I got home this morning from a fantastic trip to SA.
I went with Gordon & Nathan, the husband & son of my late Africam freind JulieUK/Gemini, first to the Cederbergs to meet up with Quinton, who runs the Cape Leopard Trust (Leopard cam) and then we went on to Kruger Park with my Wildlifecampus friends Barbara (bushpig) and Brett Wiggill, staying mostly in bushcamps.
In the Cederbergs we stayed at Mount Ceder lodge and Quinton took us out tracking leopards which have been fitted with GPS tracking collars. We picked up the signal of two of the leopards - Johan and Houdini - but they were hidden in Kloofs so we did not manage to see them.
Quinton also took us to see my sponsored Anotolian Shepherd dog at Driehoek farm, Tabs Jnr.
I had a joyous reunion with Tabs jnr - dare I say that she appeared to remember me from my visit in August last year when she was just 12 weeks old? She kept coming back to me for cuddles and tummy scratches anyway whilst she mostly ignored my travelling companions!
Tabs jnr is doing a great job in defending the sheep on the farm from predators - animal and human - and her adoptive parent, farmer Hennie, is delighted that he no longer has to shoot the leopards that were previously killing his animals!
We then moved on to Kruger, which has never, actually, been my favourite destination in Africa.
My opinion of Kruger has now changed in some respects. We stayed mostly in the bush camps which are small, isolated and peaceful.
In particular I enjoyed Sirheni camp, in the north of the park, although Byamiti and Talamati were fantastic too. If you ever get to visit Sirheni you should try to book bungalows number 1, 12 or 15 as they have by far the best wiews of the (huge) water hole.
I managed to clock-up a fair amount of 'first sightings' of mammals and birds in both the Cederbergs and in Kruger which added to the pleasure that I got from the trip!
I will definitely go back to Sireheni again in the future - and hope to visit some of the other bushcamps too.