We were in the reserve before sunrise hoping to find a leopard with a cub, and as there are two at the moment in Sabi Sand, we thought our chances were doubled. But first we went in search of one of the females from our first game drive but she was nowhere in sight.
We slowly made our way towards an area where one of the mother leopards recently stashed her cubs. On the way we encountered two four month old cubs on their own. The mother was not around, so we didn’t linger, but rather quickly grabbed some super images of the duo on a termite mound. One was a little shy, but the other was curious and as it watched with interest we snapped away.
From there we moved on and before long we found the other mother with her smaller cub – about three months old. They lay next to a woodpile and now again the two climbed a nearby small tree, and mom regularly walked around to check the area. When the mother decided to move to an open area in a riverbed our photographic opportunities were endless.
We next saw a large elephant bull and spent a short time with him before a call came through about very fresh leopard tracks. We turned in that direction and found another female leopard. She had recently killed a Scrub Hare and was feeding in shortish grass.
By this was time to return to the Lodge, and almost unbelievably on our return trip we saw another leopard – the large dominant male from the area. He walked around for a while but as the day was warming rapidly he found a cool spot under some bushes and settled down for his midday sleep.
So, having seen six different leopards during one morning, we are feeling as lucky as you can imagine. The grass may be long but wow! What sightings!
The afternoon found us back in search of the male leopard. And obligingly, he found us before we even reached the spot where we left him earlier. He walked towards us, then strolled around, lay in an open area, moved to a dry river bed, then strolled further through the bush. He was so fabulous that we stuck with him for the entire game drive. The afternoon passed to evening, when flashes were needed and after dark our spotlights came out. He stalked impala, searched around, checked his territory, climbed a dam wall, and gave us every possible opportunity for superb photos. Another amazing, memorable experience – to spend an entire afternoon with this dominant male was privilege!
He finally disappeared into a thicket, but by then it was time to return to the Lodge, delighted with a truly successful day!
Can tomorrow also deliver? …