NamibRand Nature Reserve game count

I have been very lucky over the years to have had many learning experiences and just enjoyable experiences relating to wildlife (or nature,) related things.

Today was one of those days. Today was the annual game count on NamibRand Nature Reserve. I was asked to be part of one of the teams. On the group that I was with we had our regional director (visiting from Botswana for the reserves AGM,) CCAfrica Expeditions Namibia's General Manger, two of our managers here at Sossusvlei Mountain Lodge, and the reserves lawyer.

I was to be the driver (of course, I was the only guide in the group of managers and such like.) We set off a little late, and then when we got out, I still had to go to pick up the reserves lawyer because he flew in a little late to our airstrip.

Once underway however, the count was really fun. There has been a great deal of breeding this year, and so there was a lot of wildlife around. Within the first hour we had found some leopard tracks on the main road. Leopards are rare in the desert and hard to see almost anywhere. So I started keeping my eyes open for leopards. I have seen nine this year, and hoped to prove myself to the 'heavies' (i.e. directors, managers lawyers,) on the game count with me. But I didn't get one.

We carried on and saw kudu, mountain zebra, Oryx, Springbok by the hundreds, various birds, yellow mongoose, and so on.

Last night one of the guides had told me that he found a drag mark across one of the roads. We found it. It had been a springbok, killed by a leopard and dragged towards the dune. We have never seen a leopard in a dune, and so we temporarily abandoned the count to go and explore. It was amazing. We didn't find the leopard but found the kill, stashed in the dunes, and still mostly uneaten. The leopard had buried the kill. We believe this is because usually they would take their kills to the hills and hide them, and here they didn't have the chance to do that, and so to hide if from vultures and perhaps even jackals, it buried it!

I had a good look around to see if I could see the leopard. It would be easy to track in the dunes, but we didn't have time for that. And also don't really want to scare it off. Perhaps this afternoon one of the game drives might find it - it is very likely that the leopard will return to finish the kill.

The rest of the game count went well. We had a good brunch under a tree next to the dunes and headed back to the lodge. They all have to work - I've got time to blog a little!!!

Great day, especially considering the fact that I am leaving the reserve in a few weeks time to move to Swakopmund.
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