Every property has a superstition attached to it, “scientifically” based on the animal movements. If you want to find rhino you go this way, if you want to find elephants you go to the river, if you want to find lions you go North and if you want to find leopards you go East.
On a morning of explorations, I was on my favourite road during a winter morning. We had been driving for a while, without seeing much almost making me regret my route choice. Sometimes you follow your gut feeling, and sometimes that gut feeling, you learn, can disappoint.
As we came into a junction I slammed on the brakes. Unknown to me as to how, my tracker and 3 guests missed the spots that walked right in front of us. At first a blur, commotion and screaming; we then realized that the blur was actually a mother and two cubs!. Hands shake, I’m too afraid to call it out loud, they’re going offroad, low range goes in, let’s do this. Hands stil shake. Cameras are going click click click click click click click. Heart has stopped. I can’t think.
We had never met before, but when she saw me she only glanced at us and then carried on. My heart was about to explode. She was taking her two cubs to a kill. I was alone in the West and there was a jungle ahead of us – the Universe granted us this much of privacy as everyone else was too far to join. I snapped a few photos to try and figure out who this mystery girl was and then they disappeared into the wild.
A few weeks went by I still hadn’t managed to find them again. I drove the same road, the same area, always with the hope of finding a sign of them. Their backyard was too big, I didn’t have such luck until one day Enock made my luck change. He found them and called me back, I saw them again playing in the tall grass and was completely taken by these larger balls of fluff.
As it happens, one of them was more outgoing, one of them was shier. They were both entertaining. We were to become great friends after that. I would go West on my own looking for them and on more occasions than not, they allowed me to find them and spend time with them on their daily goings. A privilege that demanded a loud Thank You to the stars. They became my favourites, part of many storied and encounters and always there on the most unexpected days.
Outcrop and her cubs became of the best gifts I ever received.