Saturday, November 18, 2006

The leopard hunt

4.00am and the alarm goes off.  I sleep through it, dreaming about a clock radio I had as a kid, and Mrs B nudges the cracked rib.  "Wake up!"
 
Those of you countless thousands of blog fans who know me personally know that I've been known to sleep until 4.30pm on weekends, and will not usually get up earlier than 9am unless I absolutley have to (one of the great benefits of being self employed) when in Australia.
 
Yet here, in Africa, we lead a double life.
 
In bed by 8pm (you just have to start drinking earlier in the day, that's all) and up half an hour before the gates open to let us and the other animal-addicts camped here in Kruger out the camp gates (game drives are restricted to daylight in Kruger).
 
It is, of course, an addiction.  We haven't seen a single leopard on this trip, despite more than two months in Africa, most of it in the bush.  Secretive and sneaky, leopards are traditionally the hardest of the big 5 to spot.  A local told me the other day he'd been visiting Kruger for 25 years and had never seen one.  Now that is bad luck - or he should have had his eyesight checked years ago (or possibly shouldn't have been drinking Klipdrift rum and coke at 9am)... whatever.
 
Not seeing animals (well, nothing of particular interest, that is) doesn't make us want to pack up and come home to Australia.  It just makes the itch even worse.
 
Today we saw a couple of elephants, a few zebra, two giraffe and about 250,000 impala.  Not good enough.  We will be up pre-dawn tomorrow.
 
Back to work now.  I'm 250-odd pages into the manuscript for book five, with about 70 to go.  Why am I wasting time blogging, then?
 
 
 

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Years ago when big game hunting was the go in zim,a friend had a wealthy American client who had to bag a leopard. It took them a month, the Yank eventually got his shot,wounding it. My friend determined not to lose it was badly mauled by it, but was lucky to be airlifted to hospitel. I visited him and although pleased to see us ,he didnt quite see the humour in my gift of The Leopard Hunts in Darkness,by Wilbur Smith.
Good luck in your search Tony.Cheers Johnsie.