Because the leopard with her cub have been hanging around close to the Lodge for quite a few days, when we set out for our early morning game drive we checked the area all around to see if they were still in the vicinity. While we were looking around we received a call from a neighbouring Lodge to say that they could see the leopard with her cub in a tree not far from their camp. The cats had a Grey Duiker kill and based on this information we quickly made our way to that tree.
We actually spent just about the whole morning with the the cub in the tree – the mother had gone elsewhere. The cub gazed around from the tree, then came down and gradually moved around to different termite mounds. When it went to shelter in the complex root system of a fallen tree we thought that it would remain there for the day. But no, it chose to rather come and lie down under one of our vehicles. We got some great unusual shots of the little leopard and the vehicle.
As the afternoon progressed the heat intensified, and although there was plenty of wind, there was little relief from that heat.
One of the male leopards was reported to be on our side of the boundary and we went over to find him. We found him in a open area, and soon after we arrived he started to move towards Rhino Pan. We really thought he was heading to the water for a drink, but he stopped short of the pan and rested on a termite mound.
Then he climbed down from that mound, walked a hundred meters or so to another even larger mound where he flopped down again in the heat.
We sat with the leopard as the sky gradually changed colour. We gave way to another vehicle to view the handsome big cat, and returned to the cub where we spent the remainder of the evening. The mother had joined her cub and they were back in the tree, occasionally feeding on the remains.
When a small chunk of the kill fell from the upper branches to the ground the mother leopard jumped down to feed on those bits, but an ever present and ever hopeful scavenging hyena was there, ready to grab and to argue over the tiniest morsels. A scrap developed between the two as they snarled, hissed, growled, yipped and chased each other back and forth. It was an incredible encounter!
The leopard then walked along and stalked duiker and then a Scrub Hare as she made her way to a small mud wallow where she stopped for a drink. She looked beautiful as she drank in our spotlights, and we were able to collect some superb shots.
After a very busy photographic day we are back at the Lodge, cameras full, thrilled with our results for the day – and wondering if we can catch up with the leopards again in the morning …