Your Company
South Africa
Kruger Park 1
Kruger Park 3
Blyde Valley

Kruger Park 2

2nd December, 2002
Our awakening call came at 5am when our morning tea/coffee and cake was placed in our eating hut alongside our bedroom. We then departed for our morning drive at 5.30am.
We made our way to one of the waterholes and there encountered a mother cheetah with her two eighteen month old cubs. As they turned away from the waterhole, the cheetah pricked back her ears. Our ranger said that he thought she had seen something. She suddenly ran off and we tracked her, driving alongside, but at a reasonable distance. She then caught an impala and hurled it to  the ground. The impala lay completely still - but it was breathing. The two young cheetahs now arrived at the scene. The mother cheetah took her paw off the impala and what followed was an amazing experience ...

Cheetah1 Cheetah2 Cheetah3
The impala got up and ran off. It looked as though it was escaping but the two young cubs kept with it and appeared to be playing with it. All three animals seemed a little confused and didn't know what to do. It was amazing to see the cub with its paw on the back on the impala. It was as though the cubs were playing with the impala, just as a cat plays with a mouse. Apparently the mother cheetah was training her young how to kill, but they hadn't quite grasped how to do it yet. Arouind 15 minutes later the mother went in for the kill and got the impala by the throat. She then dragged it into the shade and stood guard whilst her young cubs ate first.  It was amazing - the fact that we saw this unique event but also the close range that we were able to observe it. I had never imagined this in my wildest dreams.
Cheetah4 Cheetah5 Cheetah6
We returned to the waterhole to find a pride of lions - 3 males and 4 females. Again we watched at close range as they drank their fill of water and then lay down to rest. After we had left the waterhole we saw the remains of a wilderbeast, which had, obviously, been their breakfast. At around 7.30 we stopped for our morning coffee and then a short drive before getting out to walk the rest of the way back!  Our walk lasted over an hour and we were getting pretty hot from the sun. Our ranger told us about the bushcraft, tracking, animal behaviour, birdlife and the plants. We were very pleased to get back to the cool of the camp and a hearty breakfast at 9.30am.
Cheetah7 Lions1 Lions2
Our picnic lunch was delivered to our 'eating room' but we chose to eat on the deck to enjoy the embience. Lunch was accompanied by a bottle of champagne - to celebrate my birthday. Elephants, nyala and impala strolled past our deck on their way to the waterhole.
Lions3 Dinner with birthday cake  
Afternoon cake and tea was served at 4.30 followed by a safari drive. We stopped at a waterhole and watched the hippopotomus whilst having our 'sundowners' and exchanging stories with the folk from the other jeep that had met there. Again we saw much wildlife during the night drive back to the lodge. We then had a wonderful dinner, followed by a birthday cake made by the wonderful, cheerful kitchen ladies, who presented it in full parade and song.
What a birthday to remember!

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