By Matt Armstrong, Aug 12 2014

We should have known we were in for a good night as soon as we arrived at Kapanda lagoon to set up for the camp out. Upon arrival Medi, our chef, wondered off to start the fire only to be greeted by six lion resting under a bush about 50 metres away. They very politely moved off and we carried on with setting up for the arriving guests;  Anne-Marie, Antonia, Tom and Tommy

Once the guests arrived we served them sundowners followed by dinner, after which we settled around the camp fire where Sly amazed the guests with stories and tales that you would only hears around an African camp fire.

All of a sudden Sly is interrupted by Antonia who had spotted two greens eyes staring back at her from across the lagoon around 30 meters away. We all turned our torches in the same direction to see a beautiful male leopard making his way to the waters edge to drink, not paying us a blind bit of notice.  We all sat in silence for 10 minutes until he had satisfied his thirst and moved off.

What we didn’t realize is that whilst we were all focusing our attention on the cat, two honey badgers had arrived for their nightly forage not 10 meters away, again paying us no attention as they went about their business.  Attention once again turned back to Sly who continued to captivate everyone with his story telling until he was again interrupted by Antonia who had seen yet another leopard, this time a female who had come to drink from the lagoon. After watching her for 20 minutes of so everyone decided it was time to go to bed (a mattress and a mosquito net).

We all settled in for a peaceful night sleep only to be woken an hour later by the sound of 300 buffalo passing by at a distance of around 20 meters on their way to drink.  Everyone made their way back to the fire and settled in for the next hour or so watching the buffalo splashing around until they eventually moved off into the bush. As we were thinking about returning to our beds Sly spotted a dark figure on the opposite side of the water. After all presuming it was another leopard the creature finally revealed itself and to all our amazement turned out to be an Aardvark, the first sighting of one for us this season.

After returning to bed and finally nodding off to sleep we were once again woken by the sound of 6 lions roaring no more than 100 meters from where we were resting.  One would think that would cause alarm but under the African sky with nothing more than a mosquito net for cover everyone seemed completely at ease and were slowly lulled back to sleep by the wonderful sounds of the African night.

Matt Armstrong

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