It was not late at all, perhaps just around 21h15 when we made our way to our tent at Explorations' new Gomoti Camp. In the beam of the flashlight two sets of eyes reflected back from out of the dark in front of us – they were impala males having a drink around the small water hole in front of the camp.
Once settled in my warm bed, I was reading by the gentle glow of the lamp when I heard the sawing growl of a leopard. The sound was close, though closer to Kim’s tent next door than to ours. I whispered to Mike that there was a leopard just outside our tent. He was impressed but not enough to go and investigate. I went back to my reading and time passed. But not a lot of time before the leopard called out again; he was now closer to us and still just in front of camp.
I dozed off and just before falling into a deep night’s sleep, I heard the crackling sound of wood breaking and I knew that an elephant had just pushed over a tree. The sound came from the direction that was to the east of the main area where Ilana, our other travelling companion, was sleeping in her tent. I drifted off to awake just before 05h30 to the sounds of lionesses calling. In the cold crisp pre-dawn darkness their calls echoed out from the eastern side of camp and as they called they appeared to be coming closer and closer.
Just before the wake-up call at 06h00 a hyaena called from in front of camp. I just did a mental tally: leopard, elephant, lion, hyaena… wow – it clearly is all happening here!
Mike went out with Ilana and Kim on the early morning game drive. I elected to take a break and do some yoga practice. As the darkness faded and the sun showed itself through the treeline, my body warmed up to several rounds of surya namaska (sun salutations). I worked through my routine as the day moved on and Tracey from housekeeping was working in Kim’s tent next door.
My routine was completed in time for Tracey to follow her own routine and come to attend to our tent. She very excitedly told me that she had seen the leopard right in front of the tent while she was working. Wow, what a privilege, I don’t know of too many people who have practiced yoga with a leopard in such proximity!
Photos © Mike Myers and Dana Allen