Although we were on the lookout for leopard, the resident guides took any opportunity to capture images for the Naledi Game Lodge website. In this instance, it was a herd of buffalo on a late summer afternoon, while the light was still good. Sitting quietly surrounded by the noisy grazing herd allowed guests the opportunity to fully appreciate one of Africa’s iconic species up close and personal…but from the safety of a vehicle.
If you are on a walk, then steering clear of these bovines is the correct procedure. Buffalo are not cows-with-attitude, they are probably one of the most dangerous animals on the African continent. And, unlike the Water Buffalo of Asia, they cannot be domesticated.
Sunset across Balule game reserve brought the possibility of finding the leopard that had been eluding us during the course of this particular drive.
Finally, with the light gone, we found what we had been looking for all afternoon. But as it was dark and the sighting was not a good one, we decided to leave after a short while and head back to the lodge. The guides were certain that we would find her again in the morning.
And they were right! It was this Impala carcass that alerted us to the fact that “our” leopard was not too far away and all that it would take was patience and some careful spotting to find out where she was hiding.
And we did not have to wait too long for this stunning cat too peer around the rock that she was secreted behind.
There is something about being stared at by a leopard that makes the hair on the back of your neck rise. Unlike lions and cheetah, this cat, for me, poses a threat like no other. Compact, lithe and fast, it can kill in an instant and is capable of doing so alone and without assistance from either a pride or a coalition. This makes the leopard the epitome of self-sufficiency.
In the gentle morning light, it is almost perfectly camouflaged.
And then this Hyena popped up to see what scraps might be on offer. Its arrival signalled the departure of the leopard, who is no real match for this predator. However, we had enjoyed a spectacular sighting and with gratitude, we left the sighting to bumble on and see what else might be out and about.
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