Multiple Leopard Sightings Keep Us Busy on our First Game Drive …

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

Aahhh! Back at Elephant Plains again in the fabulous Sabc Sand Reserve. After arriving in time for a delicious meal and a briefing, we were really anxious to start our first game drive.

What an awesome start to our time here. The afternoon started a little cloudy but cleared up by the time we set out. We were uncertain about what to expect because the area is extremely dry – rains are very very late and sparse again this year.

We saw plenty of Impala, and then our first herd of Elephants appeared. And shortly after that we realised that luck was really on our side on this drive when we came across a female Leopard. She actually had a kill with her. She had killed an Impala Ewe earlier in the day, and was feeding. Everyone was delighted to see a cat so early on our very first game drive, and what a beautiful, clear, unobstructed sighting it was!

We moved on to see what else was in the bush. We found more and more Elephants, and not even thirty minutes later we were looking at Plains animals when we received a call – another female Leopard was not far away. We dashed there and found her. She had made a kill earlier in the day, but she wasn’t feeding when we saw her. She lounged about, relaxed, and enjoyed the setting sun.

We remained with her for about fifteen or twenty minutes when a herd of Elephants pitched up. Luckily they didn’t chase the cat, although they spent some time smelling and checking the area. The Leopard was almost invisible as she flattened herself in the grass, trying very hard to resemble a neglected log. The Elephants appeared to be unaware of her presence as they sauntered casually along, without even a glance in her direction.

Shortly after we left the scene we we told that the Leopard lost her kill – it was stolen
by one of those bush thieves – a Hyena.

On our slow drive back towards the Lodge and not far from the Lodge we unbelievably bumped into a third Leopard. This time a male was on his evening evening patrol. It was wonderful to follow him as he walked down the road and stopped intermittently to scent mark a bush, log, or tree branch. He called from time to time. He was salivating quite a bit and we realised that this was most likely because he had caught the scent of a new young Leopard that recently moved into the area, and is trying to establish a territory for himself. This male has been here for some time, and is determined to protect his area! Finally we lost him in the thick bush and darkness.

Our game drive was not over and we stopped three more times before we reached the Lodge. We photographed a Spotted Eagle Owl, some Bush Babies (Galagos), and a Nightjar.

After this fabulous start to our safari, everyone is in very high spirits, and looking forward to more action tomorrow …