Walking with a Cheetah

I began this Mungari adventure with the story of taking the Pangolin for a walk. To end this trip, we got to walk with a cheetah….literally!!

The adventure started early on Sunday morning when Tamar approached me and said that when the satellite imaging came thru, one of the cheetahs was on the edge of the floodplain and that we could drive there to see it!!

Did we want to go????


We climbed into the back of Bredger’s Land Rover and headed to the selected area. As we got closer, Tamar guided Bredger and then climbed on top of the cab to get a better reading…..

This particular antenna is a smaller version of the one that she used in the helicopter.

We drove some more and she isolated him to a small clump of palmettos. Bredger kept circling the trees and eventually, we caught sight of him…..

We kept nudging him and he move a bit further into view….

Then Tamar asked the wonderful question…..do you want to go walk out there with him??


When we answered in the affirmative, she told us to quietly walk at an angle to him and enjoy watching him close up.

As we walked off, Bredger gave us confidence by saying “God speed….”

It was the coolest thing to walk so close to him when he was in the wild.

Eventually he got tired of us ogling him and he took off one last time….


Tamar explained why it was safe for us to do this….. Cheetahs use their speed to hunt, coming up on the animal from behind and bowling it over and to the ground when it catches up to it. They do not like to approach an animal head-on!! So, unless we started running away from it, we were perfectly safe!!

As we returned to camp, the final sunset put a wonderful closure on our time in Coutada 11, in the Maramao complex of Mozambique……

Mungari Miscellany

Unfortunately, on this trip I got sick. Fortunately, we had antibiotics that I could take to kill all of the foreign bacteria floating in my stomach but, it meant that I lost 1-1/2 days of fun!!

These were the days that I was going to spend doing photography around the camp so I was truly disappointed, but there was still plenty to enjoy.

One of the days we took a Reedbuck to Chief Thozo. I wrote about him in this post about the blessing of the Cheetah Boma….

We arrived at his house carrying the much-appreciated meat animal that would feed his family for days…..

The Chief arrived and thanked Bredger profusely……

….while a number of his children looked on, excited that they would have meat to eat that evening…..

As we drove along, Vashko was sitting next to me on the back of the truck….

….and he gestured for Bredger to stop. He had seen a lion track in the road…..HOW DID HE SEE IT?

It was a huge track….sorry that I didn’t put my hand down there for context!!

On one of our forays, we ran into one (of many) termite mounds. Here I AM next to it for context….

There was one night when Michael and I were the only people in camp and, since we are not considered to be guests, the staff decided to do a “sundowner” together……ie drink Gin & Tonic and watch the sunset!!! I hate that Mark Haldane wasn’t there but this is a magnificent photo of the entire crew…..

….and NO, the color is NOT photoshopped!!

The camp itself was a usual hive of activity.

This was our tent…..

…..and this was our Warthog……

….who wandered around the camp, immune to the people wandering past him.

There were monkeys on the roofs…..

Red Duiker at the firepit…..

….and an amazing millipede…..

Look at all of those legs…..

And then there was the HUGE scorpion…..

….originally found ON my bed!!! Fortunately, we found him right before we left camp so I didn’t have nightmares about it while we were there!!!

Our time here is growing to a close so, one more fabulous sunset shot……

Portrait of a Palmetto

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, my position in the truck is in the back, with my head over the cab. While this leaves me open to all sorts of disasters, it also means I have a GREAT view of the world as we travel.

On our early morning adventure, I started enjoying the Palmetto trees, particularly in the “golden hour” light…..

THEN, I started looking at the curve that forms when you look at the leaf from the side…..

Do you see a paper-pieced quilt or is it just me????

Next, I noticed the “angel” type wings that you see when you look at it head on…..

Then I started looking at how they overlap in the trees…..

….and then at the tree as a whole……

Wouldn’t it be fun to play with something like this…..

Now, let’s be honest….

I am not SUPER excited about the paper-piecing process so this particular design will probably NEVER materialize, but it sure was fun to think about for a couple of hours as we drove thru the flood plain of Coutada 11!!!

So….if this tickles your fancy……PLEASE….be my guest!!!

Bush Pigs & Bandits

On Friday morning we left camp at 6:00 am with the idea of searching for Bush Pigs. They are fairly elusive but we were determined!!

I couldn’t complain too much about the early start, especially with this type of view…..

…or this one as the sun came up….

Our guide for this part of the trip is Bredger, an American who works here for part of the year and in the US as a policeman the rest of the year. This particular fact is VERY important as the story progresses!!

Bredger’s truck is not a double cab so typically he and Michael share the cab and I sit on the back and enjoy the views!! It is amazing what great photos you can get as you slowly drive thru various areas….

I have to say here that I LOVE my iPhone!! These photos are almost impossible with a DSLR but I could just point and shoot with my phone!!

As the sun rose, I found myself enamored with the shape of the Palmetto leaves and I took LOTS of photos. I will do a separate post about that!!

Our tracker was Vashko and he did a marvelous job of protecting me from branches and vines that would have hit my head as we traveled……

He also steadied me when we hit particularly BIG bumps and I flew all over the back of the truck!!

I started out sitting completely on my butt with both feet on the floor but quickly learned that it was easier if I propped one or two feet up on the roll bar and pushed back into the seat….

But, in some cases, even that wasn’t enough!!

In 2021 I wrote a post about truck sitting including all of the good AND bad parts….

But back to Friday!!

This area has large “dips” in the land that are called Pans. They normally have water somewhere in the center and can have large open spaces as well as tree and brush areas.

These areas are normally overflowing with animals, but as we drove, we saw VERY few. Bredger actually commented that something was wrong.

As we drove, we would often come to dead-ends and it was Vashko’s job to make a way…..

It was amazing to see how quickly he could carve out an area just using his machete.


Vashko and Bredger spotted 6 poachers running away from the truck, one carrying a long spear (used to kill the snared animals…..not us)!!

Bredger immediately kicked into full police pursuit mode and we flew over the ground. After 10 seconds, he realized that if he hit a bump at this speed, I would be thrown out of the truck so he slowed to a respectable pace.

When we arrived there was neither hide nor hair of the poachers. We scouted out a bit to see if we could find their camp but finally decided to leave it to the professionals.

When Vashko isn’t working with Bredger, he is part of the Anti-Poaching team of Coutada 11. Bredger radioed into the Anti-Poaching headquarters and Vashko gave them all of the lowdown.

He also took several large palmetto leaves and put them in the road as a marker.

A bit later we ran into one of the anti-poaching patrols……

….and they were given all of the data as well.

We never did see many animals, but these three Hardebeasts were gamboling about…..

….and the Lillies were a beautiful distraction…..

So that is the excitement of ONE morning in the bush….more to come!!

TAG…..you’re it!!

A few days back, I wrote about the Pangolin reintroduction project that Zambeze Delta Safari has undertaken, and I introduced you to their FIRST Pangolin.

They plan to release him soon and need him to be tagged so that they can follow him to learn more about where he goes on the property and what he does.

Friday was dubbed “Pangolin tagging day” and we were thrilled to be there!!

These are the two tags….one is Satelite and the other is VHF……

In my mind, they look awfully big for the little guy but I was reminded that he is only about half-grown right now so he will grow into them!!

Then there were the tools…..

YIKES….poor little guy. This looks like a bad dentist’s office!!

They brought him out in his crate and we all oohed and aahed!!…..

….and then the work began!!

Willem set him on the “operating box”……

…and Tamar covered his head with a towel to help him relax in the dark…..

The trackers were being placed at the base of his tail….ie where it attaches to his body. Doing that means that his range of movement will not be affected at all.

Once a decision was made as to which scale they would work on…..

….Rye went to work with his drill. Remember that the scales are much like really thick fingernails so he would not be feeling any of this!!

A spoon handle was placed under the scale……

And Rye drilled thru the scale until he hit the spoon….

The result…..a PERFECT hole!!

A flat disc with a bolt soldered to it was placed underneath the scale, with the bolt sticking up thru the hole…..

Then the tracker was placed on top of the bolt……

….and tightened with a ratchet wrench…..

One down….one to go!!

The second tracker was quickly fitted and the “surgery” was over!!

When they took him for his evening walk, they were thrilled to see that he didn’t act any differently from before the trackers were attached.

I have NO idea how they figured out this process but it worked without a hitch, and I can’t wait to get reports of this little guy wandering in the Marromeu complex of Mozambique!!

I know that I am so blessed to get to witness events such as these and I hope that you enjoy them too!!