The Scorpion King – Kgalagadi National Park (December 2018)
Our last days spent in a reserve always have a bitter sweet feeling to it. On one end, there’s the disappointment that the adventure is coming to an end. On the other, it’s exciting because you never know what mother nature has in store for you.
And boy did she have a treat for us. We headed from Kalahari Tented camp to Twee Rivierin, and enjoyed a few special sightings along the way – a Cheetah in beautiful morning light calling for his brothers, 2 male Kori Bustards fighting for dominance, a Honey Badger (Ratel) foraging for food in the river bed, and a Leopard and cub walking along the calcrete ridges in the distance. But our next sighting was one that we’d hoped for but thought we’d never be close enough to truly enjoy the experience of it.
We had come across a colony of Meerkats foraging along the river bed and even though it was quite late and the light was harsh, we decided to capture a few images since they were so close to us. They were actively foraging and so we decided to spend some time with them. After about 5 minutes or so, one of the Meerkats came within 2 metres of us to forage on the top of the bank.
As soon as we locked onto him, he was already up to his waist down a burrow. He quickly emerged with a Slender-Tailed Scorpion in his mouth. This was the moment we had wished for and it was happening right in front of us. We watched in silence, only broken by the crunch of the Scorpion’s exo-skeleton as the Meerkat’s needle-like canines pierced through it. Within seconds it was totally devoured. And just as he was done, another Meerkat pulled out another scorpion. Our attention switched to it and we watched again in awe as it devoured its meal.
During our stay, we met a man who said to us, “The Kalahari reveals itself to those who come to it with a pure heart.” If there was any sign that it revealed itself to us, our experiences during the last few hours that we spent in the park certainly was it.
-Bilal Mosam & Safiyya Laher
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