A Male Leopard Meets Up With …

Dawie Shares from Elephant Plains on the Tusk Sabi Sand Photo Safari:

When we set out in the early darkness our first wish was to locate the female leopard with her cub again. We followed their tracks, but then realised that these tracks came from a different direction from where we saw the two leopards previously, so we were on the track of a different mother leopard and cub.

While following the female leopard tracks, we bumped into a very handsome male leopard. He moved along the road and seemed to be following the same tracks that we were pursuing. Then he started to call and call again for the female and cub. And not long after he started to call, the female and cub arrived on the scene. The three greeted each other and played around for a while until the male continued on his way and the female and cub left in a different direction.

We followed the female leopard with her cub, and actually spent the whole morning with them. They chased each other, climbed on termite mounds and on logs, and gave us tremendous opportunities for outstanding photography.

While following the leopards, we also saw Rhinos – a female and a young male. We stopped for a quick shot and then caught up with the leopards again.

So, after seeing four of the Big Five in less than 24 hours, we returned to Lodge, delighted with the sightings and with our images.

For the afternoon drive we decided that we would like to continue our early morning search for the first female leopard and cub. But we were interrupted quite soon after we left the Lodge when we were notified that the male leopard had been drinking at a waterhole. So we made our way there and looped around until, we found him lying in some thickish vegetation.

But just then we received a call about the female leopard and her cub that we had wanted to see since early morning. They had been spotted, and as they had been our goal all day, we headed towards them.

Once again we didn’t stop too long at either the elephants that we saw, nor for the buffalo that that completed our Big Five tally after all.

We followed the two leopards to where they had killed an impala. They settled down to feed and then the mother tried to hoist the remains into a tree, but it was too heavy.

The cub took a break down at a waterhole for a long drink. And a while later a number of hyenas pitched up at the waterhole. Mother and cub were very safe at the time, high up in the tree, and we left them before dark as once again we will not use any lighting when a cub is present.

Instead we returned to the area where we had left the male leopard. To our surprise, we were moving slowly down the road when we turned a corner and found ourselves in the middle of a pride of six lions. They got up and ambled down to a a waterhole for a drink – fabulous photography again!

We continued our search for the male leopard and alas, although we found tracks and followed them, the leopard had disappeared into the darkness. But the excitement of tracking him made for a very special time.

On the way back to the Lodge we spotted a Barn Owl. Of course he sat quietly but the second we touched our cameras he flew off.

Oh well, after such an amazing day, we could hardly complain about one uncooperative bird …

In the morning we would like to find that elusive male leopard again …