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We are often asked by guests what our favorite animals are and when a guide gives his answer he usually backs it up with a specific species. Well I answer the question with a reference to a specific individual animal that us as guides all love!
The animal in question is a male leopard called Dayone. Dayone is one of our dominant leopards in the area and is sometimes a nightmare to track down. He covers huge distances and is very unpredictable. One might say it's not worth tracking him down but that's where I am different. A recent 5 day safari that my guests were on saw the frustration but more importantly the value and sheer joy of tracking this boy down.
In a nutshell we had tried for 4 days to track Dayone to no avail. We had seen other leopards but the amount of effort we put into finding Dayone wasn't satisfactory to me, my tracker Dan or any of our guests! On the last evening drive we decided to head south and see if we could find any signs of our boy. Calvin found fresh tracks and we were on the chase. With light fading quickly we started to get dispondent. We looped roads two or three times to see if he came in behind us and to our surprise, he did! I raced around to get ahead of the tracks and stopped on one of his usual routes.
Then it happened! Like a Phoenix from the ashes he stepped out of some reeds in a river bed and he posed for us in the setting sun! We got him! The guests myself and Dan were going mental! So much excitement. Mother Nature had rewarded us for all the long hours of tracking. My guests could now see and literally feel the value of tracking and trailing an animal. To truly understand an animals movements and appreciate how difficult it actually is to find and see one of these majestic cats in action.
It's all about the build up and the drama that the African bush has to offer. The anticipation of something in demand. Novalties shouldn't wear off, nothing should be easy and rewards should be so fulfilling that you want to come back for more!
That's what a safari should be like.
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