(Lion photo and video thanks to Clint Ralph)
It was very cold and wet when we arrived at Elephant Plains, but even so, it is always a treat to be back here even when the weather is quite miserable. On our first drive we saw plenty of elephants but the real action awaited us today.
The morning dawned with a beautiful sky and nonstop sunshine. Soon after leaving the Lodge before sunrise, we saw fresh leopard tracks. We followed these -and they led us straight to a male leopard. He walked around in the beautiful early light, marking his territory.
He interrupted this activity to take a break on a termite mound where he looked around and posed for a while.
After photographing him from every angle, including many walk-by’s, we left him to continue through the reserve.
We photographed rhino, and a number of herds of elephants and then decided to return to the leopard in the brighter daylight. He marched along, and stopped only to mark a significant spot to identify his territory.
On the way back to the Lodge we came across a pride of twelve lions. We took some excellent shots before it was time to get back to the Lodge.
This afternoon we headed straight back to the leopard. We found him less than fifty meters from where we last saw saw him … and he had a kill. During the day he had hunted and now had a Duiker kill that was stashed under a bush. That just shows how opportunistic leopards are – even in broad daylight, when resting, if an animal like a duiker ventures close, they do not allow the opportunity to pass.
After leaving him we saw more elephants and another rhino, but our drive was interrupted by a call about another leopard. We hurried there and found him, sprawled out and relaxed on top of a termite mound. He gazed around with a deepening purplish sky as a beautiful backdrop.
He yawned lazily and then got up to wander off into the dark, thick bush. This was our cue to start our trip back to the Lodge.
We had one more excellent stop waiting for us … the lions. We found them again. They were on the move, and when they disappeared into the dense bush we decided to wait and see …
Just as well! After a few minutes they flushed a number of impala into a clearing. They chased, and caught a large ram – right there in front of us! The whole pride surrounded the impala and fought over their small kill.
After all one impala is not much for twelve lions, and each tried to grab as much as possible. The sounds and sights of the whole event are actually beyond description. Wow!
Tomorrow we will possibly start at the lions area again, hoping that there will be more action ….