Thursday, 5 July 2012

July 5 - Leopard Land

Photo of the Day
Morning Drive
(Herold, Shadrack & Andrea)

Elephant (breeding herd) / Argyle - Rudy's Road
Leopard (female) / Argyle - Raisin Road
Leopard (Makepisi) / Java - Java/Mbali Cutline
Leopard (Kuhanye) / De Luca - Western Cutline

Afternoon Drive
(Marka & Andrea)

Leopard (Argyle Jnr & 2 cubs) / Argyle - Raisin Road
Leopard (Makepisi) / Mbali - Anthill Road
Buffalo (Breeding Herd) /  Confluence Crossing
Elephant (Breeding Herd) / Motswari - Hanger Road

Starting out from camp ten minutes late, I turned my radio to lots of voices. Shadrack had found a leopard quite close to camp on the airstrip, but she was mobile towards the river bed. Marka and Herold were nearby ready to help as well, as it is always tricky to stay with a leopard when she ducks down into the drainage lines. I waited at Umfene crossing, while Marka followed her on the western side of the drainage line. We continued to follow her over Raisin Road and when we saw her assume the low crouch of a hunting stalk, we switched the car off and waited. With the wind pumping, and a  small herd of impala in thick vegetation, the female leopard was in luck. We watched in sheer amazement and she stalked and pounced with what seemed such little effort and took down a female impala right in front of us! It was truly incredible to see the agility and finesse of this cat. After a quick strangulation, she lay down in some very thick grass for a rest, she had certainly given us an amazing start to our drive.

Continuing on, the wind made game viewing  a little difficult, however, Herold picked up a herd of elephant which we spent out half an hour watching as they fed with one ripping up and entire tree in front of the car. 

After a windy drinks stop at Lover's Leap, I planned to loop back to camp through De Luca. As I neared the top of Woza Woza cutline, we bumped into Shadrack who had just spotted Kuhanye Leopard up in a tree. The timing was impeccable and we watched her up in a Marula tree as she scouted for prey and were able to follow her for a little bit before she disappeared into very thick mopane belt. What a morning!

With one of my guests not having being on morning drive and therefore missing the morning's excitement I wanted to follow up on Argyle Jnr and her kill. Two other guides had already done so and located her with two cubs. Unfortunately they were full-bellied and lying up in thick grass so the visual was very limited; not so conducive for blog photos, but special anyway! After some rather tricky car maneuvering through a drainage line we could see Argyle Jnr quite clearly before she went back to her cubs in the grass.

Feeling quite content for a relaxed amble and drinks stop, we meandered along. The plan was to head through Mbali to Karans property for drinks stop, however,along the way, we found Makepisi lying up ontop of a termite mound, as if he was just waiting for us to come and take a look at him. He is looking incredibly healthy and beautiful and it was truly an unexpected and spectacular view of him. I have to admit that he is my favourite leopard here. We stayed with him until he descended the termite mound and wandered off.

Further along we found the crash of 5 rhino drinking at a waterhole, unfortunately it was after dark so we could not view them, but we had had our fair share of amazing sightings for the day. Marka headed a little further south for a large buffalo herd! It has certainly being an incredible day in the Timbavati!

1 comment:

  1. WOW... How lucky to see a catch! Man, I am sooo jealous!!!
    Great photos and thanks for the update Andrea.