Bittersweet Leopard sighting…

Last night on the afternoon safari after our sun downer stop, we decided to drive in the area of Mamba dam hoping to find signs of Lions in that area. However, we had a bigger surprise in store for us, besides the seven Buffalo bulls at the waters edge.

My tracker Willies captured in the beam of the spotlight a young male leopard on the dam wall. As we approached it moved and we could immediately see that it had sustained quite a bad injury to his front left leg. It was limping very badly and stopped after a few metres to lie down badly hampered by this injury. One of my guests broke down in a crying fit, as she was overcome with emotion and all this we were witnessing just became to much for her to bear.

Predators often sustain serious injuries and find themselves severely injured after territorial fights, hunting or skirmishes with other bigger predators. This however does not always spell “DOOM” for them as we have witnessed numerous times, their resilience and ability to recover after what looks like fatal injuries.

We left with a feeling of elation at seeing this elusive cat bad also couldn’t help but feel sorry and worry about  its uncertain future. Only time will tell…

Sebastiaan Jansen Van Vuuren

Ranger – Kapama Main Lodge

So close and yet so far… continued!

After our bit of disappointment not being able to find the Leopard that walked past the lodge yesterday morning, last night we were rewarded for all our efforts! We were on our way back when we stopped for a quick astronomy “lesson” about one minute away from the lodge. As we were ready to go, my  tracker Morris spotted something in the long grass. Upon investigation we were elated to see the leopard we tried to find that morning, busy  stalking Nyala.

She moved into the drainage line which feeds the lake surrounding the lodge and we were unable to follow her any further. At least we had a fantastic sighting with plenty of good photo opportunities. This might be one of the most rewarding ways to find an illusive animal like leopard… by following up on tracks without much success, and then suddenly an appearance out of the blue!

Strangely enough we were not the only ones who got rewarded with excellent leopard sightings last night, and ours was just one of four sightings of leopards on the reserve… and as always, you would not ever find us complaining about that!!!

To conclude… PURE MAGIC!

Westley Lombard

Ranger – Kapama Main Lodge

So close and yet so far…

We started of our drive this morning following a female leopard’s spoor who had passed through the lodge during the early hours of this morning. Unfortunately we never caught up with her, but the whole experience of tracking her was fun and exiting. It is normally very disappointing to know a leopard was right here under our noses, but we couldn’tmanage to find it…. anyway, that is how it goes with leopard. Luckily we had one of those exceptional mornings where we seemed to find animals around every corner, and this more than made up for the bit of disappointment with our spotted cat earlier.

We eventually responded to a lion sighting, and as we pulled in some buffalo decided to “burst” onto the scene much to the delight of my guests. There was some very nice interaction as the buffalo chased the lions around where-after the typical stand-off ensued. After a wile the lions moved off into a drainage line, and the buffalo went the opposite direction. Some awesome action on a beautiful morning.

Wile leaving the buffalo and lion sighting we came across a pair of rhino and a big herd of giraffe to end our fantastic drive…. There is just no telling what to expect or what might happen out there, and that is just the way we love it!!!

Westley Lombard – Ranger

Kapama Main Lodge

Maybe a bit too big…

Last night we set out on safari with two honeymooners from the USA who were very exited about their first safari in the African wilderness. After viewing some buffalo and rhino we followed a lioness with her three cubs until they eventually met up with the dominant male lion in this section of the reserve. He was feasting on an impala kill with a crash of rhino not too far away.

The rhino’s though, were not at all perturbed by the presence of the cats. The cubs got more and more bold as the time went on and started stalking the rhino at which point they got annoyed and moved into the inflow of a nearby dam. As they came to the edge of the water the lions spread out into a triangular formation, but as soon as the rhinos turned around they scampered away quite hastily. All this to the deafening roars of the male lion only ten metres away.  We left eventually, knowing this was just one of those very memorable moments on safari.

Sebastiaan Jansen Van Vuuren – Ranger, Main Lodge

Lion Cub ('s)?

It is with great relief and excitement that we are able to report that at least one from our new litter of lion cubs are still alive and well.  This is probably the most vulnerable time in a lion cub’s life as they are very prone to predation and all sorts of difficulties at this tender age.

The sighting itself required a pair of binoculars as the lions were on the edge of a gully some distance away when the cub (approx 5 weeks old) made a brief appearance before disappearing into the long grass again.  Cubs this young appear almost black in colour as their markings (blotches and spots) are still bold and grouped very close together, helping to enhance their ability to hide wile the mother is away from the den. Although we only saw this one cub briefly we are positive that the others are also still around and hopefully, doing well.

From here onwards we hope to have more regular sightings of the cub or cubs, and will get some photos to post here as soon as possible.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Westley Lombard – Kapama Lodge Ranger