“It can’t be time to get up yet,” complained Lord Grum-Peigh “It’s still dark!”
“It will be light soon and we need to get out before the Twee Rivieren Mob arrive – come on get up – here’s your coffee.” Her Ladyship packed the picnic basket and filled the flask while her grumbly husband reluctantly readied himself for departure.
The sunrise was just a stunning as last night’s sunset and they were on the road atn6:30 am on the dot. The campers from the other five sites were rushing off too. The Frend-Leighs always keen to be first at the waterhole to ensure good photographs were up ahead. As the Grum-Peighs followed slowly behind a fellow camper passed and waved to them to stop. “Your left front tyre looks a little soft,” he said.
And so they had to turn around and return to camp to check it out. The Earl who fusses about the small stuff was remarkably calm about this major disaster. He set straight to work. Getting the tyre off proved no easy task. The thingy that is used to loosen the bolts was faulty but the Earl made a plan and within 45 minutes the job was done.
Now when one travels in the extreme conditions of the Kgalagadi one would be foolish not to have a working spare so the Grum-Peighs decided to abandon their original plans and make their way to Twee Rivieren where there was a workshop to have the spare tyre repaired. And although it was a Sunday it was open.
After enjoying a cooked breakfast at the restaurant they took the long Mata Mata and Dune roads to get back to Rooiputs. “Hopefully we will see game on this route,” declare the Lord.
Lady Grum-Peigh had an acute attack of FOMO (fear of missing out). “I bet the Leighs have found yesterday’s lions on a kill and that the cheetahs are mating or giving birth or something equally exciting.”she whined.
“No way,”comforted the Earl “we’re going to see good stuff.”
And he was right. “Look what we have here,”he said excitedly.
A little later they found a male lion right next to the road
Then a little far off under a shady tree lay a cheetah with its kill. It was not worth taking a photograph though.
The Grum-Peighs are more interested in the birdlife and tend to stop too long to observe the winged creatures that others choose to ignore.
One of their favourites is the Namaqua Dove
Of course they also saw all the regular chaps. Gemsbok (Oryx) are very common in the park.
Meanwhile the Leighs had been wandering what happened to their friends. Had they missed them at a sighting? Had they carried on to the planned breakfast stop? But no they couldn’t find them anywhere. “They’re either behind or in front of us,” said Mr Frend-Leigh – don’t worry we’ll catch up with each other eventually.”
So when they finally did see each other back at camp they were shocked to hear that there had been a mishap. “We would have come back to help!” they declared.
“Then you would also have missed the excitement,” said Lady G-P
“Ha – we only got sleeping cats – nothing too thrilling!”
The two men got to work fixing the faulty thingy while the girls caught up with washing and then they all had a nap before going out for the afternoon drive.
It was 5 o’clock and still hot and they hoped to get the sleeping lions waking up. There was a little action but they were still pretty sleepy.
Then a police car stopped next to the G-Ps “Good afternoon, sir. How are you this afternoon?”
Lady G-P thought they were going to ask for their permit and started reaching for it. But no – “Ma’m about 3km further on, you will find a cheetah. He is on his own and has been there since 1 pm this afternoon.”
“Thank you so much officer. We will check it out!”
Just before they reached the 3km mark, Lady Peigh yelled, “I see him.”
It was overcast and a storm was threatening so the light was dim and if she hadn’t been looking intently she would probably have missed him. Then suddenly he disappeared. “Has he gone over the ridge?”
“No – there he is!” said Lord Peigh. “He’s lying down – how well he camouflages!”
They stayed with him until a car approached and then pointed him out to the occupant. It took quite a while before he could find him.
Back at the lion sighting very little was happening. Mr Leigh pointed out a striped kingfisher in a tree opposite and then they decided to make their way back before it got too late.
The Leighs pointed out the Vereaux’s Eagle-Owl and that was the last sighting of their day.