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Stories to remember: Spot and the Flats

Inspired by yapman, this entry is about our pursuit of a leopard sighting.  Savuti presented us with a fine large pride of lions.Lions were everywhere, never a good omen for leopards as they don't necessarily get on. While we were looking for leopards, I found myself trying to compose a poem in my head for them:

Who is this walking with light and shadow?
This is Spot, Daughter of the Sun
Guardian of Evening.
Her royal cousin
holds banquet for all the court and hangers-on.
But Spot's company is quiet,
seeking only the rocks,
a full moon,
a lone tree.


My attempts never made proper sense; I realised I was unconsciously emulating Solomon's Song of Songs. And when we found Spot, all words seemed petty and absurd.

We saw no leopards in Savuti, though the rocky scrublands suited them so well, nor had Chobe presented us with any glimpses. A radio message gave our guide some hope but also trepidation: there had been a leopard sighting out of the national parks and in tribal lands for which he would need a permit. What was he to do? We were keen and he was keen, but we didn't want to lose him his job or offend anybody. The solution was worked out; if anyone asked, the car-sick member of the party in the front seat was being rushed to the nearest airfield to get to a hospital because of suspected appendicitis. Thus armed with apologies and excuses, in we went.

The place was not entirely empty. We found one vehicle thoroughly stuck having a flat tyre and two spares, but no spanner, a strange oversight from their guide. We stopped by them and tried to help, but we didn't have the right kind of spanner either. They would have to radio for help. The next one we found was a family self-drive, stationary while a young boy pretended to surf on top of the car; 'I have been tracking you for half an hour,' our guide said to them, pulling alongside, 'Do you know you have a flat tyre?'  He believed they must have known and tried to soldier on, pretty silly in such a place. They reassured him they were fine and help was coming, but there was no denying the vague air of embarrassment about them.  We carried on, passing random scrubby bushes for a while.
And then...

There she was, under a tree. Opposite her was another, her son. We stopped by, we clicked, we stared. They were bored but not perturbed by us, and we left respectfully.  Majestic and awesome as are the creatures of the Bush,none equal Spot and her children for sheer beauty.




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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
yapman
Aug. 24th, 2016 09:25 pm (UTC)
That's a better shot than I got. I was going to respond with a cheetah and cubs, but it turns out my laptop only has photos as far back as Namibia, so you're safe. I do have an attractive jackal on the beach I've never posted, though.

Edited at 2016-08-24 09:28 pm (UTC)
smokingboot
Aug. 25th, 2016 07:57 am (UTC)
Beautiful! I have a couple of Jackal pics, but nowhere near as clear and detailed as this. Thank you for sharing it.
nyarbaggytep
Aug. 31st, 2016 07:52 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous!
smokingboot
Sep. 2nd, 2016 07:01 am (UTC)
Isn't he? For some reason my photos of him are reasonable, whereas my photos of his beautiful mother nearby are all blurry or make her look like she's sneezing/ drunk.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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