Ultimate Chobe Safari: A Leopard at the River

Brendon Reports from the Ultimate Chobe Safari: A Leopard at the River

The river in the early morning sunrise is beyond magnificent. The colours of the sky reflecting on the water are magical, –

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– and when you add the hippos yawning and tussling, buffalo grazing and drinking along the banks, Yellow-billed Storks flying back and forth, Pied Kingfishers fishing, it really is a slice of heaven.

At Elephant Beach another pod of hippos were getting into the water, doves lined up along the shore to drink, fluttering a meter away when elephants joined them. An egret fished busily. We parked the boat on the sandy bank and soon we had peacefully eating and drinking elephants all around.

What could make this morning any better, we thought.

And it did … get better, I mean.

We looked up and there was a leopard approaching the water for a drink. An adult female. We made our way towards her, and our cameras clicked nonstop as she settled down for a long, thirsty drink. When finished, she stood up and then lay down on the bank for a while to watch the river. She was fully in view and very relaxed.

Finally she got up again and strolled a few meters inland. She headed directly to a smallish bush, and now we could see that she had stashed a kill under the bush.

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She fed for a while and then disappeared into the bush.

Needless to say we returned directly to the leopard area after lunch. On the way there a small herd of elephants crossed the river ahead of us, –

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– while we spotted about 300 more on the banks and plains. The numbers are increasing daily as thirst brings animals to the water from the dry surrounding areas.

We also saw baboons, buffalo, and buck feeding along the rivers edge, and to our surprise a Lilac-breasted Roller sat on a stump next to the river. Nine Pied Kingfishers created a lovely image as they sat clumped together on some reeds. The hippos were still at Elephant Beach, a collection of crocodiles lay on the sandy beach – and yes! There was the leopard. We could see her strolling down to the river.

She came to the water to drink again, and this time the late afternoon light created even more perfect photo opps than earlier. When done, she returned to her kill to eat for a while before returning to the riverbank where she lay down to watch the river again.

Who could ask for more?

On the way back to the camp the vibrant sunset signalled the end of yet another perfect day!

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Tomorrow we would like to see if the leopard is still around …