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Kian Barker
Shakabarker Tours

Kian Barker



A cat and a rat.

Greetings and Salutations,

Sometimes and more often than not, I get a wish list. These requests or wishes are varied and either I will comment "you're easy to please!" or "that'll be extra!" and after our usual introduction we head off into the darkness. So in this instance we were on one of our regular night safaris, into the iSimangaliso wetland park. Winter here is considered warm in comparison to the rest of South Africa. Some nights are even balmy, tropical warm. The added bonus is that the grass is less and hence animals are easier to see.

So out we headed and en-route, the chatter turned up a request for a 'cat and a rat'. Neither of which make very predictable appearances in my spotlight. By the time we stopped for hot chocolate, we had bagged over 80 bushbuck, several kudu, chameleons, waterbuck, reedbuck and more. Stars were phenomenal as the recent rain had cleared the sky, so a brilliant tour. However not a meow or squeak! And the clink of enamel meant we were packing up the cups to head for our final nocturnal chapter.

Down we went to Mfazana Pans through the dune forest archway and as we entered the grassland, there on top of a ridge was our cat! A stunning male leopard, he seemed intent on the road ahead of us, as he was ignoring us. Although we could not find what was keeping his curiosity focussed. This sighting was great. Then my attention was averted to the rat component of the wish list request.

Hmm..." I thought, with half an hour left, let's see what we can pull out of the hat! And yes, not a cat, but a porcupine! Happily lumbering down the road not more than 2 km from our exit gate was Africa's largest rat. These rats can reach 40kg. Nice. Even I was amazed at Mother Natures generosity. Now I am thinking what sort of statistical probability equation would be required to get this series of events into some statistical logic. But on that note, there is a wonderful saying that you get .liars, damned liar and then statistics". But one thing is for sure we got a cat and a rat, but never got the statistics!

Hasta la vista


Posted by Kian Barker


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