Our team has André as the driver, the drivers undergo some 4×4 training and will help when needed.
Our first foot transect where we follow a designated route and count both predators and potential game is full of adventure. We encounter a large herd of buffalo ~200. They initially do not detect us but as we try and circle them at a safe distance we are pushed back into the herd due to flooding. The wind changes and they now know we are there, they assume defensive positions the young and females inside the circle the big males on the outside. You do not want to be the object of a stampeding buffalo herd. The second worst encounter to have other than an angry hippo is a charging male buffalo or stampeding herd. Neil our game guide advises us to look for sturdy trees…..we are in a flooded delta the biggest trees are about 3m tall! Then we notice a movement on the other side of us to where the herd is only 40m away. There is a bit of nervous rustling in the bush, a male that has lingered to browse and now is cut off from the herd.
My reading of Neil’s body language is that this is not good. We very very quietly try and give everybody some space by retreating and all is well. We find some leopard and hyena spoors which means tracks and this we record. Then as we enter a more open section of the transect we get given a warning growl from the only bushes close to us, this identified as a leopard. A few Kudu antelopes and warthogs to finish the count. We enjoy a snack from the treat chest when we get back.