Hyena Frenzy at a Leopard Kill …

Brendon’s News from Elephant Plains on the Sabi Sand Photo safari:

We headed out for our first game drive this morning and headed straight back to the area where we left the female leopard last night. We hoped that she had made a kill as she had been hunting.

As we arrived in the area we found not her tracks, but plenty of lion tracks. We decided to take a chance and follow these for a while. The tracks led us straight to a pride of eleven lions. They were lying in an open area, and although they were not doing much, we could photograph them as they relaxed in the open, and soaked up the early sun rays.

When done photographing the slumbering cats we thought it would be a good time to continue our search for the leopard. While checking the area carefully we spotted a leopard up in a tree. It turned out to be a different female and she had an impala kill. We were not far from the hyena den and a number of hyenas milled around, gazing up expectantly into the tree. The hyenas ran hither and thither, yipping in one direction, calling in another, as the excitement mounted and more members of the clan arrived. It was all in vain. The leopard lay in the tree, and didn’t even glance at the hyenas and the mounting frenzy below.

We remained, photographing the relaxed leopard and the excited hyenas and eventually only left to allow another vehicle some time at the sighting. We drove around, and concentrated for a while on elephants, giraffes, and other general game before we returned to the Lodge.

This afternoon we returned to the leopard. When we arrived we found that she was no longer in the tree. We checked around and there she was! She was resting in some long grass. Because the visibility was not the best we moved on to check on animals elsewhere.

Then we found lioness tracks with small cub tracks. We didn’t find the lioness and her cubs, but while searching we found another female leopard lying in a thicket. She had a duiker kill stowed in what cannot be described as a tree. A bush would be a more accurate description. We stopped for a while before we moved on to a herd of elephants.

By then the sun was setting and we hoped that the female leopard with the impala kill would be stirring. We found her on the ground with a large number of hyenas pacing back and forth while she growled ominously at them. They appeared to be quite intimidated and kept their distance. After a while she left the area to visit a waterhole for a long, leisurely drink. She rested on a termite mound for a few minutes before she returned to her kill.

As it was very dark and time for us to leave we returned to the Lodge, ready for a delicious dinner under the stars. And then early to be before our predawn start in the morning …