Tuesday – One of these storms
It has finally stopped raining. Right on time for me to go out. I discovered a new den in Lone Palm clan yesterday and am curious which cubs are there.
The den is 10 km from camp and after a few kilometres I take a quick look around to check for storms, just to be safe (I don’t want to end up in a situation like a few weeks ago). I see one that appears to be small and far away. My judgement is that it’s coming from the southeast and will pass north of camp. Nothing to worry about as I will go to the southwest.
Once I get to the den, I have another assessing look at the storm and now see that it is a lot bigger than I thought. Also, it appears to be moving in western direction, which is closer to me than I was expecting. But I am still not worried and continue my work.
Until I look up and can’t see camp anymore. Devoured by the storm it has disappeared in a thick blanket of rain. Soon, my second reference point (Mutata) disappears as well. This has me thinking twice and I now realise that staying out here will definitely get me wet and will possibly be dangerous too. I start my drive back and as the storm rolls closer, I go faster and faster. My third reference point disappears and I am now south of the storm that is too close and big for comfort. I stop to put my gear in my bag and try to prepare for what is to come. Of course I did not even bring a rainjacket…
When the storm hits me, it hits me hard. Sheets of rain fall down and have me soaked in 10 seconds. Thunder roars, lightning flashes. It’s scary. Lightning is beautiful but being in the midst of it on a plain on a motorbike changes the game. I manage to stay on the southern edge of the storm and with a speed that is much higher than I would usually have, I reach the other end of the branch that I got myself into. My ordeal only lasts 2 minutes and soon after, I reach camp safely. As I park the motorbike, the next storm hits. With a sigh of relieve I sit down in the dry kitchen and vow to keep a better eye on the weather next time. And pack a rainjacket.
Wednesday – Gotcha! Fluff ball…
Another early morning. I am on my way to find collared wildebeest when I see a weird fluff ball rolling on the ground. It looks like a scrub hare, but 4 times bigger and with a long tail. I have to look twice to see it’s actually an African wild cat wrestling a scrub hare. A rare sighting as scrub hares are quite big prey for wild cats (they are the size of a big housecat) and those cats prefer to hunt at night. It did not end well for the hare… After a short fight, the cat looks up at me in surprise and tries to drag its prey away from me. It is probably exhausted though and to flee this unexpected interference in its hunt, it has to leave the hare (unable to run but still twitching) for a while. I quickly leave the scene to not disturb the animals any further. When I return to the site later, the hare is gone. Although it could have been grabbed by anything, I sincerely hope the cat came back to claim what was his.