The weekend at Tanda Tula certainly began in an extremely exciting manner! It all started on Saturday morning, when I heard the nyala alarm calling close to Tent 4. Upon hearing this ruckus, I walked out of the office to investigate, and had just made it around the corner, when I was almost knocked off my feet by several nyala running for all they were worth.
I quietly made my way towards the car park, where Jack was also staring in the direction of where the nyala had swiftly scattered. At first, everything was still and then from nowhere, a huge male leopard appeared and proceeded to sit on the pathway next to Tent 3, a mere thirty meters from us!
The beautiful creature was the ‘ghost’, the large territorial male who calls Tanda Tula Safari Camp Home, but is tremendously shy and elusive, with sightings of him being very rare. Recently, we posted a photo of him from our camera trap, but haven’t managed to get a decent photo of him as yet.
Today was no different, it happened too quickly, and I really wish I had the foresight to have grabbed my camera on the way out the office. Sadly, as quickly as he had appeared, he rapidly disappeared back out of sight into the thick riverine vegetation. Both Jack and I just stood there stunned, quietly grinning at each other, and acutely aware of how special those few seconds were. Recently, this elusive male had a fight with the young Xinhopi male, and gave him a good hiding, and the poor youngster has now been left with the scars to prove it. I managed to get this photo of the young male a couple days ago, and you can clearly see the scars below his right ear and on the top of his head. The wounds appear to be healing well, and he seems to be in good condition. This is not the first time he has come into conflict with the large male, and will have to make his way further afield to avoid any further such altercations. I hope to get another opportunity to photograph the “ghost” and next time I will be sure to have my camera in hand!