Leopards with Kills – and a Hunt …

Ben Reports from Elephant Plains on the Tusk Sabi Sand Photo Tour:

During the night lions could be seen and heard at the waterhole overlooked by the Lodge at Elephant Plains. So when we set out for the first group of guest’s final game drive, we went straight to the waterhole where we found the lions with ease. They were fast asleep when we reached them – they were busy for most of the night and were ready to sleep even before sunrise.

After a few minutes with the lions we went to the hyena den. And yippee! The tiny pups were out, waddling around, tumbling, climbing on their mother and just enjoying the morning. They were so cute and so full of mischief as they nipped each other, played, pounced clumsily, and caused our group almost constant smiles!

We heard about a male leopard with a kill in a tree and we went to check it out. We found him lying quietly on a large termite mound under a ‘Boer Bean’ tree where we could see the half eaten carcass. He was very relaxed and ignored our presence and clicking cameras.

Eventually we had to leave to return to the Lodge for breakfast, and on the way back we received a call about a popular female leopard. We were told that she was clearly visible and we determined to visit that area when the incoming Tusk Photo guests arrived, and as soon as we left the Lodge for our afternoon game drive we drove there with few stops for other game along the way.

And there we found the female cat with an impala kill. She is quite a formidable, successful hunter – she caught a Scrub Hare less than 24 hours previously.

We spent the afternoon and evening with the leopard. At first she was way up high in a Jackalberry tree with her kill. She came down and walked around to find some water. She found a puddle where she stopped for a lengthy drink and then mooched around in the bush, not really searching for anything.

She found another Scrub Hare and decided to stalk it. She wasn’t really hungry, and although the whole scene looked very ominous for the Hare, it turned out to be an unsuccessful pursuit.

After the failed hunt the leopard disappeared into a thicket and as it was very late we returned to the Lodge for dinner, and resolved to return to the leopard in the morning …