We arrived at Elephant Plains for our first safari here for 2019. It is always exciting to be here, and the expectation level in our group was high.
As we left for our game drive we received a call about a female leopard and started to head that way. As we drove along we were surprised to see how lush and long the grass is. It looks beautiful, but makes game viewing a little more difficult.
We found the leopard – a lovely young female. She is very petite and was very busy. We followed her as she moved about. As she passed through the grass visibility was poor, but we kept up. Luckily for us, however, she climbed almost every vantage point she spotted. Each time she appeared on a termite mound or on a fallen tree our cameras captured the moment.
She spotted prey and started to hunt. She went into stealth mode and that was when we lost her in the long grass. But having spent a very productive time with her, we were not really dismayed.
We moved on to an area in the south where there were earlier reports of a large male leopard. On the way we came across a really big, magnificent elephant bull. He was in musth, but was very relaxed. He strolled slowly past our vehicle, feeding as he made his slow any along from bush to bush, tree to tree. It is always such a treat to see those big guys looking so well.
A little later digressed when we spotted another female leopard … also young, and healthy. She was very busy, moving rapidly, searching for something to hunt, and it wasn’t too long before she also disappeared into the long grass.
We continued our search for the male and actually found him. But shortly before we encountered him we received a call about yet another female female leopard. What? Three female leopards on one game drive? We detoured again and first thought it was the leopard we saw earlier. But it was indeed a third young leopard. It was dusk by now and she was hunting actively. We turned down our lights so that we did not influence the hunt and sat quietly, watching the shapes of the leopard and the herd of impala that she was stalking and watching intently from a mere forty meters away.
The next moment chaos erupted. Buck snorted and flew in all directions. Hyenas! They created such a commotion, and within seconds there were only hyenas, no impala and no leopard!
The hyenas were running towards an area where we could hear lions contact calling, but as it was late we could not follow them. We returned to the Lodge for dinner and now we think that it may be a good plan to start the morning at those lions … hopefully there will be action there …