Searching for the “cherry on top”

By my guests’ third night staying at Kapama, they had seen almost everything they wanted to see – Rhino, Buffalo, Elephant, Lions, as well as Cheetahs. So my tracker, Alfred, and I decided to focus on finding a leopard for them on their last night drive.

As we went out into the bush, we saw quite a lot of plains game, such as zebra, giraffe, impala and wildebeest. But still no fresh signs of a leopard. Nevertheless, we heard a lion calling from a nearby dam where we had seen some hippos. We decided to try and follow the roars. As we drove in the direction of the calls, we came across a female lion lying out in the open.

As the sun started setting, we stopped for a quick sundowner drink. Afterwards, someone close by called in a leopard sighting. I was so excited as this was our chance to see the ‘cherry on top’. However, when we got there they had lost visual. We tried to relocate for quite some time but unfortunately, we did not come right.

As we started making our way back to the lodge, we decided to go past one of our dams – a nice area for leopards because it is quite thick. As we got their, we saw something in the distance in the road. I asked Alfred what it was but he said he was not sure.

When we got closer, there she was – a beautiful female leopard walking in the road. We followed her into the bush where she finally settled on top of a termite mound. Every now and then she would look at us, yawn a little and then put her head down to rest. After a while, she came down the termite mound and started cleaning herself.

It was an amazing sighting. She was extremely relaxed, which is rare in leopards, and she allowed us to view her in the open with no concerns.

Kim – Kapama River Lodge
04/10/2012

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