Sam and I are now in the midst of leopard and vervet monkey trapping and we are preparing for two months of Earthwatch groups arriving and Sam going back to the UK soon for graduation. It’s all happening!
However before things got hectic we decided to take a short trip to the Tuli Block in Botswana. Anna and Claire, our two predator assistants, came along too.
The Tuli Block is just over two hours away and this includes a very quiet, relaxing and un-beitbridgey border crossing at Platjan.
As soon as we were in Botswana I told Anna and Claire to keep their eyes open for elephants. They thought I was exaggerating until we found a herd within minutes. We sat and watched them for awhile and then continued onto Limpopo River Lodge where we camped on the banks of the river for the first night. While having a braai we heard a noise so Anna shone the megalatorch in the bush to see a startled porcupine. We could hear the hippos wandering around next to our tent and hammocks throughout the night.
While driving around the reserve we saw an African wild cat and found black-backed jackal road – a spot where we just kept running into the little guys. They were often walking in pairs and one would move off and then stop and turn back to wait for their friend. It reminded us of the littlest hobo since he just keeps moving on but always gives one final look back.
While driving around the Tuli Block looking for animals we encountered regular signs reminding us we were still in the reserve. I suppose this was just in case we got head butted by an elephant and got amnesia.
For our second and final night we moved to Molema campsite. We went on a game drive in the afternoon and one of the camp’s staff members came with us. We saw zebra, wildebeest, impala, maribou storks and…drum roll please, a leopard. Using his African eyes our guide, Chris, spotted a pregnant female leopard sitting on a rocky outcrop. We watched her for a long time and then she moved off carrying a piece of meat with her. We tried driving behind the rocky area to see her by putting the landy’s skills to the test. We didn’t find her there however as we headed back up the road we spotted (pun so intended) her again. She was relaxing on the rock. She watched us for about 20 minutes and then closed her eyes for a sleep. After an amazing hour long viewing we decided to head home to our camp because the light was fading.
Molema was right by a sandy bank of the Limpopo River. Sam and I went for a walk in the morning to look for hippos and crocs.
On our way back to the South African border we saw ostrich, giraffe and impalas rutting each other.
Funnily enough there wasn’t a sign letting us know we had left the Tuli Game Reserve. But we figured that out for ourselves as we literally drove through the Limpopo River and re-entered South Africa. It was either that or take the shopping trolley on a string which was essentially the dodgiest cable car in the world across the river…