When going to Botswana I thought I’d see some of the African cats pretty easily as I’ve only ever seen them lying around on nature documentaries. Yet it was extremely hard to find even one. We did not see our first cat, that being a lioness and her cubs, until a little over two weeks into the trip. That encounter came about while driving and we noticed tracks. So we decided to go off the main trail and follow the tracks through lots of brush, but the tracks stopped so we had to head back out on the main trail and drive through the surrounding area. In doing so we heard the alarm calls of baboons and impala so we followed those calls until we caught fleeting glimpses of the lioness and her cubs moving away from us. It was an exhilarating experience to fit all the puzzle pieces together and see them finally.
The other African cat that we desired to see was the leopard, but they were even more elusive. So elusive in fact that they say you miss one every time you go out. We only saw two the entire month we were there, and we were in Mashatu, an area known to have lots of leopards. We were lucky to have one of our sightings be of a large male on the ground as we drove by and he stayed long enough for us to get pictures and videos. Although he didn’t stay much longer, disappearing within seconds. All that effort and luck that goes in to spotting the cats makes it so amazing when you finally have a stroke of luck.