Botswana Overland Safari – Savuti to Chobe … Wim reports: A Confused Leopard? Or Impala?
We left the Lodge extra early this morning to make the most of our last morning in this area … and because we wanted to catch up with the Wild Dogs if at all possible.
Before we reached the marsh area where we left the dogs yesterday, we encountered a Honey Badger, scurrying, hurrying, and poking around in the bushes. It was very relaxed with our presence and hardly gave us a glance as we stopped for photographs.
Then off we went again … and again, before we could reach the dogs, we found lions strolling on the marsh and a leopard lying in the road. We decided to pass them by, and keep going to the Wild Dogs, hoping for some hunting action.
Well, we found plenty of fresh dog tracks, but they had already disappeared into dense Mopane vegetation, so we turned back to the marsh.
And there were the lions walking directly towards us. Lions? There were 15 of them, with a huge, stately male sedately walking along, and a number of youngsters playing, rolling around, forgetting to keep up with the pride and having to dash when the adults moved a bit far away.
All fifteen crossed the road an arms length from our vehicles, and found a dead tree just next to the road. And now the sports continued in earnest. All 15 climbed into the tree, and where they had loads of fun, chasing tails hanging down, stalking anyone that glanced away for a moment, pouncing and often nearly falling off a branch. That was just so much fun to watch and almost as much fun to photograph!
When they tired of this sport, the pride jumped down from the tree and headed through a thicket. Realizing that the pride was on its way to have a drink at the pan, we went ahead to set up out camera equipment and wait for their arrival.
Guess who we found at the pan?
The mother of the two tiny leopard cubs that entertained us for such a long time yesterday was approaching the water for a drink. We managed to get ahead of her and when she arrived, our cameras were ready …
After the leopard left we waited for the lions. Yep … there they came – and when about 15meters from the water they lay down for a snooze!
We received a call that the mother leopard that had just left us was at Peter’s Pan and was starting to hunt. It took us less than a minute to catch up with her. As we arrived, she was about 10 meters from an impala and in full hunting mode … creeping along close to the ground, ears flat.
Suddenly the impala spotted her and for a split second the two looked directly at each other. Then the impala let out a loud alarm call and in its panic, started to run – directly at the leopard! It dodged around to avoid a collision, alarm calling all the time.
The leopard turned to the road where it rolled around in the dust, with the impala a few meters away, still alarm calling non-stop! What a sight! And the soundtrack to accompany the sight! Wow!
The leopard took a leisurely stroll down the road and as it reached a road marker – Savute 5km – she leaped up, standing right next to us! A quick change of lenses for those ultra closeup shots.
That was simply an amazing end to our fabulous safari stop at Savute. Chobe next …
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