(Images from Back of Brendon’s Camera)
Our morning game drive started with a visit to the young male leopard with his duiker kill in a tree. We found him way up in the tree and immediately noticed that he was really very agitated. He could not settle and became visibly more and more anxious. We checked all around but could not see what was upsetting the young fellow.
He was feeding, snarling, and growling, and something was definitely amiss. But what? We couldn’t see hyenas or any other animal to upset him. But his agitation grew with every passing moment, and when he glanced in our direction we looked back to see a young female leopard walking steadily toward the tree. The male became more upset, and his snarls and growls intensified. He tried everything to intimidate the young female, but she was undeterred. She appeared to be about his age. She walked up to the tree, sniffed around the base, gave him an unconcerned stare and then moved on.
It was wonderful to witness the interaction between the two and to watch how the young female checked the area with interest but peacefully before she continued her daily patrol.
We left the young leopard when he settled down on his lofty branch and went in search of other animals. We saw rhino and a herd of elephants before we decided to check the pride of lions with their buffalo kill.
We arrived to find that the pride had fed really well on their kill and there was very little left. There were plenty of hyenas around, but there were not enough to form a coalition to steal the buffalo carcass from the lions.
Most of the lions just lay there, bellies very fat and full and disinclined to do much, while a few of the pride continued to eat. Some of the lions left the kill to visit a nearby waterhole for a drink before they returned to lie down in the long grass.
After our rest at the Lodge we returned to the lions again in the afternoon, but all were fast asleep – almost in a food coma. They did not even twitch a muscle.
We left the sleeping cats and went in search of the male leopard with the impala kill. However, the impala kill was finished, or maybe the leopard dropped it during the night, and although we checked the area thoroughly there was no sign of him.
As we drove around we spotted more rhino at a waterhole before we moved to the north where tracks of a male leopard had been spotted by one of the other Elephant Plains guides. When that group reached the waterhole, they saw that the tracks led back in the direction they came from, which indicated that the leopard almost certainly had a kill nearby and had taken a break from feeding to visit the waterhole for a drink before he returned to his kill.
We checked the area and actually found the leopard lying under a tree and sure enough, stashed up on one of the hugger branches we could see a warthog kill. We waited until the leopard climbed the tree to start feeding which he did when it was just about time for us to return to the Lodge.
In the morning we would like to check on the different leopards with their kills, and also on the lions where different scavengers should arrive in large numbers …