01 Dec 2010 A leopard on our doorstep
The longer you’re out in the bush, the more animals you’re likely to see. And this day proved no different. Our guests were able to tick off all the animals on their extensive list, bar one. The elusive leopard.
Leopards prefer to hang out in denser areas than other predators, which makes them a lot more difficult to find.
We returned to camp that evening after yet another long and fruitless drive looking for these ‘slippery’ cats. The guests settled down in front of the fire with their pre-dinner drinks to talk about the day, and the remarkable sightings we’d seen.
About half an hour later we heard barking coming from the dry riverbed in front of the lodge. We explained to the guests that it was bushbuck alarm-calling, which meant there was a predator in the area.
We knew that there were no lions around the lodge, so this could mean only one thing.
We told the guests of our suspicions and suggested that we go and have a look. They were naturally very keen, so we immediately headed off in the Land Rover to investigate further.
As we drove along the riverbed, the barking grew louder. But when we stopped in front of Zindoga Villa it became clear that the alarm-calling was coming from further back.
We were in the process of turning the vehicle around, when our headlights fell on a young female leopard sleeping under the Villa’s deck. After a while she woke up, stretched thoroughly, and began walking around, sniffing the air and scent marking as she went.
We sat there for ages just watching her mill about, until eventually she walked off in the direction of the open area at the back of the villa. We decided to follow her and see where she was headed. After about two kilometers she suddenly stopped and went into hunting mode. It wasn’t clear what she was stalking until we caught sight of eyes flickering in our headlights.
We switched off the engine and waited, and a few minutes later we heard the impala running. We switched our lights back on in time to see them hightailing it out the area, with the leopard hot on their heels.
Unfortunately she missed her kill.
She stood there for a while staring in the direction that her prey had run, and then moved off again.
Because of the denseness of the bush we were unable to follow her any further, so we just sat and watched as she walked off into the darkness.
See you on drive,
The Camp Jabulani Rangers 😉