Mating Leopards and Fighting Hyenas …

Hendri’s News from Elephant Plains on the Tusk Sabi Sand Photo Tour:

We left the Lodge shortly before sunrise and headed out to see what the day would have in store for us.

It wasn’t long before we found a female leopard lying on a rock. As we arrived she jumped down from her vantage point and started to move about. We followed her and we noticed that she was searching for prey. She checked here and there and then encountered suddenly she not only elephants, but also a hyena at the same time. So we had elephants, hyena and a prowling leopard all together at one spot. It was awesome have two of the Big Five in one shot and of course the presence of the hyena as well made the sighting very interesting.

The leopard continued her search for something to hunt. She went up and down termite mounds and climbed tree stumps to have a look around. However, she didn’t spot anything that meant food.

Eventually we left her and moved on – and luck was really on our side. We found a pair of mating leopards. It was the male that we saw yesterday with a female that was new to that area. The two mated every few minutes, giving every guest sufficient time and opportunity for fabulous shots.

Then the female leopard that we followed earlier pitched up right there with the mating leopards. Wow! Three leopards in one frame. How lucky could anyone be?

On the way back to the Lodge we stopped to photograph rhinos, elephants and giraffe.

This afternoon we decided to be different and search for some other animals. But we found ourselves close to the mating leopards again and thought that we would see how they were doing. They were gone! There was no sign of them and we later heard that the male had left on his own and was seen without the female. So maybe that was the end of the mating, but we will check again tomorrow.

An elephant herd with plenty of youngsters and small babies kept us busy for a long time. The little ones are so cute at a very young age as they experiment with trying to control their trunks. They are wonderful to watch.

It was after dark when we received a call about fighting hyenas not far from where we were. We dashed there and saw the reason for the commotion. They had a kudu kill, and a large number of hyenas were all trying their best to grab as much as they could and at the same time to keep others away. The feeding was chaotic, noisy, and rather fierce. We used our spotlights to photograph some of the action before it was time to return to the Lodge with some reluctance.

In the morning we plan to try and locate the leopards again, hoping that they will still be mating …