The morning dawned dull and drizzly … not the most ideal weather for most photography. But undeterred, we set out and headed straight to the female leopard with her kill in the tree. We sat there for some time and actually collected some pretty good photos – especially when the leopard jumped out of the tree.
Hyenas were still gathered under the tree, trying repeatedly to reach up to the kill that was way out of their reach. You could just see them wishing that they could climb and when the leopard climbed back into the tree they vainly redoubled their attempts in an effort to emulate her.
The leopard then gave us exactly what everyone hoped for – she descended from the tree to enjoy a leisurely drink at the nearby waterhole. Our spotlights works really well in that dim overcast light.
When we left the leopard we soon bumped into a lone bull elephant. Although young he is very large looked healthy. He was relaxed and carried on eating peacefully as we snapped away.
A call alerted us that another female leopard could be seen. It was the mother of the two cubs but the little ones were stashed somewhere out of sight. On the way to the leopard we stopped very briefly to photograph two Rhinos.
When we reached the Leopard she was sprawled on a termite mound – but not for long. Not having eaten for a few days she was looking lean and hungry, and sure enough, it wasn’t long before she was up and searching for something to hunt. She climbed a few trees and looked around in all directions to check for a meal. We had a while to add to our collection of leopard images before it was time to return to the Lodge.
We left the Lodge for the afternoon game drive in an optimistic mood. The weather worsened by the minute, and although we returned to the leopard in the tree we moved on as we felt that our morning sighting had been far better.
Instead we moved on to the large male leopard when we heard that he was around. We remained with him for the remainder of the afternoon because was he ever on a mission! A young male leopard was spotted in this males’ territory earlier and every scrap of dominance emerged, making the ‘boss’ of his territory very indignant. He could smell the scent of the young interloper and he followed this from bush to bush, up and down termite mounds and fallen branches. He checked every inch of his territory, ensuring that the trespasser was nowhere in his area. We collected great images of the handsome cat, and enjoyed patrolling his territory with him.
So in spite of the weather we had yet another eventful, stunning day here at Elephant Plains. More in the morning …