Here at Tanda Tula, we have been very fortunate of late, as there have been an abundance of leopard sightings. Last night I joined a game drive with Richard (Ranger) and Given (Tracker). Richards’s guests had already seen leopard during the morning drive so we set out looking to view other game.
As with most things, our drive didn’t plan out the way we intended and the bush delivered a surprise for us, another magnificent leopard sighting! Richard decided to respond to a sighting of a female leopard called Rock Fig Junior. She was very relaxed and was walking slowly down a dry river bed, just the most tranquil setting.
We were with her for about 20 minutes and just as we were reversing away a large Hyena walked out in front of us. The Hyena did not see her and decided to lie down in the shade. She took about 10 minutes just evaluating the Hyena to determine whether or not to make a meal of it. In the end, she decided not to and then proceeded to walk past the sleeping Hyena at a surprisingly close distance. The most surprising thing about the encounter was that the Hyena did not even stand up when Rock Fig Junior made her presence know. She then picked up the pace and we lost her when she marched up a rock face and disappeared.
As with all leopards, they have a great gift for vanishing into thin air! After searching for 15 minutes and going up and down the dirt road trying to pick up her track’s, we decided to move on. As the road wound back down to river level off the high rocks, Richard stopped the vehicle and pointed back down the river bed. There she was perched on a boulder watching the sunset , oblivious to our presence. A really special time spent with a wonderful cat.
Words and images by Dan George