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Category ArchiveWild cats blog

Headlights in the mist

‘Shall we drink some coffee?’ ‘No, let’s wait a bit longer’. There are those little things that cause you to be in a certain place at a certain time. A short stop because it rains and you want to put on some raingear, waiting for a second to check out some eyeshine just in case it’s something more exciting than a flying squirrel and indeed waiting a bit longer for some coffee. All those things can make the difference between just missing out on a species and having a spectacular sighting.

Torres del Puma’s!

Two years ago I already started planning this trip, I always wanted to do a long trip when I would be finished studying. In that time my ideas about the planning of the trip have continually changed, but eventually there was a plan! Now the time is finally there: a trip of three months through South-America had started! My plan is to visit three countries: Chile, Bolivia and Peru. Of course one goal is to work on my cat list, but I also want to improve my Spanish and I’ve got my eye on a few birds. The trip starts at the most Southern airfield of Chile: Punta Arenas. The destination of this part of the trip is Torres del Paine, a park that is supposed to be the best place in the world to see puma’s.

The night is dark and (sometimes) full of animals!

We’re in the Western Sahara searching for a Sand Cat. You can read more about that here. The way to see it is to drive the road between Dakhla and Aousserd up and down at night and then spotlight in the desert hoping to encounter a Sand Cat or another nocturnal animal.

Sweating for a Sand Cat

My worldcatlist has after my visit of Botswana, Namibia and South-Africa reached the impressive number of four! So there is still enough room for improvement! A cat on which I’ve had my eye  for quite some time, is the Sand Cat. This is an animal about the size of a house cat with a preference for desert like areas. For some years the most reliable place of seeing it has been the Western Sahara near the town of Dakhla. Together with a fellow Dutchman who also has a special interest in cats, I went over there in early January.

A great afternoon

Today would be our second and final day in Etosha National Park. Alas, we must go on! Of course we hope to get the maximum out of this day at least so we’re standing early at the gates again. We’re all still sleepy from yesterday. About one hundred meters after the entrance we’re wide awake. A lioness is stalking a prey! The prey turns out to be a Springbok. Sadly the stalking takes a long time and because of the dense bushes we lose sight of the animals after a while. So we move on. In the morning we see about the animals we’ve seen already. Just like yesterday we go swimming in Halali. Completely freshened up we go at it for the last time in the afternoon. If any animal is planning on showing itself, now is the time!

Savannahsoap

We’ve been traveling for about half a week now with a group of seventeen. We’re traveling in three cars. Today is the day on which we will finally visit Etosha National Park. The day before we left from Maun in Botswana and we’ve driven via the border all the way to Etosha. For those among us that look at maps sometimes: that is quite a distance. We left at 6 in the morning and about 2.30 in the night we arrived. We quickly put up our tents and at 5.30 we were already waiting at the gates of Etosha. But now it’s finally happening: a visit to the famous Etosha!

Waiting for a lynx…

It’s been a while since I’ve decided to focus on cats abroad (read here why). So I had all kinds of great plans, but I hadn’t actually seen any cats yet. So I wanted to do something about that that! The Iberian lynx is the rarest cat species in the world and is threatened by extinction. Luckily things are looking better now for the species, but still the number of individuals is around 500, so not that much actually. This cat is however much more easy to see than the Eurasian lynx. All you have to do is go to the Sierra de Andujar in Spain and with a bit of luck you will see it. That’s also my plan, but instead of driving up and down the road over there and scoping off the area in the hope of bumping in to one, I want to have it really close. That’s why I’ve booked a photo hide for three days in the area, hoping to get one walking by real close. After a flight from Amsterdam to Malaga, I drove my rental car to Andujar to sleep a night in the car over there. The next morning I’m taken with a 4×4 into the area to one of the hides. When I’m all set over there, the waiting can start…