How do you even start to describe a 30-minute sundowner stop at Mombo Camp?
Primatologist, pro photographer and all-round great guy Marc Stickler and I decide to stop looking for the jaws, claws and paws which Mombo is so renowned for, and we focus our attention on some baboons and zebra as twilight approaches. Clearly quite absorbed in their pre-bedtime discussions the baboons took no notice of us as we disembarked the vehicle to incorporate sundowners with some low-level photography as they slowly worked their way past us.
As we ventured further from the vehicle in the fading light the forest on a nearby island exploded with sound no more than a stone’s throw away.
Electrifying, as a cacophony of vervet monkeys, impala and birds awoke angrily as though it was already past their roosting time.
Into the vehicle and we set about finding out what all the fuss was about. Driving through the middle of the impala herd, we saw they were looking in all directions and snorting hard, taking no notice of our presence whatsoever.
“There,” exclaimed Marc, as a majestic leopard popped out of some scrub right next to our vehicle and proceeded to scent mark on a worn stump.
This cat was on a mission and it was clearly not impala or vervet monkeys; she had picked up the scent of a neighbouring female who had visited the area only two days before – Pula.
We followed the beautiful cat known as Phefo until the sun had totally disappeared behind a clump of palm trees on a spectacular Okavango horizon, then respectfully left her to continue into the night and complete her mission.
Happy and content we completed our untouched sundowners as we headed back to camp knowing she would happily provide us with entertainment again on another day.
Words and images by Deon de Villiers