Brendon’s Bulletin from Elephant Plains: Lion and Leopard Almost Share a Sundowner
An overcast morning made us think that our game drive might be quiet, but soon after leaving the Lodge we found leopard tracks, and after figuring out where they were going we followed doggedly.
Then the tracks disappeared into a riverbed and our second vehicle drove around to the far side … no sign of trarging from the riverbed. So he was there! Right there! Excitedly we turned around and backtracked – there were fresh tracks OVER the second vehicle’s tracks. The leopard had been there seconds ago. Now we were really stoked!
We followed the tracks and searched, and when we heard Impala alarm calls we knew it! But he just eluded us … and then a call came through that Shadow had been spotted very close by. There she lay in the grass, looking so beautiful! When we all had enough lying down images, Shadow stood up – and started contact calling. Again and again!
Her cub must be nearby! And then they met up, and after greeting and a quick grooming the two went to lie down for their midday siesta.
This afternoon we thought it would be an idea to try a totally new direction – and we were barely away from the Lodge when we found very large lion tracks. After a short distance – maybe 200 meters – the smell hit us! Rotting flesh! So a kill was nearby.
The Trackers headed on for ahead of us until they froze … no, actually we all froze … a low, rumbling, terrifying, spine-chilling growl! We had found them. With the trackers back in the vehicle we ventured closer. Two male lions with the remains of a buffalo. They were not eating, but guarded they kill from any approaching scavenger.
We remained with the two until after dark, photographing their every move as they rested and watched at the same time.
After dark they decided to get up and visit the nearby dam for a drink. Great! We positioned our vehicles and managed images from all angles, with reflections as they walked and as they drank – including the image here which I snapped with my phone.
Wow! That was fabulous! It could not get any better! Or could it?
The lions were just disappearing when a movement attracted our attention – a hyena? No! Ntsele the female leopard, had watched the lions and waited for them to depart before she approached and started to drink – in exactly the same spot! We didn’t even have to reposition our vehicles! And I could get an image for you again with my phone.
Ntsele was very jittery, reacting to each tiny sound, and constantly on the lookout for the possible return of the lions, and when she finished her drink, she melted away into the dark …
How was that for just amazing?!
… and that ended yet another fabulous day for us at Elephant Plains. Tomorrow? …