Leopard Mothers, Cubs, Lions, Wild Dogs – a Full Day! …

Dawie Shares from Elephant Plains on the Tusk Sabi Sand Photo Safari:

 

After delicious coffee, rusks and other early snacks we were ready for the morning. Everyone wanted to head back to the mother leopard with her cub – it has been so very heartwarming and very special to see them and to photograph and we couldn’t wait to get back to them.

We found and then followed their tracks for a while, but were interrupted by a call. A different leopard had been spotted, so we hared off in that direction. It was the other leopard mother with her cub. And joy of joys – the two sat fully visible on a termite mound. The sky in the background looked beautiful with interesting clouds, creating a perfect scene for our photos. We spent some time with them until they moved off into a drainage line with thick foliage.

This was a good opportunity to continue our hunt for the other leopard and cub. We picked up their tracks again and followed them again.

We were interrupted again – this time it was a bunch of noisy hyenas that drew our attention. We started to move in the direction of the sound and soon came across a pack of wild dogs! There were nine and they were ultra active. They ran back and forth, and some were very keen to mate. There were chases in all directions, with the more reluctant or coy females darting all over the bush while their suitors remained in hot pursuit. It was quite a spectacle to witness.

While we relaxed back at the Lodge we were informed that one of the male leopards had moved back into the area and when we set out in the afternoon we were keen to locate him.

On our way to the leopard we came across the Styx pride of lions sprawled out on a fire break. They were not very busy, but we stopped for photos, and one of the lions obliged us by going right into to the river. Our tracker alerted us and we were able to follow her back to her pride for the usual greeting and mutual grooming.

We continued to track the male leopard but maybe because there were lions in the area we saw that his tracks led directly away into a neighbouring territory.

We found tracks for the female leopard that we saw during the morning and found mom and cub lying next to a termite mound. We photographed them until it started to get dark, and then left so as not to endanger the cub by drawing attention with our presence and of course we would not use any lighting for a young cub.

We took a slow drive back to the Lodge, enjoying every sound and bush smell.

For our final game drive in the morning of course we would like to return to one of the leopard moms with her cub …