffins before we headed out aboard game viewing jeeps to explore Okonjima. We have four local guides : Previous, Peter, Gideon and Martin. We’re off to find wildlife with a special interest of tracking leopards! Okonjima’s leopards roam freely and catch their own prey within the 50,000 acre private nature reserve. Some are radio-collared to allow for regular monitoring of their well-being, and we hope to track them via their radio signal. Our local guides have radio receivers and it’s not long before we hear the feint beep of a leopard called MJ. We follow the beep and it becomes obvious MJ is heading up a mountainside! Not easy to follow in game viewing vehicles but we hang on and do our best! Some of us catch a quick glance of MJ as she walks through dense bush but it’s impossible to follow her.

We continue our search and pick up more beeps but our new leopards are also in thick thorny bush habitat. However we don’t give up. Some guests see a leopard called Lila and we’re all finally rewarded with a clear sighting of a beautiful leopard called Shanti. She is sitting in a sandy dip but occasionally pops out to stretch legs and doesn’t seem at all bothered about us.

A huge breakfast/brunch greets us on our return to the Plains Camp Barn. Bushmen’s omelettes are popular! These are essentially an enormous omelette with everything inside!  

A siesta to follow and this afternoon we re-group for afternoon tea and cake before joining our guides to visit the AfriCat Foundation offices and clinic. Here we learn about the work of the AfriCat charity and how it has evolved over the years. This is followed by the treat of a close up view of three cheetahs in a rehabilitation enclosure. Cameras are busy!

This evening we get together in the barn for a pre-dinner drink we re-named the “sun-gone-downer”. We recount the day’s highlights and raise a glass to Sir David Attenborough’s 90th Birthday.